NIU’s Canadian connection gets mixed reactions

By Steve Dennis

NIU’s choice to travel down the Canadian route for football players seems to have produced mixed reactions.

Coming off a 2-9 campaign, the one coach that NIU sent to Canada for recruiting purposes ended up signing six high- schoolers and one junior college player.

University of Wisconsin recruiting coordinator Rob Ianello feels that the Huskies will benefit from the foreign talent.

“Canada is kind of an untapped resource,” Ianello—who spearheaded Wisconsin’s best recruiting effort in years—said. “There’s definitely some talent up there. You just have to put in the time and effort—it’s a credit to Northern Illinois for getting those players.”

Local high school coaches seemed a bit discouraged that NIU did not recruit their schools this year, but also acknowledged the Huskies’ need for talent.

“They didn’t recruit here this year, and they usually stop by every year,” DeKalb High School coach Tim Holt said. “But, I know they needed some people.”

“We were kind of surprised at the number of out-of-state kids (20 out of 24),” Sycamore assistant football coach Bill Hurckes admitted. “It’s a double-edged sword in my opinion … on one hand everybody saying get local kids and on the other, it’s win, win, win.—you just have to find a happy medium.”

Former NIU fullback Adam Dach knew the Huskies needed to beef up on talent.

“Every team we faced last season, we were about 20 pounds lighter at every position,” Dach said, “so (NIU head coach) Sadler had to get some bigger and stronger players. I respect the staff for trying to find the best players.”