DeKALB -- Building on its second-straight Mid-American Conference championship and 2013 Orange Bowl berth, Northern Illinois Univeristy head coach Rod Carey added 24 future Huskies to his first football recruiting class Wednesday.
"The success we had last season made a big impact on the quality of recruits we signed," Carey said. "A lot of the class was completed before the Orange Bowl and we felt great about those kids no matter what. When you look at our later commitments, the talent level that they have, is right on par with what we've been getting. We feel good about that."
NIU's signing day roster consists of 12 offensive players, 10 on the defensive side of the ball, one athlete and one specialist. The players come from eight states overall, with the largest group from Illinois (10), followed by seven from Wisconsin. The Huskies picked up two recruits from Ohio and one each from Indiana, Florida, Michigan, Georgia and Alabama.
"It starts with Illinois and it's never going to stray far from home," Carey said of his recruiting philosophy. "This is our home state, this is where we get our guys and this is always where we're going to get our guys. Wisconsin, with that state being so close to us, the ties we have there and the success we've enjoyed there historically, is always going to be a key place for us to recruit.
"Reaching out to places like Indiana, Detroit, Alabama, and Florida, where we've had a lot of success in recent years, not only with Coach Doeren but with Coach Kill, it is important to keep those ties going."
While last year's signing class was heavy on offensive and defensive linemen, this year's class features more skill position players. On the offensive side of the ball, Northern Illinois added three wide receivers, three tight ends, two running backs and a quarterback. Two offensive linemen round out the signees on offense.
The Huskie coaching staff shored up a position hit hard by graduation -- defensive backs -- by signing six DBs. Northern Illinois also added three linebackers and a defensive lineman. One signee, linebacker Sean Folliard of Prairie Ridge High School in Crystal Lake, is already enrolled at NIU and will participate in spring drills.
"Overall, when you look at this class, it's dominated by skill, which it should be," Carey said. "The skill has power and speed and that's what I love about it. Every guy that's fast is powerful and every guy that's powerful has good speed."
2013 NIU football recruits:
Name, Pos., Hgt. Wgt., (High School) Hometown
Jackson Abresch,db, 6-1 185, (Arrowhead) Hartland, Wis.
Mycial Allen, s, 5-11 183, (King) Detroit, Mich.
Chad Beebe, wr, 5-9 165, (Aurora Christian) Aurora, Ill.
Joel Bouagnon, rb, 6-2 225, (Aurora Christian) Aurora, Ill.
Josh Brebant, k, 6-0 195, (Copley) Akron, Ohio
Tate Briggs, ol, 6-4 297, (Montini Catholic) Naperville, Ill.
Nick Calhoun, ol, 6-5 308, (Lourdes Academy) Oshkosh, Wis.
Nick Cieslak, qb, 6-3 170, (Kettle Moraine) Waukesha, Wis.
Justin Corbett, s, 6-2 205, (Lincoln-Way East) Frankfort, Ill.
Sean Folliard*, lb, 6-2 205, (Prairie Ridge) Crystal Lake, Ill.
Jake Heckel, te, 6-4 235, (Waukesha West) Waukesha, Wis.
Blake Holder, wr, 6-2 195, (Streamwood) Streamwood, Ill.
Jordan Huff, rb, 5-11 205, (St. Paul's Episcopal) Mobile, Ala.
Robert Jones, lb, 6-0 210, (Monsignor Pace) Miami Gardens, Fla.
William Lee, dl, 6-2 280, (Arsenal Tech) Indianapolis, Ind.
Ben Maruska, ol, 6-5 290, (Fond Du Lac) Fond Du Lac, Wis.
Brandon Mayes, s, 5-11 182, (Aurora Christian) Aurora, Ill.
Zeb McLaurin, cb, 5-11 180, (St. Ignatius Prep) Chicago, Ill.
Malik Mitchell, wr, 6-4 181, (Milton) Alpharetta, Ga.
Jamaal Payton, lb, 6-0 210, (Proviso West) Bellwood, Ill.
Draco Smith, cb, 5-9 185, (Mt. Carmel IL) Hammond, Ind.
Ryan Stendler, te, 6-4 250, (Homestead) Mequon, Wis.
Aregeros Turner, ath, 5-11 170, (Copley) Copley, Ohio
Shane Wimann, te, 6-4 225, (Wisconsin Dells) Wisconsin Dells, Wis.