Cory Hanson's Leadership to Help NIU Defense

Senior leadership is often an important part of a successful season for any college football program. With a redshirt senior like Cory Hanson patrolling the field at linebacker, Huskie fans can feel comfortable with his experience and leadership abilities to help anchor a strong defense.

College Football News recently rated Northern Illinois' linebacker group as the top in the MAC as Hanson is joined by junior Alex Kube and redshirt sophomore Pat Schiller. Last season, Hanson contributed 37 tackles in nine games, seven of them starts, while totaling six tackles for loss.

While a knee injury midway through the season cost Hanson four games, a breakout performance in the Independence Bowl against Louisiana Tech has Hanson looking forward to the upcoming season. He led the Huskies with nine tackles in the game and also broke up two passes in the loss.

"Being another year in this defensive system has given us a lot of confidence," explained Hanson. "Improving from 6-6 to competing for a championship is going to take one game at a time but we expect to win games now. Coming into the program as a freshman, we used to expect to win a lot of games and now we have that feeling back."

Confidence throughout the locker room is a growing trend in DeKalb, and a tight knit group on defense has made it easier to comprehend a MAC championship run.

"We're definitely close," Hanson explained aboutthe defensive unit. "All of us are tight and I've enjoyed stepping into a leadership role."

Being a leader is something Hanson has to be with the departure of first round draft pick Larry English. While English's production will be hard to replace, Hanson is confident the defense can overcome his loss.

"There is no replacing Larry English," said Hanson. "Playing with him, I learned a lot from him and I'm really hoping that someone can step up and help."

While a MAC Championship is the goal for Hanson and the Huskies, they'll also enjoy getting the chance to play in games like the season's opening game on the road at Wisconsin.

"I really look forward to playing in the best venues against the best teams," said Hanson. "Your adrenaline is pumping the whole game and you really want to play well."

For the latest updates on Cory Hanson and NIU Huskie football, stay tuned to HuskiePride.com for the very latest on the team as the prepare for the coming season.

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