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NIU freshman gets a head start

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT
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(Kyle Bursaw – kbursaw@shawmedia.com)
Northern Illinois linebacker Sean Folliard squats during a team lifting session Friday in the Yordon Center in DeKalb. Folliard graduated from Prairie Ridge High School in Crystal Lake in December so that he could get a jump on his collegiate career. “It’s kind of all about the football for me,” Folliard said. “It was a hard decision leaving all my friends and family back there, but I’m not too far away. It’s not that bad at all.”

DeKALB – Early on in his senior year, Sean Folliard had a meeting with his guidance counselor at Prairie Ridge High School in Crystal Lake.

There, he learned that graduating high school early and getting a head start on his college football career would be a lot easier than he expected.

All Folliard, who played safety for the Wolves and was part of the school’s Class 6A state championship team in 2011, had to do to graduate in December was pick up an extra English class.

It wasn’t too much to ask. Folliard added the class, and with the second semester at NIU under way, Folliard is in DeKalb early, working out and attending meetings with the rest of his new teammates.

“It’s kind of all about the football for me,” Folliard said. “It was a hard decision leaving all my friends and family back there, but I’m not too far away. It’s not that bad at all.”

Folliard added that heading to NIU a semester early was purely his choice, although the coaching staff certainly was on board.

“It was pretty much my decision. Nobody really expected me to do it,” he said. “It was a pretty spontaneous thing for me to do.”

The best advantage for Folliard being in DeKalb a semester early? Being able to participate in the Huskies’ spring drills, and he said that played a decision to graduate early that much easier.

Folliard played safety at Prairie Ridge, where he was an Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Class 6A All-State selection as a senior, and even played some quarterback for the Wolves late in the 2012 season.

For the Huskies, Folliard will be moving to linebacker, where he’ll be at for the next four or five seasons. He hopes being in school for spring practice will help him get on the field as a freshman.

“The coaches and players told me that’s going to be a big help. I obviously won’t know until I’m there,” he said. “Ultimately, that’s going to be the coaches’ decision on whether I redshirt or not.”

Over the winter, Folliard, who Rivals.com lists at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, will be trying to mold his body into a linebacker, and will get valuable reps in spring practice.

“I’m definitely going to have to get a lot bigger and stronger,” he said. “Kind of just want to get better overall as an athlete, in the weight room and stuff like that. I’ve got a lot to learn.”

Signing Day hasn’t even arrived yet, but Folliard already is one step ahead of everyone else. So far, he hasn’t been disappointed.

“It’s been fun. Working out every day, just getting to know my teammates,” he said. “Really good times.”

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