2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 102 Northern Illinois Huskies
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Northern Illinois Huskies
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No. 102: Northern Illinois Huskies
Northern Illinois Huskies Prespring Status
Will the Huskies stay healthy again? The quarterback situation hasn’t been solid for the last two years, and last season, the ground game couldn’t pick up the slack in tough loss after tough loss. There might not be too much of a difference or too much tweaking to be made to go back to being the MAC’s star program. NIU lost two overtime games, and two others by a touchdown or less. If the defense can get back to form, and the quarterback play is solid, Northern Illinois can be Northern Illinois again.
Northern Illinois Huskies Biggest Issue
The top receivers have to be replaced. Not having leading rusher Joel Bouagnon is a problem, and a few key offensive linemen are done, but the Huskies need – no, it can’t be repeated enough – healthy and consistent quarterback play, and a few gamechanging receivers. Kenny Golladay is gone after leading the team with 87 catches, while the season-leading receiver – Aregeros Turner – is done, too, after making 40 grabs.
Northern Illinois Huskies Biggest Positive
The secondary has the potential to be amazing. It was a bit of a down year for the D, and the defensive backs didn’t quite play up to snuff, but 2015 all-star Shawun Lurry is back along with the other three starters. The NIU defense picked off 14 passes last year, and the 13 from the secondary are all back. Can the pass rush help the cause, though? Most of the sack production from last season is gone, but the line is one of the areas of depth to fill in the gaps.
Really, Why Are The Northern Illinois Huskies Ranked Here?
Really, it all comes down to the quarterback situation. Is Daniel Santacaterina going to be able to roll? How about Ryan Graham? Will Anthony Maddie possibly get a sixth year, or will dangerous new recruit Rodney Hall get the keys to the car? At least there are options, but the Huskies need a star who steps up and takes the gig – and can stay healthy. There’s just enough talent coming back to expect a rebound, and just enough losses to think this could be another disappointment.