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NIU

Huskies deep at linebacker

Northern Illinois held its third football practice of the season Monday, in helmets and shoulder pads.

The Huskies will hold their first full-padded practiceat 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Notes and observations from Monday:

• Linebacker should be a strength for NIU's defense. Boomer Mays returns in the middle, as does 2013 first-team All-Mid-American Conference selection Jamaal Bass, who didn't practice this spring.

"Between Jamaal Bass coming back from his injury, and Bobby Jones has grown up a lot for his redshirt year. [Michael Santacaterina]'s back, Boomer, Sean Folliard, a lot of those guys are coming strong," NIU linebackers coach Kevin Kane said. "I feel pretty good about where we're at. I've got a solid eight linebackers I can trust right now."

• Akeem Daniels returned from a foot injury suffer last fall and was limited during spring drills. So far, he looks to be back to old form. His quickness and pass catching ability stand out.

• Two true freshman who have been getting some good reps on offense are Christian Blake and Ezra Saffold, two South Florida products.

• You'll be able to tell from the photos we run with accompanying stories throughout camp, but NIU has new practice uniforms that look pretty sharp.

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