As I write this, the Northern Illinois depth chart and gamenotes are going to be released soon by NIUHuskies.com, but Huskie Wire has a story out already and tweeted a picture of the depth chart, so we're going to go off of that right now.
Let's look at what we are certain of first: the defense. Just looking at it, I haven't felt this good about a defense since the early 2000's. It's never been a part of the team that NIU has really focused on or had much success. It's the whole crew from last year that didn't allow a point to Ohio in the 2nd half of the MAC Championship game.
The only new faces replacing starters begin with Ken Bishop, a huge 6'1" 308 lb Junior DT from Ellsworth CC in Iowa. Demetrius Stone is ahead of Jhony Faustin while he recovers from an injury, but both will play a bunch.
The big question is at linebacker, where Victor Jacques is number one ahead of Boomer Mays. Jacques has been out with a leg injury so who knows what will happen with that position. I firmly believe that the MLB position on this team is cursed and no matter how much we recruit that position there will always be drama. Similar to Iowa's running back situation, but not quite as bad. In nickel situations, we'll just toss the MLB position out IMO.
On offense, the offensive line is nearly what I had predicted to happen. There might have been some guard switching here in there or I might be dyslexic.
In addition to the defense, I love the WRs and TEs on this team so much. Best group I've seen on paper, now they just have to perform on the field and live up to expectations. Should be fine as long as Jordan Lynch gets it going early and doesn't die because of the OL.
Running Backs... there are a lot of them. I love Akeem Daniels. Somebody better step up though. It's been years since we've had an impact player at this position.
That's about it. I'm super pumped to see how this team plays. Expect a lot of talented players working hard. It won't be pretty early on though.