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NIU redshirt senior S Dechane Durante had a pair of interceptions in Friday's 51-17 demolition of Bowling Green.

The win clinched another MAC title for the Huskies, who head into bowl season 11-2. Durante has picked off three balls in the school's past two games. Durante played in Jimmie Ward's shadow over the past few seasons, though Ward's presence certainly attracted more scouting attention that Durante may have otherwise received. The 6-foot-2, 193-pounder is lanky and projectable, though his progress since an outstanding freshman season has been slow.
Dec 7 - 4:29 PM

Northern Illinois TE Tim Semisch "rarely registers a blip on the scouting radar," but has NFL tools, writes Tony Pauline of TFY Draft Insider.

"In fact he’s only occasionally on the field," Pauline wrote. "Yet he comes with great size and flashes athleticism and dominant blocking skill. Keep Semisch in mind this season. He’s not a draft pick but a free agent who could be the third man on the tight end depth chart at the next level." The 6-foot-8, 267-pounder hopes his athletic gifts finally translate into on-field production this fall.
Jul 30 - 9:21 PM

NIU redshirt senior S Dechane Durante's "game has not progressed" since his freshman year, according to TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline.

Pauline currently doesn't even give Durante a draftable grade. "I was blown away after watching the freshman film of Durante during the summer of 2012 but his game has not progressed since," Pauline wrote. "Durante played five games as a sophomore before being shelved with a broken ankle and while he showed flashes last season, he also had his share of mental lapses. The underlying skill is apparent but Durante must improve his consistency and stop blowing assignments." Durante collected 55 tackles last year as Jimmie Ward's tagteam partner, and was second on the team in both interceptions (3) and passes defended (8).
Jul 30 - 5:30 PM

CBS Sports' Dane Brugler says the "the stage is set" for NIU redshirt junior S Dechane Durante "to have a breakout season as a senior leader."

"When scouting Huskies safety Jimmie Ward last season, it was impossible not to notice Durante who was just as active and fast in the Northern Illinois secondary," Brugler wrote. Durante collected 55 tackles and was second on the team in both interceptions (3) and passes defended (8). "Like Ward, Durante has a tall, lanky frame for the position with average bulk, but the range, instincts and aggressive mentality are also comparable," Brugler wrote. "Ward was drafted 30th overall in the 2014 NFL Draft and although the first round probably isn't in Durante's future, the stage is set for him to have a breakout season as a senior leader."
Source: CBS Sports
Jul 20 - 10:58 PM

Northern Illinois senior RB Akeem Daniels has a vertical jump of 40.5 inches, broad jump of 10 feet, 6 inches, and has clocked a pro agility time of 3.90.

Daniels missed last season with a foot injury. The 5-foot-7, 192-pounder is NIU's best blocking back, in addition to possessing elite athleticism. The Huskies are excited to have him back, and figure to feature Daniels, who tallied 447 yards on 68 carries and 259 yards on 20 receptions in 2012.
Source: Fox Sports
Jul 12 - 10:40 PM

ESPN's Mel Kiper gave out two "A" draft grades, singling out the 49ers and Jaguars as the winners of this year's process.

He listed San Francisco first. "The Niners just got so many good players," Kiper wrote, and went on to praise most every selection, from No. 30 overall NIU S Jimmie Ward to seventh-rounder No. 245 overall Oklahoma FB Trey Millard, perhaps the top prospect at his position. "What I like about this draft is the 49ers are in a championship window, and they still managed to balance both the need for immediate help and also got a lot of talent for the future," Kiper wrote. "The window can remain open."
May 11 - 4:29 PM

Bears signed Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch.

Lynch (6-foot 1/4, 217) made 28 starts for the Huskies, compiling a 24-4 record and 100 all-purpose touchdowns (51 passing, 48 rushing, one receiving). He completed 61.8 percent of his throws with a 51:14 TD-to-INT ratio and 6.56 YPC average. Lynch isn't an NFL-caliber passer, but drew pre-draft interest from teams at tailback and safety. Unfortunately, he also lacks athleticism for a position switch with 4.76 speed and a 9-foot-1 broad jump. Perhaps Lynch will find a niche as a gadget player and special teamer, but ultimately his game simply isn't suited to the NFL.
May 11 - 2:06 PM

Cowboys selected Northern Illinois DT Ken Bishop with the No. 251 overall pick in the NFL draft.

