Our summer tour of FBS schools looks at the specialists for the Northern Illinois Huskies.
Kicker: Mathew Sims, senior (Hannibal, MO / Hannibal HS)
Sims was named to the 2013 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award preseason Watch List. He set the NIU records for most field goal attempts (67) and converted (66) in 2012. He was 15-of-19 in field goal attempts last year, including a three-for-three performance in the Mid-American Conference Championship game. he helped the Huskies to a 44-37 double-overtime win over Kent State, connecting on a 40-yard boot in the first overtime. Sims helped NIU to its first MAC title in 28 years when he hit a 33-yard field goal as time expired to give the Huskies a 23-20 victory over Ohio, 23-20, in the 2011 MAC Championship game. He kicked a school record 54-yard field goal at Western Michigan and scored a touchdown on a fake field goal against Central Michigan.
Spring Game: made five extra pointsKicker: Isaac Grashoff, freshman (Plainfield, IL / Joliet Catholioc HS)
Kicker/punter: Josh Brebant, freshman (Akron, OH / Copley HS)
High school: First-team all-state honoree in 2012. Connected on six of 10 field goals and made 25-of-27 extra points. Averaged 43.1 yards on 28 punts.Punter/kicker: Tyler Wedel, junior (McFarland, WI / McFarland HS)
Spring Game: hit field goals of 22 & 34 yards, made three extra points
Has handled kickoffs the past two seasons. Last year he averaged 59.0 yards on 96 kickoffs with 32 touchbacks. This year he will take over the punting duties following the graduation of Ryan Nier.
"He’s served as NIU’s backup to Neir the past two seasons, but Wedel estimates he gets 10 to 15 more minutes of punting reps in practice now that he’s working with the first team. Wedel’s punting has seen progression, as you would expect from anyone in their junior year. NIU head coach Rod Carey said the attention to detail has heightened with the added reps. 'He’s three years out of high school right now,' Carey said. 'It’s a deal where he’s gotten a lot better.' Wedel, one of four Huskie true freshmen to letter two years ago, said that with the added reps he’s been getting since the spring, it’s about consistency and getting his steps and drops right. 'I’ve been more consistent. My big [kicks] are probably the same,' Wedel said. 'I’ve probably gained another close to five yards but my [hangtime] is what’s been the big difference vs. the past few years'.”Punter: Mark Strbjak, freshman (Munster, IN / Munster HS)
High school: Earned first team all-state honors from the Associated Press and Indiana Football Coaches Association after his senior season. Named Indiana's Mr. Football among punters in 2011. Led the state in punting average with 41.3 yards, breaking Munster's school record that stood for 35 years, as a senior.Long snapper: Brian Mayer, junior (Orland Park, IL / Carl Sandburg HS)
Returning starter who has handled the snapping on placekicks and punts the past two seasons.Long snapper: Bobby Ramlet, freshman (Appleton, WI / Xavier HS)
High school: Earned second team all-conference honors following his senior season, while playing tight end, linebacker and long snapper. Caught four passes for 49 yards and one touchdown as a senior. Forced five fumbles, recovered three fumbles, broke up four passes and grabbed two interceptions in 2011 for the Hawks.