NIU, Syracuse hitting recruiting trail hard in Chicagoland

NIU, Syracuse hitting recruiting trail hard in Chicagoland
March 25, 2014, 4:15 pm
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Edgy Tim

Northern Illinois University and head coach Rod Carey hosted several top underclassmen recruits last Friday for the Huskies Junior Day. NIU was able to also verbally offer a handful of in-state recruits.

Bloom Township 2015 ILB Kyle Pugh (6-foot-1, 215 pounds) added his first offer from the Huskies while on his Friday junior day visit.

"I really liked it at NIU," Pugh said. "The coaches seem like good guys and I was able to talk to most of the coaches on Friday. NIU has a nice campus and they also have nice facilities. It's exciting to get my first offer from NIU."

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NIU also offered Wheaton South junior outside linebacker Tommy Vitale (6-foot-1, 215 pounds) along with Chicago Mount Carmel junior defensive back Marquise Peggs (6-foot-0, 170 pounds) along worth Fenwick junior defensive back Aaron Garland (6-foot-0, 189 pounds).

Don't expect Syracuse to go away from recruiting the Land of Lincoln anytime soon. The Orangemen signed six Illinois-bred recruits this past signing class including Lake Zurich LB Colton Moskal, St. Rita DB Lamar Dawson along with DeLaSalle OL Aaron Roberts and Simeon OT Denzel Ward. 

So what's the connection to Illinois for the Orangemen?

The Syracuse staff, led by head coach Scott Shafer, has multiple coaches with deep recruiting ties to Illinois. As an assistant coach at NIU, Illinois, Western Michigan, Stanford and Michigan, Shafer recruited Illinois extensively with a focus on the city of Chicago and the Chicago Public League.

The same experience on the recruiting trail in Illinois can be also said for Syracuse running backs coach DeAndre Smith, quarterbacks coach Tim Lester, offensive coordinator George McDonald, linebackers coach Clark Lea and offensive line coach Joe Adam.

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So far in the Class of 2015, Syracuse has extended early offers in Illinois to a half-dozen names and expect more offers to follow later this spring.

Another name to watch from the Class of 2015 is Hales Franciscan junior athlete recruit Dominic Christian (6-foot-1, 170 pounds). Christian, a non-stop three sport athlete (football/basketball/track) for the Spartans has football scholarship offers so far from Illinois State and Central Michigan. 

Christian played quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back for Hales. So which position will he play in college?

"It seems that most of the schools like me as a wide receiver," he said. "I've played all over the field, so position isn't really a big deal to me. I just want to play anywhere I can help the team and get on the field. I like to be versatile and I just like to be on the field and helping my team win games."