A stock "tweener" one-slash-three technique at 6-foot 1/4 and 306 pounds, Bishop was a first-team All-MAC selection as a senior with the Huskies. He ran 5.21 at the NIU Pro Day and pumped 31 reps on the bench. Bishop isn't a high-ceiling NFL prospect, but he's entering a good situation in Dallas from a roster standpoint. The Cowboys have the weakest defensive line in the league.
May 10 - 7:02 PM

49ers selected Northern Illinois S Jimmie Ward with the No. 30 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft.

Ward (5-foot-10 3/4, 193) was a third-team All-American in 2013, finishing his career with 11 interceptions, four forced fumbles and four blocked punts. He started at corner as a sophomore, and safety as a junior in senior, but still covered the slot in passing situations. Ward ran 4.47 at the Huskies' Pro Day, adding a 38-inch vertical and 10-foot-5 broad jump. Built identically to Patriots FS Devin McCourty (5'11/193), Ward has also drawn Kenny Vaccaro comparisons for his versatility and man-cover skills, and is arguably a better tackler than both of them. Recovering from foot surgery, Ward is expected to be ready for training camp.
May 8 - 11:33 PM

Northern Illinois S Jimmie Ward visited 12 teams during the draft process.

The Falcons, Ravens, Panthers, Cowboys, Colts, Saints, Texans and Vikings are just a few of the teams. Rotoworld's Josh Norris ranks Ward as the No. 2 safety in this class and loves his versatility to line up over the slot or work in the deeper portions of the field.
Apr 29 - 11:02 AM

Northern Illinois S Jimmie Ward (foot) has been cleared to resume running, reports ESPN's Adam Caplan.

Good news for a possible first- or early second-rounder with the draft now 10 days away. Ward had been recovering from foot surgery after screws were inserted to shorten the healing process. Ward was given a six-to-eight week recovery timetable after going under the knife in early March, and he's right on track. Because Ward will be good to go for training camp, we don't believe this affects his stock any.
Apr 28 - 8:53 PM

NFL Films' Greg Cosell speculated that Northern Illinois S Jimmie Ward could end up as a slot corner in the NFL.

The analyst said on the "Ross Tucker Podcast" that Ward played that spot in sub packages at NIU and was "really, really good" at it. Cosell stressed that he likes Ward as a prospect and said that the Huskies' star has the "best man-to-man cover skills of the safeties in this class." However, he doesn't believe Ward (5-foot-10, 191 pounds) can be a "box player" at that size. Tucker, for the record, disagreed that Ward's size might move him off safety.
Apr 24 - 8:08 PM

Northern Illinois S Jimmie Ward recently visited the Ravens, per beat writer Aaron Wilson.

The team previously met with Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Washington State's Deon Bucannon. The Ravens are expected to look for a rangy free safety opposite Matt Elam, and Ward has the necessary versatility to win in a variety of sets. Ward is still recovering from foot surgery after screws were inserted to shorten the healing process.
Apr 17 - 1:37 PM

CBS Sports' Dane Brugler assigned Northern Illinois S Jimmie Ward to the Packers at No. 21 in a mock draft published Monday.

Ward hasn't gotten a ton of top-25 buzz, but he's a prospect who could take on helium as we get closer to draft day. Ward should benefit from the NFL's increased desire to identify playmaking, versatile safeties. "Green Bay has a need at free safety and although it would be somewhat uncharacteristic for Ted Thompson to go safety in the first round, Ward gives the Packers an instant upgrade in the secondary," wrote Brugler.
Source: CBS Sports
Mar 17 - 10:47 PM's Bucky Brooks believes Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch's best chance to stick in the NFL is as a DB.

Lynch, open to a position change, worked out at QB and DB at Northern Illinois' pro day earlier this month. "While I certainly understand the intrigue with Lynch playing running back or wide receiver at the next level due to his remarkable production as a dual-threat playmaker for the Huskies, I believe a move to safety would give him the best chance to carve out a nice career as a pro," wrote Brooks. Lynch (6-foot 3/8, 220 pounds) simply doesn't possess the arm strength to play QB in the NFL. "Lynch will face an uphill climb to make a roster following a position switch, but his ability to contribute as a playmaker on special teams could buy him enough time to master the nuances of the position while making contributions as an active player," wrote Brooks, who himself moved from WR to DB with the Packers in 1996.
Mar 17 - 8:18 PM

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