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2004 MAC Football Recruiting - NIU Huskies


NIU signed 22 players from seven different states.  Riding high off of a splendid 10-2 season that featured victories over Alabama, Iowa State and Maryland, the Huskies brought in yet another solid class during the Novak era.  This class had 14 players who earned all-state honors with eight players coming from Illinois and six coming from Wisconsin.  QB Britt Davis is certainly the headliner in this class and one of the top prospects coming into the MAC this season.  All he did was account for over 7,700 yards and 90 TDs in his high school career.  The 4.35/40 speedster had reported offers from Indiana, Illinois and New Mexico and is called “the king of the spread.”  Another highly rated player is TE Ryan Tuggle, who ranked as one of the nation’s top-25 TE prospects.  Overall, NIU addressed their needs well with a very balanced class.


  • Evans Adonis was the #1 ranked WR prospect in Dade County (Miami) as a senior.  Another Floridian is QB Chris Carr, a heady player who also may become a SS prospect.  The third Florida prospect is Vincent Matthew, another 4.4/40 speedster who can play a variety of skilled positions.  He will likely be a WR.
  • NIU has been bringing in and developing some quality linemen in the trenches under Joe Novak and this year’s class has brought in another quality crop.  Jon Brost is a huge 6-6 305-pound OT who was all-state in Minnesota, Bryan Holicek is a massive 6-2 345-pound DT who also played RB and WR (yes, wide receiver!) in high school.  He has a 435-pound bench press and 700-pound squat lift already.  Dan Keller is another two-sport standout in high school but the 6-5 295-pounder looks to be an offensive lineman in DeKalb.
  • NIU signed several quality prospects for the defensive end position.  Brandon Beal was one of the top-20 players in Missouri, may play either TE or DE.  Other DE players include Larry English, one of the top players in the metro-Chicago area, Zach Osburn & Craig Rusch, who had 24 career QB sacks in high school.
  • NIU has produced several studs at RB over the years and certainly added to stable with Montell Clanton, a 4.45/40 player with over 2,800 yards and 35 TDs in high school, and TJ Griffin, a highly sought after prospect until he had both knees surgically repaired.

Final Thoughts

The Huskies continue to bring in talent year after year and this year’s  class is not exception.  Novak took a dead football program in the mid-1990s and has turned them into a feared non-conference opponent for BCS programs.  This is a very balanced class once again that will keep NIU in the hunt for MAC titles to come.  This class rates as EXCELLENT, bordering on outstanding, as needs were met, and tremendous talent was brought into the program.

Evans Adonis            WR      6-0     170     Miami, FL (Southwest)

Brandon Beal            TE      6-4     232     Kirkwood, MO (Vianney)

Jon Brost               OT      6-6     305     Maple Grove, MN

Chris Carr              QB      6-3     190     Coral Springs,FL (St. Thomas Aquinas)

Montell Clanton         TB      5-9     185     Rockford (Guilford)

Britt Davis             QB      6-4     188     Broadview (Riverside-Brookfield)

Larry English           DE      6-3     230     Aurora (Marmion Military Academy)

T. J. Griffin           TB      6-0     205     Carol Stream (Wheaton North)

Bryan Holicek           DT      6-2     345     Waupaca, WI

Bill Ikegwuonwu         LB      5-10    195     Madison, WI (Madison Memorial)

Justin Johnson          FS      5-10    180     Rochelle

Dan Keller              OT      6-5     295     Racine, WI (St. Catherines)

David  Koronkiewicz     TE      6-3     240     Goshen, IN

Mike Matar              DT      6-3     265     Mequon, WI (Homestead)

Vincent Matthew         WR      5-10    165     Miami, FL

Tim McCarthy            LB      6-0     215     Neenah, WI

Chris Nendick           PK      5-11    163     Naperville (Central)

Dan Nicholson           QB      6-3     195     Chicago (Brother Rice)

Zach Osburn             DE      6-4     245     Holland, MI (West Ottawa)

Craig Rusch             DE      6-5     240     Hilbert, WI

Matt Simon              WR      6-1     180     Farmington, MN

Ryan Tuggle             TE/OG      6-4     255     Bartlett

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