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HUSKIE TIGHT END JACK MARKS EARNS SCHOLARSHIP

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Marks-Jack.jpgNorthern Illinois unofficially added senior tight end Jack Marks (Orland Park, Ill./Marist HS) to its list of 2011 football signees Monday as Huskies' Head Coach Dave Doeren announced that the former walk-on has earned a scholarship, effective immediately. 

In 2010, Marks played in every game for the Huskies as one of NIU's top two tight ends and made a pair of appearances in the starting line-up.  He finished the season with a career-high eight catches for 75 yards and averaged 9.4 yards per catch.  Five of his catches came versus Illinois, when he totaled 55 receiving yards, including a career-long 22-yard catch.  He also caught passes versus Toledo, Western Michigan and Iowa State.
 
"We were honored to award Jack with a scholarship after all the hard work he has put into the program here," Doeren said.  "He is a true Huskie and has earned the right to be a scholarship athlete at NIU."

In all, Marks has played in 22 games over the last two years and has nine catches for 80 yards.  Marks has continued a family football tradition at Northern Illinois as two of his uncles played football at NIU in the 1970s.
 
Northern Illinois coaches have long acknowledged the value walk-ons bring to the football program with Marks the latest non-scholarship player to be rewarded.  Current Huskies Jason Schepler, Sean Progar and Rashaan Melvin began their careers as walk-ons as did 2010 seniors Chad Spann, who now stands as NIU's all-time leader in rushing touchdowns, and Jake Coffman, who ranks on the Huskies' list for career quarterback sacks.  Spann, Coffman, Progar and Schepler all earned All-Mid-American Conference accolades in 2010 while playing key roles for the record-setting 11-3 Humanitarian Bowl Champions.
 
"One of my goals as the head coach at Northern Illinois is to continue to have a very strong walk-on program," Doeren said.  "Individuals like Jack Marks who come here without a scholarship are very important to the success of our team."
  
Northern Illinois opens its first spring practice under Doeren on Tuesday, March 22.  Season tickets for the 2011 six-game home schedule are on sale now for just $99.  Call 815-753-1923 or go online to www.NIUHuskies.com.


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