Chad Beebe doesn't have the classic look of a Division I-bound football player.
The skill set, productivity and pedigree is another matter.
Northern Illinois was one of several Division I programs that envisioned Beebe outperforming his physical specs and, on Saturday, the Aurora Christian senior wide receiver verbally committed to the Huskies.
Chad Beebe, who said he has added about 15 pounds and an inch of height since playing his junior season at 5-foot-8 and about 140 pounds, is the son of former NFL receiver and Aurora Christian coach Don Beebe.
"He knows that his dad was about the same size coming out of high school so Chad has never looked at his size or anything of that nature to deter him from his ability to play the game," Don Beebe said. "His route-running ability and ability to catch the ball is exceptional, and that's what they saw in him as a [slot receiver]."
Chad Beebe picked the Huskies over offers from Wyoming, Ball State, Bowling Green, Illinois State, Western Illinois, North Dakota and Colgate. Purdue and Northwestern had also shown interest and there was the chance an offer from a higher profile program might have materialized if Chad Beebe went deeper into the summer with his recruitment.
"There were times selfishly speaking I wanted to just say I got a full ride from a Big Ten school but then I kind of thought about that more, and what does that really matter," Chad Beebe said. "I knew NIU at the time was going to be right for me. After praying about it and all that, it just felt right."
The Eagles were at Northern Illinois University on Saturday morning participating in a 7-on-7 competition. Chad Beebe said he told Huskies head coach Dave Doeren beforehand that he was on board.
"He gave me a hug and everything," Chad Beebe said. "It was good. I'm really excited, too."
Don Beebe called NIU an elite program in the Mid-American Conference.
"Their facilities are second to none," Don Beebe said. "They're building a brand new indoor facility this summer, they're a winning program. They won [the MAC] last year, they won a bowl, and that was really exciting for Chad. They told Chad he could probably travel right away as a freshman and that excited him. He's just a great fit as a slot receiver in that offense. [Doeren] gets it. He's first-class all the way."
Chad Beebe has been one of the defending IHSA Class 3A state champion Eagles' top receivers the past couple seasons, though his junior season was marred by a pair of collarbone injuries that sidelined him for part of the season and turned him primarily into a decoy in the team's state championship game win against Mt. Carmel.
Despite adding some much-needed bulk, Chad Beebe said he has shaved time off his 40-yard dash time to 4.64.
"Actually it's almost helped me out even more ... I've gotten a lot stronger and explosiveness lasts longer for me now," Chad Beebe said. "It's just a lot easier than it was before."
Don Beebe said he is grateful it will be so convenient to attend his son's home games in college but emphasized that he largely stayed out of Chad's decision-making.
"It's his four years, not mine," Don Beebe said. "My career is over and his is just starting."