NIU counting on Marian Central's Taylor

Here’s an in-depth look at Northern Illinois’ 2012 football recruiting class:

Top prospect - Marian Central offensive guard Scott Taylor received the highest ESPN recruiting grade (79) of Northern Illinois’ recruits. Taylor is 6-foot-3 and 270 pounds and has been described as “having a toughness about him” and being “well coached.” Northern Illinois’ offense was stellar this past season largely because of its offensive line. Taylor should be a key piece to the line in years to come.

Building the line - Northern Illinois also appears to have another key offensive line piece in Levon Myers, who is 6-5 and 260 pounds. Myers, an offensive tackle, received a late offer from Wisconsin, but he decided to stick with Northern Illinois.

Sleeper prospect - Amundsen’s Desroy Maxwell has only played organized football for four years. Originally from Jamaica, he picked up the sport in high school and added three inches and 50 pounds during his four years at the Chicago-based school. He played wide receiver, linebacker and kicker for his high school team. He could be a special player down the road.

Defensive star - Northern Illinois has high hopes for Neuqua Valley defensive end Michael Ippolito. He drew rave reviews over the summer and had a strong high school season in Illinois.

Home-grown talent - Eleven of Northern Illinois’ 18 recruits come from Illinois. Comparably, both Northwestern and Illinois have four in-state recruits.

Future quarterbacks - Northern Illinois feels good about both of the quarterback recruits it has coming in. Drew Hare is 6-2 and 190 pounds from Missouri. Matt Williams is 6-2 and 190 pounds from Illinois. Both could have a shot along with freshman Matt McIntosh at the starting position after Jordan Lynch graduates.

Late steal - O’Fallon linebacker Mike Cotton decommitted from Indiana and recently committed to Northern Illinois. Cotton, who is 6-4 and 220 pounds, has good size and tackling ability. He had a team-high 79 tackles, five sacks and a fumble recovery this past season. He could be a big-time player for the Huskies.

Running back tradition - Northern Illinois has produced its share of quality running backs, including Garrett Wolfe, Michael Turner and Chad Spann. The Huskies are hopeful Romeoville’s Perez Ford could be another star in the making. Ford has size and speed. He’s 6-2 and 225 pounds, and he’s run the 100-yard dash in 10.5 seconds.

Scouts take - ESPN Midwest recruiting analyst Jared Shanker said, “The MAC champion Huskies are doing well on the recruiting front in coach Dave Doeren’s first full recruiting class. Doeren was able to get a steal in three-star guard Scott Taylor, ranked No. 28 in the country at his position and No. 9 in Illinois. Taylor received interest from BCS schools and had an offer from Cincinnati. The biggest surprise is the Huskies found a way to hold on to Levon Myers, a Wisconsin native who received a late offer from the in-state Badgers.