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Freshmen receiving duo has great potential

NIU freshman receiver Martel Moore looks for some yards after the catch during the Huskies’ 41-7 victory against Western Illinois on Saturday at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb.
NIU freshman receiver Martel Moore looks for some yards after the catch during the Huskies’ 41-7 victory against Western Illinois on Saturday at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb.

Freshmen wide receivers Martel Moore and Perez Ashford have been impressive so far for Northern Illinois. Coaches and teammates say the two have only scratched the surface with their potential as playmakers for the Huskies.

But other than what you've seen on the field, what do you know about No. 1 (Moore) and No. 7 (Ashford)?

Here are 17 things you might not know about the freshmen duo:

1. For starters, Moore is from Earl Warren High School in San Antonio.

2. Ashford comes to NIU from Shaker Heights High School in Shaker Heights, Ohio.

3. Moorenever had heard of NIU before the recruiting process.

"Truly, I didn't know anything," he said. "The first time I ever heard of them was when my coach, my offensive coordinator talked to me. Once I figured it out I was like, 'Northern Illinois? That's kind of far.' Then he said it was by Chicago. I was like, 'That's cold.' It's different and I wanted to try something different."

4. Moore's high school coach, Bryan Dausin, played for NIU coach Jerry Kill, a big reason why Moore and high school teammate and best friend Anthony Johnson came to DeKalb.

5. Asked why he chose NIU, Ashford's response was "Great coaches. Great atmosphere. Nice and helpful teammates."

6. Wide receivers coach P.J. Fleck sees a little history when he looks at Moore and Ashford.

"Those two remind me of a more mature, more ready to play, probably a little better off the field Sam Hurd and Shatone Powers combination," Fleck said. "I think they're farther ahead than those two young men on the field and off the field. They're both great kids."

7. Moore doesn't like the comparison to Hurd, the former NIU wideout who also hails from San Antonio.

"I'm Martel Moore," he said. "Sam Hurd is a great player, but I'm going to be me and I'm going to try and be better than that. I'm going to be the one from San Antonio they remember."

8. Moore loves to represent Texas, evidenced by the earrings he wore after the Western Illinois game in the shape of his home state.

9. Religion plays a big role in Ashford's life.

"I'm a Christian and I believe and trust in God a lot," he said. "He carries me through every day."

Ashford's Aunt, Cleo Ashford, e-mails him a Bible verse once a week.

"She gives me a Bible verse to get me through the week," Ashford said. "I'm very close with my aunt."

10. Ashford tries to read a chapter a night in the Bible and plans on completing it sometime soon. His favorite bible verse: Philippians 4:13. "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me."

11. But becoming a pastor is not in Ashford's future, criminal justice is, as Ashford wants to be an investigator whenever he's done with football.

12. Moore idolizes his cousin, Wane McGarity, who played wide receiver at Texas from 1995-98. McGarity ranks ninth in Texas history with 1,687 receiving yards and has the longest reception ever for the Longhorns, a 97-yard touchdown from Major Applewhite against Oklahoma in 1998.

13. Moore's cousin also plays a big role in his pregame routine, turning him on to a song that he since has listened to before every game since the fifth grade.

"It's a song called 'Southside' by Lil' Kiki, he's from Texas," Moore said. "That's the only song I've got from him. It's a routine that I've been doing forever. It just helps me get ready. It's part of my routine."

14. Both claim to be shy guys. Fleck says that's true with Moore until you get to know him.

15. College is what Moore expected so far.

"Schoolwork-wise, I caught on real quick," Moore said. That's nothing to me. I'm a real good student when I put my mind to it. So I just put my mind to and I put my mind to football. It's working so far."

16. Ashford is a little more taken aback.

"It's not what I expected," he said. "The game is a lot faster than high school and there is a lot more learning you've got to do. There's a lot more time you have to put into the game at the collegiate level. It's a lot more fun being on the field with so many people."

17. But both are excited about their futures with NIU, and with good reason, Fleck said.

"They're getting great experience," Fleck said. "They're not playing two snaps a game and then coming out. They're doing everything coach Kill is asking them to do. I'm proud of them so far of how they've worked. It's not easy for a true freshman. It's not easy at all."

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