DeKalb graduate Jordan Gandy announced on Tuesday he was leaving FCS playoff team South Dakota State and returning to DeKalb to play for NIU.
Gandy said there were various reasons for the move. Aside from some personal matters that made sense for him to be closer to home, he said from an academic standpoint NIU made more sense.
There was also coach Dan Jackson moving from South Dakota State to NIU ion the offseason. Jackson was Gandy's position coach.
"We had a good relationship, but that's just a small part of it," Gandy said. "The big thing is to be closer to home and academic wise."
Tate started eight games as a true freshman, including a season-high four tackles at Indiana State. His first career interception came in a game against Northern Iowa and had two tackles and a pass breakup in a playoff rematch with UNI.
Gandy was an all-state selection in 2018 and was a first-team member of the Daily Chronicle All-Area Defensive Team. He made the Chronicle's all-area defensive first team as well in 2017, and was a second-team selection as a freshman in 2016.
Gandy said he was excited to be back playing at home.
"It was pretty difficult," Gandy said. "South Dakota State is a great place. I had a great relationship with all my teammates there. It was tough but at the end of the day I have to do what's best for me, and that's Northern."
Gandy said he still has to pass a coronavirus test before he can start working out this year. He said the school is trying to clear up some issues but expects to be eligible to play in the fall.
Ross becomes the gift former DeKalb player on the NIU roster, joining receiver Cole Tucker, safety Brianjay Ross, linebacker Michael Newman and running back Jalon Redmond, who just graduated this year and is a preferred walkon.
"It's crazy," Gandy said. "I'm sure we'll talk. I think it's good there's this much talent from DeKalb, and I think some of us will be starting this year as well."