Per Media Release:

NIU Tied for Most Selections Overall, Including Seven First Teamers

The first of the 2022 preseason All Mid-American Conference teams is out, and the defending MAC Champion Northern Illinois University Huskies were well represented on the list announced by Athlon Sports.

The outlet selected 14 Huskies on its preseason All-MAC team, tied for the most in the league, with six players on the first team, including sophomore Trayvon Rudolph (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee HS) who earned first team recognition as both a wide receiver and a kickoff returner. Rudolph led the Huskies in receiving with 51 catches for 892 yards and seven touchdowns. He also averaged over 25 yards per kick return with a 100-yard touchdown return in the Huskies’ win over Bowling Green.

Joining Rudolph on the first team offense were linemen Nolan Potter (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Washington HS) and Logan Zschernitz (Spencer, Wis./Spencer HS), as the offensive line led the Huskies to a No. 4 ranking in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 241.4 yards per game and gave up just 10 sacks in 14 games to rank second in the FBS in fewest sacks allowed. Junior John Richardson (Orland Park, Ill./Brother Rice HS), a three-year starter who made a pair of game-winning field goals in 2021, was projected as the MAC’s top kicker. Defensive backs Jordan Gandy (DeKalb, Ill./DeKalb HS) and C.J. Brown (Canton, Mich./Walled Lake Western HS) were chosen for the first team defense. Brown was a first team All-MAC safety last season after leading NIU with 109 tackles while Gandy broke up 10 passes and made 53 tackles from his cornerback spot.

NIU’s offensive backfield is well-represented as senior quarterback Rocky Lombardi (Clive, Iowa/Valley HS) was named to Athlon’s second team and running backs Harrison Waylee (Johnston, Iowa/Urbandale HS) and Antario Brown (Savannah, Ga./Beach HS) were chosen to the second and third teams, respectively. Lombardi threw for 2,597 yards and 15 touchdowns while adding another nine rushing scores and 473 rushing yards. Waylee and Brown are the Huskies’ top two returning rushers from a season ago, combining for 1,155 yards and nine touchdowns with all 574 of Waylee’s yards coming in the first five games of the season.

Defensive lineman James Ester (Detroit, Mich./Cass Tech) earned a spot on the second team defense after starting all 14 games in 2021 with 3.5 tackles for loss and 25 total tackles. Junior offensive tackle Marques Cox (Peoria, Ill./Peoria HS) is on the third team offense. Cox anchored the Huskies’ offensive line at left tackle, helping lead the way to 13 100-yard rushing games by Huskie backs in 2021.

Linebackers Nick Rattin (Palatine, Ill./Fremd HS) and Kyle Pugh (Chicago Heights, Ill./Bloom Township HS) round out the Huskie selections, with the duo earning fourth team recognition. Rattin was third on the team in 2021 with 72 tackles and second with 7.0 tackles for loss. Pugh, who returns after sitting out the 2021 season due to injury, is a two-time All-MAC linebacker.

First Team Offense
WR Trayvon Rudolph
OL Nolan Potter
OL Logan Zschernitz

First Team Defense
CB Jordan Gandy
S C.J. Brown

First Team Specialists
K John Richardson
KR Trayvon Rudolph

Second Team Offense
QB Rocky Lombardi
RB Harrison Waylee

Second Team Defense
DL James Ester

Third Team Offense
RB Antario Brown
OL Marques Cox

Fourth Team Defense
LB Nick Rattin
LB Kyle Pugh

Tickets for the 2022 NIU football and volleyball seasons are on sale now. Season tickets offer the best value, with football tickets priced as low as $15 per ticket with the Huskie Plan; see every Huskie Volleyball home game for just $35.

In Huskie Stadium, a reserved seat season ticket in sections C, D or E (between the 35s) is just $162 for a great seat to all six home games, including the Sept. 17 contest versus Vanderbilt, 115th Homecoming game against Toledo on Oct. 8 and season opener versus Eastern Illinois on Thursday, Sept. 1. General admission (East Side) season tickets are $97. Discounts on West Side reserved tickets are available for seniors (62+), Varsity Club and NIU Alumni Association members, Young Alumni (graduated in last five years) and DeKalb County residents, as well as NIU faculty and staff.

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