Northern Illinois Signs 2009 Juco Tight End

Saddleback College tight end Nick Groeniger has signed his LOI to play football for Northern Illinois coach Jerry Kill and the Huskies for the 2009 season. In this report, we hear from Nick as he looks forward to joining the team.

Nick Groeniger didn't get on Northern Illinois' radar until after signing day in early February. He plans to arrive in DeKalb by mid-June for summer school and summer workouts.

The 6-5, 250 lb. tight end, who originally verbally committed to North Dakota in December, made his decision after visiting the NIU campus a few weeks ago. At first the Southern California guy balked at the chilly Illinois weather, but quickly warmed up to the Huskies.

"I took my trip out there and I just clicked with all the players when I got there," Nick said. "The facilities there are top notch. That's what I'm looking for in a school. Coach Kill reminds me of my dad, it was pretty comfortable. It helps with the homesickness when you have someone who reminds you of your dad."

Groeniger hopes to help the Huskies build off of their Independence Bowl bid from last season. "The program is definitely on the rise," said Nick. "The have the best shot at winning the MAC next year. Hopefully I'll be the missing piece of the puzzle and help the program get into the Top 20."

Nick runs the 40 in 4.75 seconds. He had seven catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns this season for the Gauchos and averaged 17.7 yds per catch.

Groeniger chose NIU over interest from Kansas State, New Mexico State, Youngstown State, San Diego, Idaho State, Eastern Michigan, and Bowling Green. NIU assistant coach Rob Reeves was the point man on recruiting Nick as well as Tight Ends coach Brian Anderson.

"Nick's strength is his solid run blocking and pass blocking on quarterback sprint out protection," said Saddleback receivers/tight end coach Troy Yamaguchi via email. "He can develop into a 20 to 25 catch player in a system that utilizes tight ends in their pass scheme."

Nick is a star on the field and in the classroom as he carries a 3.6 GPA.

Stay tuned to for the very latest on NIU Huskies recruiting.

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