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2011 Northern Illinois Recruiting Needs: Defense

Make sure to check out the NIU Eligibility Tracker here and this year the recruiting big board has been outsourced to the Dog Pound message board. This blog will spend it's time talking about commitments only, not speculatory blabber.

Defensive Tackle

Regular starters D.J. Pirkle & Mike Krause will both be playing their final seasons in 2010. Behind them, there really isn't too much depth behind Brian Lawson who started at NG when Krause went down for the season with a heart condition. It really depends on the development of freshman Zach Anderson and sophomore Nabal Jefferson this upcoming season. Not to mention Frank Boenzi is pretty much counting against this upcoming class anyways as he greyshirts his freshman year.

Need: Probably at least 1 player for insurance sake.

Defensive End

Backup senior DE Darnell Bolding will be the only upperclassman at this position. The two starters in Sean Progar & Alan Baxter are both sophomores while a lot of freshman are also ready to showcase their talents after redshirting a year.

Need: Pass for this year.


The starters are set in place at LB, but depth is a major concern. There's 4 linebackers arriving this summer as true freshman, but which are going to contribute right away? It would be nice to get some players in that we can actually redshirt and not have to play right away, building up some depth on the roster.

Need: 2 or more players that could also play DE/FB/TE if needed.


There's actually some depth at this position this year and it's fairly even throughout all the classes. This is another one of those wait-and-sees because of the unknown factor beyond junior Tracy Wilson and senior Garrett Barnas.

Need: 2 versatile athletes that could also potentially switch to CB.


The CBs that play the majority of the time in Patrick George, Chris Smith & Kiaree Daniels are all going to be graduating after the 2010 season. There isn't anybody proven behind these guys, so recruiting this position will be one of the main focuses of the offseason.

Need: 3+ players, with at least one being a JUCO transfer.


In a game of field position, one of the most underrated positions in football is the punter position. Now we took a chance on JUCO punter Josh Wilber and we'll have to see what he brings to the table this season. However, he's a senior and we're going to need a replacement. We could try-out a bunch of walk-ons, but it's worth offering a scholarship to a punter if he can really boot it with finesse.

Need: One stud for the next 4 years.