Six NIU Huskies earn All-MAC honors

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DeKALB, Ill. – Northern Illinois University senior offensive tackle Jordan Steckler was named to the 2019 All Mid-American Conference first team Wednesday, leading a group of six Huskies honored by the MAC as the league office released the 2019 All-MAC Football teams, as selected by MAC head coaches.

Four of the six Huskies selected to this year’s All-MAC squads were repeat selections with senior safety Mykelti Williams earning his second consecutive second team nod. Defensive tackle Jack Heflin also garnered second team honors after making the third team a year ago, while tailback Tre Harbison was named to the third team in 2019.  He was a second team All-MAC choice in 2018.  Steckler made the All-MAC third team in 2017.

Tight end Mitchell Brinkman and kicker John Richardson collected the first All-MAC honors of their Huskie careers as they were named to the third team for 2019.

Steckler’s selection to the first team marks the seventh straight season that a Huskie offensive lineman has been named first team All-MAC. The senior started 42 games during his NIU career and led the way as the Huskie offense featured a 1,000-yard rusher and a 2,000-yard passer. A native of Two Rivers, Wis. (Two Rivers HS), Steckler was also a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy and the Huskies’ nominee for the National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award.  

“Obviously Jordan Steckler is very deserving of first team all-conference honors,” Hammock said. “He went out and did everything the right way off the field, in the community and it showed in his play. He was consistent, he was physical, he was dominant, and he epitomizes what it means to be an offensive lineman at NIU.”

An Indianapolis native (Warren Central HS), Williams led NIU in tackles from his safety position with 88 tackles, including 50 solo. He posted double-digit stops in four games and recorded four of his 8.5 career tackles for loss as a senior.  Heflin, a junior from Prophetstown, Ill. (Erie-Prophetstown HS) made 31 tackles and led NIU in sacks and tackles from loss from his defensive tackle spot. 

“For Mykelti and Jack, their selection is a testament to the way they played and how consistent they were week in and week out,” Hammock said. “They gave us a chance to be a much better defense.  Heflin played tough at defensive tackle, he took on double teams, did the dirty work and held the point of attack. Mykelti was the quarterback of our defense, he’s a great leader who worked extremely hard day and day out.  He’s very deserving of being all-conference.”

Harbison (Shelby, N.C./Crest HS) recorded his second consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season with a team-leading 1,021 yards and eight touchdowns on 230 carries for a 4.4-yard average. Brinkman (Council Bluffs, Iowa/Lewis Central HS) caught 34 passes for 445 yards with three touchdowns, including a 100-yard receiving game at Ohio. In his redshirt freshman season, Richardson (Orland Park, Ill./Brother Rice HS) made 14-of-18 field goals and all 30 of his PAT tries to lead NIU in scoring. He made game-winning field goals in the final minute at Ohio and at Toledo.

“I’m extremely proud of the recognition that these players received,” Hammock said. “To be recognized by the coaches in this league as some of the best players in the MAC is an honor.  For the guys who are returning, I look forward to seeing them continue to improve, develop and help lead us into 2020 when we can see even more NIU names on this list.”

Pro Football Focus also released its 2019 All-MAC squad this week with nine Huskies listed on one of its three teams or as an honorable mention choice.  The PFF All-MAC team featured Heflin and defensive end Matt Lorbeck (Green Bay, Wis., Bay Port HS) on its first team, with Steckler and Brinkman both earning a second team selection. Defensive tackle Weston Kramer (Naperville, Ill./Marmion HS), linebacker Antonio Jones-Davis (Vero Beach, Fla./Vero Beach HS), Harbison and punter Matt Ference (St. Louis, Mo./Lafayette HS) were named to the PFF All-MAC third team, while Richardson garnered honorable mention recognition.  

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