9:30 p.m.: Both Rivals and Scout have NIU's 2013 recruiting class ranked eighth in the Mid-American Conference.
I'll be the first to say recruiting rankings mean virtually nothing. I took a look back at the Huskies' 2008 and 2009 classes, and the recruiting sites didn't think too highly of them either. Those groups included a number of players who were the key contributors on NIU's Orange Bowl team.
Rashaan Melvin and Sean Progar were walk-ons in 2008. NIU was the only school to offer Jordan Lynch a chance to play quarterback when he signed in 2009. Martel Moore was only a two-star prospect.
Recruiting rankings at the MAC level may as well be meaningless. In three-four years, it will be interesting to look back at this class and see who develops into an All-MAC player, which overlooked player becomes a real contributor and who leaves the program to play at a lower level.
I will say that on the surface, I think this looks like a solid class, especially since NIU only had 14 scholarships to give. Still, it's way too early to tell. We can talk about the Blake Holders, Jordan Huffs and Aregeros Turners of the world all we want, but it'll still be two, three, four years down the road before everyone finds out how valuable they are.
That's it for me for today, I hope you enjoyed all our coverage from National Signing Day. Be sure to check out our Signing Day Central page for all of our signing day stories and videos.
4:30 p.m.: There's some non-recruiting news today as well.
NIU quarterbacks coach Bob Cole has been promoted to offensive coordinator, and will continue to work with the quarterbacks. Defensive line coach Brett Diersen will serve as the Huskies' recruiting coordinator. Diersen came to NIU from Florida Atlantic, where he served as the Owls' defensive line coach and special teams coordinator. Click here for our video interview with Cole.
Linebackers coach Kevin Kane has added special teams coach to his duties, while tight ends/fullbacks coach Joe Tripodi will coach the offensive line, a group he worked with during Orange Bowl preparation.
4:15 p.m.: Carey's press conference is over, and NIU's 2013 recruiting class is official.
Twenty four players highlight the group. The Huskies had 14 scholarships to give out so there are a number of preferred walk-ons. Carey seemed pretty impressed with the class and said NIU's 2012 season, which culminated in the Orange Bowl, certainly helped.
Some highlights from Carey's presser:
One big get for NIU is Aregeros Turner, who had a number of BCS offers. Turner is a versatile guy who can carry the ball, or line up as a receiver. NIU lists him as an athlete.
• "You just want to get this guy the ball. You see that on film," Carey said. "He's got great speed, he's got great elusiveness. We're really excited about him."
• Most of these guys will redshirt the 2012, but Carey said everyone should expect to play. I think you'll certainly see at least one of the three running backs (Turner, Jordan Huff, Joel Bouagnon) see the field as a true freshman.
"We tell them all, that you've got to expect to play," Carey said. "With the way numbers the way they are in college football, with 85 scholarships right now, every young man that you recruit and you get to know, you tell them expect to play, train to play."
• Carey seemed impressed with this class and it looks like a solid one (by MAC standards, of course). Carey said having a smaller class this season gave his staff time to build better relationships with the recruits.
"Did this provide us more time to know these guys even more? Yes, I'll say that," Carey said. "So we feel real good about how good we know these guys."
2:40 p.m.: I'm here at the Yordon Center for Rod Carey's press conference, and in front of me is NIU's official Class of 2013. Two names that weren't on the list earlier — kicker Josh Brebant out of Copley High School in Ohio (Aregeros Turner's teammate), and Indianapolis defensive lineman William Lee.
Here's the full class:
Jackson Abresch DB 6-1 185 Hartland, Wis.
Mycial Allen DB 6-0 183 Detroit, Mich.
Chad Beebe WR 5-9 165 Aurora, Ill.
Joel Bouagnon RB 6-2 225 Aurora, Ill.
Josh Brebant K 6-0 195 Akron, Ohio
Tate Briggs OL 6-4 297 Naperville, Ill.
Nick Calhoun OL 6-5 308 Oshkosh, Wis.
Nick Cieslak QB 6-3 170 Waukesha, Wis.
Justin Corbett DB 6-2 205 Frankfort, Ill.
Sean Folliard LB 6-2 215 Crystal Lake, Ill.
Jake Heckel TE 6-3 235 Waukesha, Wis.
Blake Holder WR 6-2 195 Streamwood, Ill.
Jordan Huff RB 5-11 205 Mobile, Ala.
Robert Jones LB 6-0 210 Miami Gardens, Fla.
William Lee DL 6-2 280 Indianapolis, Ind.
Ben Maruska OL 6-4 285 Fond Du Lac, Wis.
Brandon Mayes DB 5-11 182 Aurora, Ill.
Zeb McLaurin DB 5-11 180 Chicago, Ill.
Malik Mitchell WR 6-4 181 Alpharetta, Ga.
Jamaal Payton LB 6-0 220 Bellwood, Ill.
