Former (tear) NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish is still representing Northern Illinois, most recently on Monday at Halas Hall when he accepted the Mental Toughness Award from the Chicago Chapter of the National Football Foundation. Harnish and Northwestern QB Dan Persa - who roomed together at the East-West Shrine Game in January - earned the award for the perseverance and excellence displayed throughout their college careers.
Harnish was introduced by NIU Head Coach Dave Doeren at the standing room only awards ceremony which was attended by a "who's who" of Chicago football, including fellow head coaches Pat Fitzgerald of Northwestern and Tim Beckman of Illinois (formerly of the NIU vanquished Toledo Rockets), Chicago Bears Chairman George McCaskey and members of the McCaskey family, including matriarch Virginia Halas McCaskey, and Big Ten Conference Commissioner Jim Delaney. The NFF Chicago Chapter also presented awards to six deserving high school football student-athletes and recognized the NAIA Championship won by St. Xavier in 2011. Harnish's parents Ron and LeeAnn were in attendance to support the NFL hopeful.
Harnish's awards acceptance speech was the centerpiece of Fred
Mitchell's recap of the event for the Chicago Tribune, where you can also see his
Following the ceremony, the NIU contingent, representatives of other schools and special guests attended a dinner with the NFF Chicago Board members at Del Rio Restaurant in Highwood.
Harnish traveled to Indiana on Tuesday and reports to Indianapolis for the NFL Combine on Wednesday. Return to "Huskie Happenings" on Thursday for more on Harnish's combine plans.