NIU’s Turner up to speed at wide receiver

Posted on April 15, 2014 - 23:12:00

DeKALB – Aregeros Turner’s time at Northern Illinois didn’t get off to the best start.

Roughly a month after Turner, rated a three-star athlete by Rivals, signed with the Huskies, the man who recruited him to DeKalb – Roy Manning, left to become linebackers coach at Michigan, his alma mater. Manning accepted the job in Ann Arbor, Mich. less than two months after being named NIU’s running backs coach.

Manning recruited Turner to Cincinnati when he was the Bearcats’ running backs coach in 2012, and continued recruiting him at NIU. But before Manning could actually coach Turner, he was gone.

However, there were other reasons Turner had signed with NIU.

“It was tough. We had a good relationship, but I committed to the school instead of the coach,” Turner said after the Huskies’ practice Tuesday at the Chessick Center. “I came here on a visit, I liked the atmosphere. I liked how everyone was a family.”

While he was recruited as an athlete, Turner expected to be lining up in the Huskies’ backfield. But when he arrived on campus the coaching staff told Turner they wanted him to play wide receiver, feeling his size (he came to campus at 165 pounds) would work better out there.

The only experience the Akron, Ohio, native had at wideout was when he would run a couple of fly routes here and there in high school. He still made his way on to the field as a true freshman, catching eight passes in 11 games.

Turner missed some time early this spring because of a hamstring injury, but he’s been able to take a lot of reps to fine-tune his receiving skills, working on his footwork and route-running.

“Coming here it was all new to me,” Turner said. “Just learning different stuff and how to run routes was basically the hardest thing.”

Wide receivers coach Thad Ward said that despite his lack of experience at receiver, Turner catches the ball well.

He’s also a player who can get into the backfield and take the ball on jet sweeps. Ward said Turner could end up being a player similar to TommyLee Lewis.

“I think he can. He’s a very intelligent guy for the first part. He understands all five [wideout] positions ... which is good,” Ward said. “That was really good for him [in 2013]. Right now, he’s still knocking out some of the rust because he didn’t practice all spring. But he’s a very smart guy, and we’ve just got to continue to clean him up so we can get better with him. He’s going to be a big part of our offense this year I would say.”

NIU guards Balls, Cravatta will transfer

Posted on April 13, 2014 - 22:53:35

Northern Illinois sophomore guards Daveon Balls and J.J. Cravatta have been granted their release from the Northern Illinois men's basketball program and will transfer, NIU confirmed Sunday.

Balls, a native of Indianapolis, averaged 18 minutes and four points a game as the backup to Travon Baker at point guard. NIU will add another point guard next season, when sophomore Michael Orris, a Kansas State transfer, becomes eligible.

Cravatta, who graduated from Streator High School, played 6.9 minutes a contest and averaged 2.4 points a game last season. Cravatta's minutes were down from his freshman year, when he averaged 11.2 a game along with 2.7 points.

In addition to Balls and Cravatta leaving the program, the Huskies will lose guard Antone Christian and wing Aksel Bolin to graduation.

NIU will gain Orris, as well as Purdue transfer Anthony Johnson, a shooting guard who will have one season of eligibility remaining.

Friday scrimmage notes

Posted on April 11, 2014 - 23:03:11

Northern Illinois junior quarterback Matt McIntosh sat out Friday nights' scrimmage with a minor back injury, so sophomores Drew Hare and Anthony Maddie split the reps. Both worked with the first team.

McIntosh's injury is not serious, he was held out as a precaution.

NIU head coach Rod Carey liked what he saw from each quarterback.

“I thought they both did a good job,” he said. “Where I was a little disappointed in Drew, a couple turnovers there – but I liked the way he bounced back and got the team into the end zone and commanded the team. Same with [Anthony], I thought he had good command of the offense and getting them into the end zone tonight.”

Friday was the final spring scrimmage before the Huskie Bowl on Saturday, April 19 at 3 p.m. Fans who attend will see plenty of Hare, who is the only quarterback for the Black Team. Maddie and McIntosh will split the reps for the Cardinal Team.

Other notes from the scrimmage:

• Hare showed off his athletic ability, he had a few good runs on Friday. Athleticism isn't a problem with any of these quarterbacks.

• Carey thought the defense had the better night. Carey mentioned defensive ends Perez Ford and Austin Smaha, linebacker Ladell Fleming and safety Marlon Moore as players who stood out on the defensive side.

“I liked the way they stepped up at the end,” Carey said. “There was that lull in the middle where I think [the offense] kind of took it to them a little bit, but then both two-minute drills, they responded in fourth-down stops, so I was really pleased with that.”

• I saw cornerback Paris Logan make three nice pass breakups. Sophomore defensive end Matthew Baltimore had a nice interception to close out the scrimmage.

• I liked what I saw from the running backs. The known guys, Cameron Stingily and Akeem Daniels, had some good runs, including a touchdown scamper from Daniels from around 25 yards. Redshirt freshman Jordan Huff has had a good camp, he had a real good run of 15 yards or so after a fumbled snap.