Draco Smith DB 5-9 185 Hammond, Ind.
Ryan Stendler TE 6-4 250 Mequon, Wis.
Aregeros Turner ATH 5-11 170 Copley, Ohio
Shane Wimann TE 6-4 225 Wisconsin Dells, Wis.
2 p.m.: One recruit who's enrolled early is linebacker Sean Folliard from Crystal Lake Prairie Ridge.
I talked to Prairie Ridge coach Chris Schremp about Folliard, who praised his athleticism. Folliard was a safety in high school but will play linebacker at NIU, and Schremp thinks he's got the opportunity to get on the field early.
"I don't think I've seen a kid that really likes playing football more than Sean," Schremp said.
Last week, we shot a video interview with Folliard.
I'm about to head to the Yordon Center for Rod Carey's press conference. For updates, follow us on Twitter (@HuskieWire). I hope to put up a couple of more blog posts during and after the press conference as well.
1:30 p.m.: I posted some info on NIU's Class of 2013 from national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming earlier. Here's a few more tidbits:
• Lemming mentioned wide receiver Malik Mitchell as someone who can come in and play right away as a freshman. Lemming said the Huskies did a good job at wide receiver and defensive back.
• Not a ton of linemen in this class. Lemming said that's something the Huskies will need to focus on next year.
• Coaching changes always impact recruiting, but Lemming said NIU's change from Dave Doeren to Rod Carey was minimized due to the school promoting Carey.
"Since they hired from within I don't think it has that much of an impact. I think they did a good job of clearing things up to the recruits quickly, hired from within," Lemming said. "I think it was business as usual, they just don't have a lot of scholarships to give this year."
1 p.m.: First of all, if you have a question about signing day, tweet it to me (@SNitz_DDC) or to @HuskieWire. I'll answer it in a video later today.
I've already talked about Aurora Christian running back Joel Bouagnon, one of three Eagles in the Huskies' Class of 2013.
Here's some more info on wide receiver Chad Beebe and safety Brandon Mayes.
Aurora Christian coach Don Beebe, Chad's father, said his son is the best route runner he's seen in high school. Chad Beebe (5-9, 165 pounds), had 65 catches for 980 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior despite being injured part of the season.
"Chad's like a Wes Welker-type player," Don Beebe said. "He'll catch everything (thrown) to him."
Mayes played corner, safety and even some linebacker for Aurora Christian, and NIU lists him as a safety, which Don Beebe said is his best fit.
"He's got great instincts to the football," Beebe said. "Tremendous attitude to tackle and getting into the mix with guys."
We'll also have a story on all three of Aurora Christian's NIU signees on in Thursday's Daily Chronicle.
12:30 p.m.: According to Fox Sports recruiting reporter Beth Long, Glenbard West defensive end Ruben Dunbar will hold off on his decision on where to sign.
NIU is one of a number of schools to offer Dunbar, a player with a lot of BCS interest.
Rivals has Dunbar as a three-star recruit, and the 6-3, 235-pounder also has offers from Arizona State, Cincinnati, Illinois, Indian, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, N.C. State, Oklahoma State and Toledo, according to the site.
12 p.m.: If you haven't already, check out our Signing Day Central page, which has all of our signing day stories and videos. Make sure to check Huskiewire.com and Thursda's Daily Chronicle for all our coverage from today. A few names who haven't really been mentioned around the Huskies faxed in their letters of intent today.
Here's some info on some of the newer names -
Nick Calhoun, OL: Oshkosh, Wisc. native actually didn't play football until his senior season, he was a hockey player for nine years before playing football at Lourdes Academy, where he was named team MVP in 2012.
Nick Cieslak, QB: Had 3,469 yards and 33 touchdowns in his career at Kettle Moraine High School in Waukesha, Wisc. Threw for 1,117 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior.
Justin Corbett, DB: Member of Lincoln-Way East's 2012 Class 7A state runner-up team also had 28 catches for 426 yards and 84 carries for 596 yards as a senior.
Jake Heckel, TE: Played both sides of the ball for Waukesha (Wisc.) West High School. Caught four passes for 50 yards and two touchdowns as a senior.
Zeb McLaurin, DB: Had 48 tackles, 10 pass breakups, five blocked kicks and three fumble recoveries as a senior at Chicago St. Ignatius.
Jamaal Payton, LB: Was a two-time all-state selection and also played running back at Proviso West High School in Hillside. Had 375 tackles, 16 forced fumbles, 13 pass breakups, seven interceptions, four blocked kicks and two fumble recoveries for his career.
Ryan Stendler, TE: Team MVP at Homestead High School in Mequon, Wisc., where he helped the Highlanders to a Division 2 state title.
Aregeros Turner, athlete: Rivals.com three-star prospect ran for 4,742 yards and scored 79 touchdowns in his career. Had 13 carries for 1,378 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior. Was named team MVP at Copley High School each of his four years.