NIU football coach Thomas Hammock talks frequently about how he and the Huskies value walk-ons to the program.
Even Wednesday on signing day, he was talking about how eight current walk-ons are set to receive scholarships in January.
For DeKalb safety Ethan Tierney, that was a big factor in his signing to NIU on Wednesday.
“I think my options weren’t huge because of me tearing my shoulder my junior year,” Tierney said. “I think what Hammock says about walk-ons, how he treats them, helps me make my decision even better. Why not play in my hometown, which is a great FBS program, and they gave a few of their prior walk-on scholarships and they really treat them good.”
Tierney was one of two football players finalizing their plans on Wednesday, with Kaneland long snapper Ryan Algrim making his Minnesota commitment official.
NIU doesn’t announce its PWOs until the second signing period in February.
“We consider those guys as recruited guys in the program,” Hammock said on Wednesday.
Tierney also had offers from Austin Peay and Indiana State but decided to stay close to home.
“It’s close to home,” Tierney said. “My other offers were Indiana, which is four to five hours away, and Tennessee which is eight hours. Having the opportunity to play less than 10 minutes from home is awesome.”
As it stands now, Tierney will be the only player from DeKalb on the roster. Cole Tucker graduated after a long career with the Huskies at wide receiver, and Jordan Gandy hit the transfer portal. Both were graduates of DeKalb.
“Cole Tucker made a great career there,” Tierney said. “Jordan Gandy went to South Dakota State before but went there and made did great. It’s awesome to be the next DeKalb there.
“Growing up in town, especially playing football you look up to them, anyone who plays on that team,” he said. “It’s awesome to play for the team I’ve grown up cheering for.”
Algrim announced back in June he’d be heading to the Golden Gophers under former Kaneland grad P.J. Fleck.
— Minnesota Football (@GopherFootball) December 21, 2022
“I was kind of shocked I was offered and was able to commit this early,” Algrim said this summer. “My game plan was to know where I was going this winter. As a long snapper, we’ll fall behind the kickers even, so a lot of guys don’t commit or figure out where they’re going to go until the middle of the winter, even some guys early spring. I was really shocked this happened this fast, this quick.”
Source: The Daily Chronicle