- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 5, 2014

DEKALB, Ill. (AP) - Northern Illinois added 31 players Wednesday on national signing day, beefing up on defense and adding two quarterbacks as the Huskies look to replace Heisman Trophy finalist Jordan Lynch.

Coach Rod Carey said the Huskies added 15 defensive players. That includes seven defensive backs and seven defensive linemen. NIU’s defensive line has been thinned by graduation the past two seasons. The cornerbacks include 5-5, 170-pound Mayomi Olootu from Allen, Texas.

NIU also signed quarterbacks Ryan Graham from Wheaton and Landon Root from Wichita, Kan. And the Huskies added five wide receivers, among them 6-1, 170-pound Christian Blake from Ft Lauderdale, Fla.

“We went (into the year) with three areas that we had to address,” Carey said. “First was the quarterback position, and I feel very good about the two quarterbacks we signed. Second is the wide receivers and I am ecstatic about that group we have coming in. Third is the defensive backfield and I feel very good about the players we are bringing in at that position. “

Most of the class is from the Midwest. But the past couple of seasons and national exposure helped it reach into other parts of the country. The Huskies’ class includes players from Texas, Florida, Alabama, Connecticut and Nebraska.

“We said we wouldn’t get too far away from who we are, but the national exposure over the last couple of years has definitely helped us reach out to some new areas,” Carey said.

NIU went 12-2 last season and lost to Utah State in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.



National rankings (Rivals 90; Scout 99).

Best in class: Shane, Evans, 6-4 295, ol, Prairie Ridge (Crystal Lake, Kan.) HS

Best of the rest: Mayomi Olootu, 5-5 170, cb, Allen (Texas) HS

NOTE: One of the best additions could be kicker Peter Deppe from Almont, Mich. He’s a three-star recruit, according to Scout.com, one of just four in this NIU class.