Signing Day: NIU's Carey signs first class

Northern Illinois may not see its Orange Bowl appearance pay large dividends in its 2013 recruiting class.

With only 13 players expected to sign on Wednesday, Huskies first-year coach Rod Carey may have to wait until 2014 to see more recruits headed his way. They will also have an indoor practice facility to show off to recruits beginning in the fall.

“I think they set themselves up nicely,” ESPN Midwest recruiting coordinator Jared Shanker said. “They’re in the news with the Orange Bowl appearance. They’ve had their best two-year run in school history. If you’re going to see improvements in Northern Illinois' recruiting, I think you’ll see that in the 2014 class.”

Top recruit: Milton (Ga.) wide receiver Malik Mitchell is the most highly-rated recruit for the Huskies. He has a three-star rating and a scout grade of 70. He chose Northern Illinois over MAC foes Toledo and Western Michigan.

“He’s a nice get for Northern Illinois,” Shanker said.

Aurora Christian trio: Northern Illinois has three Aurora Christian (Ill.) teammates in its 2013 class. Wide receiver Chad Beebe, running back Joel Bouagnon and safety Brandon Mayes led Aurora Christian to its second consecutive Class 3A state title in November. Beebe is the son of former NFL wide receiver Don Beebe.

Illinois state champs: The Huskies recruited a number of players from Illinois state championship programs. Aside from the Aurora Christian trio, Mount Carmel athlete Draco Smith won a Class 8A state title as a senior, and Prairie Ridge outside linebacker Sean Folliard won a Class 6A title as a junior.