DeKALB – Rod Carey isn’t ready to crown Rodney Hall the starting quarterback for the Northern Illinois football team anytime soon.
However, the Huskies coach has liked what he’s seen from Hall, who signed his letter of intent along with 21 other players who formally joined NIU on Wednesday.
“There’s no way to answer that today,” Carey said Wednesday on whether he anticipates Hall competing for the quarterback spot. “There’s no way to answer it, yes, I expect him to compete, or no. He’s a good football player. He’s trying to figure out where his meeting room is now, where his classrooms are. When we get there, then certainly does he have the ability to compete for that job? Absolutely. Let’s get him to know where Barsema Hall is at first.
“Does he have the ability to be a quarterback of the future? You bet.”
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Hall comes to the Huskies from Cass Tech in Detroit, where he led the Technicians to a 14-0 season and a Division I state title in 2016. A three-time team captain, he was named the team’s Most Valuable Player as a sophomore, junior and a senior and was a first-team all-state selection all three years and is ranked by Scout.com as the top quarterback recruit in Michigan.
“Year in, year out (Cass Tech) produces top-quality athletes and unbelievable teams,” Carey said. “(Hall) is the leader of that.”
Hall graduated early and has been at NIU for the past three weeks, Carey said.
Hall drew plenty of attention from teams in the Mid-American Conference – according to Scout.com, he even received an offer from Syracuse of the ACC, coached by former Bowling Green head coach Dino Babers – but decided on the Huskies.
Carey said that the Huskies were able to sign six players who also received offers from Power 5 schools, although he didn’t name which ones.
“I can’t remember a year when I’ve been the head coach that we’ve done that,” Carey said.
Hall had a dynamic performance in top-ranked Cass Tech’s state championship victory – a 49-20 victory over No. 3 Detroit Catholic Central. He threw for 220 yards and tied a state final record with five touchdown passes.
Hall is the latest in a line of dual-threat quarterbacks, and Carey said the history of the program wasn’t lost on the recruit during the process.
“Certainly our culture and our history played a factor in Rodney,” Carey said. “We talked with him at length and sold him on it, quite honestly. He possess a lot of the skill sets that we love our quarterbacks to have. He knew all about (former NIU quarterback) Jordan (Lynch) before we walked in the door. He knew all about him. It was an easy conversation that way.”
• The Huskies offensive line got a boost from three-star recruit Isaac Hawn (St. Charles North). Hawn also got an offer from Illinois and according to Scout, he was listed as the No. 3 offensive tackle in the state.
• Matt Lorbek (Bay Port High School, Green Bay, Wisconsin) was a big pickup for the Huskies, as he’s ranked as the top inside linebacker in Wisconsin by Scout and the third best in the Midwest.
• Running back Jordan Nettles (Romeoville High School) holds his school record for rushing yards in a season and career after he had 1,405 yards and 18 touchdowns as a senior. He is ranked by Scout as the No. 2 running back in the state.
• The only recruit in the 2017 class from Florida, Dennis Robinson (South Broward High School) was a two-star recruit but according to Scout, he received an offer from North Carolina State, which is headed by former NIU coach Dave Doeren.
• Jordan Rowell (Immaculate Conception) set an IHSA Class 3A state title game record with 272 rushing yards to crown a 14-0 record for the Knights. He’s also ranked as the third best safety recruit in Illinois and got an offer from Iowa, according to Scout.