- Steve Nitz, snitz@shawmedia.com, @SNitz_DDC

 

Thursday practice notes: Huskie Bowl preparation begins

Posted on April 10, 2014 - 10:37:47

DeKALB – Following Thursday morning's practice at Huskie Stadium, each of the two Huskie Bowl squads split up and practiced on their own for about 15 minutes.

The Black Team, led by offensive line coach Joe Tripodi, practiced on the turf of the stadium while Kelvin Sigler's Cardinal Team went inside the Chessick Center.Northern Illinois head coach Rod Carey said tight end Shane Wimann (Black) and Paris Logan (Cardinal) were the top picks in Wednesday's draft. They each posed with a No. 1 jersey.

Both teams will spend a few minutes after each practice on their own leading up to the Huskie Bowl, which takes place Saturday, April 19 at 3 p.m. Here are the Huskie Bowl rosters.

Other notes from Thursday's practice:

• Drew Hare is the only quarterback for Tripodi's team while Matt McIntosh and Anthony Maddie are the both with Sigler. Carey said Thursday that the quarterback battle is even, a position he has held throughout the spring. Hare has had a good spring, and Carey liked what he saw from the sophomore on Thursday, but I wouldn't read too much into Hare being the lone QB on his team.

"That's how they drafted it," Carey said.

• Spoke with offensive coordinator Bob Cole after practice, and one player who he said has had a good spring is sophomore tailback Joel Bouagnon, who saw the field as a true freshman. Cole said Bouagnon has had "a heck of a spring."

Other players Cole mentioned as having good springs so far were wideouts Kenny Golladay (transfer from North Dakota who will have to sit out 2013 but will have two seasons of eligibility remaining) and Malik Mitchell (redshirt freshman).

• The Huskies will hold a scrimmage at 7:50 p.m. Friday evening. Carey said the quarterbacks will continue to get equal reps with the first team, as has been the case in the first two scrimmages.

- Steve Nitz, snitz@shawmedia.com, @SNitz_DDC

Huskie Bowl rosters

Posted on April 9, 2014 - 20:57:51

Here are the rosters for the Huskie Bowl, which will take place Saturday, April 19 at 3 p.m. at Huskie Stadium. The Black Team will be coached by offensive line coach Joe Tripodi. The Cardinal Team will be led by cornerbacks coach Kelvin Sigler.

Quarterback-wise, Drew Hare is with the Black while Matt McIntosh and Anthony Maddie are with the Cardinal.

Black Team

Jackson Abresch (S)
Matt Baltimore (DE)
Chad Beebe (WR)
Cal Breedlove (DT)
Tate Briggs (OL)
Nick Calhoun (OL)
Cameron Clinton-Earl (DE)
Aidan Conlon (OL)
Mike Cotton (LB)
Akeem Daniels (RB)
Shane Evans (OL)
Sean Folliard (LB)
Perez Ford (DE)
Donovan Gordon (DT)
Drew Hare (QB)
Keith Harris, Jr. (RB)
Cody Hazelett (LB)
Pat Husain (OL)
Mike Ippolito (DT)
Bobby Jones (LB)
Mario Jones (DT)
Tyler Loos (OT)
Brian Mayer (LS)
Brandon Mayes (S)
Devonte Majors (TE)
Desroy Maxwell (TE)
Zeb McLaurin (CB)
Malik Mitchell (WR)
Marlon Moore (DB)
Levon Myers (OL)
Josh Orne (K)
Wes Ott (OL)
Tyler Pitt (OL)
Josh Ruka (OT)
Jimmy Russell (CB)
Michael Santacaterina (LB)
Thomas Scanlan (DT)
Draco Smith (RB)
Ryan Stendler (TE)
Cameron Stingily (RB)
Kevin Tennenbaum (TE)
Aregeros Turner (WR)
Shane Wimann (TE)

Cardinal Team

Mycial Allen (S)
Jamaal Bass (LB)
Joel Bouagnon (RB)
Juwan Brescacin (WR)
Jacob Brinlee (WR)
Anthony Brooks (CB)
Da’Ron Brown (WR)
Ron Brown (OL)
Ryan Brown (OT)
Brian Canoy (DT)
Ben Compton (DE)
Ricky Connors (FB)
Dechane Durante (S)
Johnny Eagan (S)
Luke Eakes (TE)
Ladell Fleming (LB)
Mike Gegner (C)
Clayton Glasper (WR)
Kenny Golladay (WR)
Terrell Harris (LB)
Lincoln Howard (OL)
Jordan Huff (RB)
Charles Ivory (CB)
William Lee (DT)
Tommylee Lewis (WR)
Paris Logan (CB)
Anthony Maddie (QB)
Boomer Mays (LB)
Matt McIntosh (QB)
Jason Meehan (DE)
Alex Morrow (RB)
Andrew Ness (C)
Jamaal Payton (LB)
IerNeshamah Quarles (S)
Bobby Ramlet (LS)
Terrance Roby (WR)
Tim Semisch (TE)
Austin Smaha (DE)
Rob Sterling (FB)
Cody Sullivan (LB)
Scott Taylor (OL)
Corey Thomas (DT)
Tyler Wedel (K)

How do you feel about NIU's recruiting class?
NIU couldn't have done better
Huskies went to a BCS bowl in 2012, it's disappointing
Talk to me in three years