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2006 MAC Football Recruiting - NIU Huskies

NIU brings in 17 freshmen, nine slated for offense and eight for defense. Eleven players earned all-state honors during their high school careers. Twelve prospects come from Illinois including three of the state’s top-30 prospects, two from Indiana, and one each from Florida, Wisconsin and Missouri. TE and offensive line were main targets along with defensive back prospects.

Position Name Height Weight School
QB Billy Lowe 6-3 214 Lakeland (FL)
RB Ricky Crider 5-9 180 Evansville (IN) Reitz
WR Tyler Clasey 6-1 187 Campaign (IL) Centennial
WR Marcus Lewis 6-2 198 Gumee (IL) Warren Township
TE Bryan Beckner 6-4 240 Kankakee (IL) Bishop McNamara
TE Vernon Sims 6-5 252 Rockford (IL) Boylan
OL Mike Krause 6-3 270 Germantown (WI)
OL Jason Oneybuagu 6-1 303 Indianapolis (IN) Warren Central
OL Panan Tense 6-4 324 Oak Park (IL) Fenwick
DL Ed Jackson 6-4 230 Cahokia (IL)
DL Kris Cooke 6-2 304 Homewood (IL) Flossmoor
LB Mike Lepper 6-2 215 Oak Lawn (IL) Richards
LB John Tranchitella 6-2 200 Addison (IL) Driscoll
DB Alex Kube 6-0 200 Cary (IL) Grove
DB Mike Sobol 5-11 183 Pevely (MO)
DB Justin Stewart 6-0 182 O’Fallon (IL)
DB James Jeffries 5-9 165 Chicago (IL) Mt. Carmel

Lowe is a southpaw who earned first team all state honors in Florida leading his team to a USA Today high school national championship honor. Lowe is also a two-time ‘Greco-Roman’ All-American wrestler. Lowe picked NIU over several offers from Sun Belt schools.


Running Backs
Crider is the lone RB prospect in this class and finished his prep career with over 6,300-yards rushing - ranking #9 all-time in Indiana. Crider received recruiting interest from Big Ten schools but picked the Huskies over Ball State.


Lewis is rated as the #46 prospect in Illinois and picked NIU over reported offers from Toledo and Michigan State. Clasey earned all-area honors as a senior as a WR, DB and punter. Becker is a solid TE/DE prospect who also received recruiting interest from several Big Ten schools. Sims projects at either TE or DE; picked NIU over Toledo, Illinois and Western Michigan; his father Vernon Sims played at NIU in the 1980s.


Offensive Line
Tense is rated the #22 player in the state; picked NIU over reported offers from Ball State, Indiana and WMU. Onyebuagu is a first team all-state performer who is rated as the #9 player in Indiana, picked NIU over reported offers from Indiana, Cincinnati, WMU, Toledo, Miami (OH) and Ball State. Krause earned all-state honors as both an offensive and defensive lineman in Wisconsin, rated as a top-20 prospect in that state as a senior.

Defensive Line
Jackson is a DE prospect who received recruiting interest from Big Ten and MAC schools after earning all-metro honors and producing 13 QB sacks as a senior. Cooke is a true nose tackle who is rated as the #31 prospect in Illinois, picked NIU over Oklahoma State. Cooke earned all area honors and tallied 25 career QB sacks during his prep career.


Lepper is a top-100 prospect in Illinois and has reported 4.5/40 speed. Lepper earned all-state honors after forcing 5 fumbles and recording 10 QB sacks as a senior. Tranchitella is an all-state performer and is rated the #28 prospect in Illinois. He picked NIU over Ball State, BG and Toledo.


Defensive Backs
Jeffries is a dual WR/CB prospect who picked NIU over Central Michigan. Jeffries averaged 24-yards per kick return as a senior. Stewart earned all-state honors and recorded 125 tackles during his senior year. Stewart picked NIU over Arkansas State and Kansas. Sobol earned all state honors in Missouri and picked NIU over I-AA offers. Kube decommitted from Ball State to commit to NIU – he was a consensus all-stater and excelled at several skilled positions during his senior year and ranked as a top-30 player in Illinois by several publications.


No player marked as specialist is listed within this class.


Final Analysis
Novak continues to recruit top players and does a terrific job at maintaining his focus on Chicago and Illinois state prep players. While this class does not have the jaw droppers of his previous two classes but NIU still brings in several solid players who should contribute right away. Highest rated players are Kube, Sims, Crider and Tense. Keep in mind, many of the Huskies most celebrated players were not highly recruited and a few even entered this program as a walk-on. Overall this class rates as VERY GOOD compared to other conference schools this year.


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