Created:Tuesday, February 4, 2014 10:07 p.m.CDT
Updated:Tuesday, February 4, 2014 10:31 p.m.CDT
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A look back at NIU’s Class of 2010

By STEVE NITZ- snitz@shawmedia.com
Northern Illinois defensive back Jimmie Ward celebrates his interception Nov. 14, 2012 in DeKalb. NIU defeated Toledo, 31-24. (Rob Winner – rwinner@shawmedia.com)

Northern Illinois’ Class of 2010 brought a number of impact players to NIU.

Safety Jimmie Ward had a decorated career at NIU. Players like running back Jasmine Hopkins, kicker Mathew Sims defensive end Joe Windsor left DeKalb after good careers. Others, like linebacker Jamaal Bass and wide receiver Da’Ron Brown, will play big roles for the Huskies as fifth-year seniors next season.

Rivals.com ranked this class, which included eight three-start recruits, the third-best class in the Mid-American Conference.

Four years later, the Daily Chronicle took a look back at the 26-player class then-coach Jerry Kill announced in February of 2010.

Here’s the rundown:

Tyler Anderson, PK: Spent one season at NIU before leaving the program.

Greg Barksdale, LB: Three-star prospect saw the field as a true freshman at NIU. Spent one season in DeKalb before transferring to FCS Tennessee State, where he had 48 tackles this past season.

Jamaal Bass, LB: Finished with 83 tackles in 2012 and 75 this past year. Will be a key part of the Huskies’ defense as a senior in 2014.

Matt Battaglia, OL: After redshirting the 2012 season battling injuries, saw action in three games in 2013.

Frank Boenzi, DL: Highly-touted three-star prospect out of Geneva saw time on the defensive line for NIU’s 2011 MAC championship team, but was dismissed from the program the next summer because of off the field issues. He’s now at Grand Valley State, and had 39 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss in 2013.

Da’Ron Brown, WR: Came into his own as a junior in 2013, Grabbing 42 passes for 689 yards and nine touchdowns. Will be a key contributor once again as a senior.

C.J. Compher, TE: The son of former NIU athletic director Jeff Compher, the Sycamore High product was part of the Huskies’ program for two years before his career ended due to injuries.

Akeem Daniels, RB: Came on at the end of NIU’s Orange Bowl run in 2012, rushing for 447 yards on 68 carries. Didn’t play in 2013 due to a foot injury and took a redshirt year. Should split time with Cameron Stingily in 2014.

Dechane Durante, S: Charlotte, N.C. product also had an offer from Illinois. Durante will begin the 2014 season as a starting safety for the third straight year.

Luke Eakes, TE: Had nine catches for 84 yards and two touchdowns this past season. Should begin 2014 as NIU’s starter.

Michael Gegner, C: Appeared in eight games in 2012 and four in 2013.

Zak Giller, DB: Redshirted the 2010 season before leaving the program.

Blake Goodell, OL: Redshirted in 2010 and left the program after the season.

Marckie Hayes, DB: Sycamore product saw time on special teams in 2011 and 2012, but unfortunately Hayes’ career ended due to concussion issues this past season. He spent the season as a student coach, and will do the same in 2014.

Mike Hellams, LB: Three-star prospect played as a true freshman before leaving the program.

Jasmin Hopkins, RB: Junior-college transfer started all 14 games for NIU’s 2011 MAC champion team, rushing for 956 yards.

Tyler Loos, OL: Loos opened the season as a starter the past two seasons, but unfortunately has dealt with injuries both years. Missed the final three games of the 2012 season due to a broken tibia, and suffered a broken leg against UMass this past year. Was still named first-team All-MAC in 2013.

Tyler Pitt, OL: Appeared in all 14 games in 2013, and will compete for playing time as a senior next year.

Michael Santacaterina, OL: Started nine games this past season and finished with 61 tackles. Should open the 2014 season as a starter.

Mathew Sims, K: Came up with two of the biggest kicks in school history. Hit a 33-yard field goal as time expired to win the MAC title in 2011, and kicked a 40-yarder that sent the 2012 MAC Championship into double overtime. Had a rough end to his senior season and finished the year just 13 of 20 on field goal attempts.

Cameron Stingily, LB: Converted to running back prior to the 2012 season and was the Huskies’ biggest surprise this year, running for 1,035 yards. Will be a big part of NIU’s rushing attack in 2014.

Demetrius Stone, DB: Juco product finished with 77 tackles as a senior two years ago, and had the game-winning interception in the 2012 MAC Championship.

Jimmie Ward, DB: It’s safe to say Ward was the best gem from this class. Was a first-team All-MAC pick as a junior and senior, and is expected to be picked in the NFL Draft this spring.

Jamison Wells, WR: Had 14 catches in 2011 and nine in 2012. Graduated in May of 2013 and chose not to return for his fifth year. Also played outfield for NIU’s baseball team.

Casey Weston, QB: Juco product spent one year at NIU before transferring to Division II Miles College.

Joe Windsor, DE: Had seven sacks as a junior in 2012. In 2013, Windsor stepped into NIU’s starting lineup and had 4.5 sacks.

Will the NIU football team play for the MAC title this year?
Yes
No
Too soon to tell