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NIU grad transfers Heflin, Perez, Brinkman enter portal

Head coach Thomas Hammock watches a blocking drill during the first spring football practice at Northern Illinois University.
Head coach Thomas Hammock watches a blocking drill during the first spring football practice at Northern Illinois University.

NIU announced on Monday that seniors Jack Heflin, Mitchell Brinkman and Christopher Perez Jr. entered their names into the NCAA transfer portal as graduate transfers.

“With the current rules in place in regard to transfers and graduate transfers, we acknowledge it, we respect it and we have a plan moving forward of how we are going to best manage the evolving changes in college football," head coach Thomas Hammock said in a statement.

Heflin, a defensive tackle from Prophetstown, was second-team All-MAC by league coaches and was honorable mention all-American from Pro Football Focus. He led NIU with 8.5 tackles for a loss and three sacks.

He also started the last five games of 2018 and played 38 games over three season with the teams, finishing with nine sacks.

Brinkman battled injuries throughout his career, particularly in 2018, in which he only played four games. He did play 12 games in 2019, making 34 catches for 445 yards and three touchdowns.

Perez was a junior college transfer who started 11 games at left guard his first season.

“First and foremost, our goal at NIU is to graduate student-athletes and we’re proud of the 15 Huskie football players who earned their degrees this past Saturday. We appreciate everyone that comes through the program and achieves that goal," Hammock said. "We’re excited about the student-athletes we have returning and can’t wait until we can come back together as a team and continue this journey.”

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