DeKALB — It is no secret football’s Head Coach Thomas Hammock is headlining the changes to Huskie Athletics for the fall 2019 season, but there are plenty of other departures and arrivals coming to athletics this season.
Although not a known change, the biggest mystery this offseason is who the starting quarterback will be come Aug. 31 when the Huskies take on Illinois State University at home. Redshirt junior Marcus Childers took the helm of the offense during the 2018 season, but Hammock has been keen on bringing competition to the quarterback position and did so with the addition of transfer senior Ross Bowers.
The first notable change is a departure at the left tackle position. Three-time All-Mid American Conference offensive tackle Max Scharping is taking his talents to Houston where he will gear up for the Houston Texans after being drafted in the second round. Scharping is NIU’s third highest draft pick while being the highest offensive draft pick in Huskie football history.
NIU’s defense will also look a little different without the presence of All-American outside linebacker Sutton Smith. In the 2019 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Smith in the sixth round with pick 175.
The Huskies will have to find a replacement for midfielder Kevin Rodriguez who tallied 13 points last year under Head Coach Ryan Swan’s team. Rodriguez tied third in assists, with nine in conference play, and started all 18 games for the Huskies. Rodriguez’s talents did not go unnoticed as he was drafted in the fourth round of the MLS SuperDraft by Minnesota United.
Not all is bad as Swan was quick to find a potential game-changing player with transfer student forward Enrique Banuelos. The University of Virginia transfer finished his preseason with NIU by scoring a hat trick in a friendly match against DeKalb County United and has four years of eligibility remaining.
Head coach Ray Gooden will be in charge of finding a replacement for middle blocker Meg Wolowicz. The Huskie finished second in points and kills in Fall 2018 MAC play, adding to her second all-MAC first-team achievement.
Another departure from the volleyball team is outside-hitter Jori Radtke who transferred during the summer to Auburn University. Radtke recorded 15 double-doubles, along with finishing seventh place for kills per set with 3.21 in conference.