It was quite an eventful day on the portal front for the Northern Ilinois football program. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a positive series of events. At all.
On their personal Twiter accounts, a pair of Northern Illinois football players, tight end Mitchell Brinkman (pictured) and defensive tackle Jack Heflin, announced they have entered the NCAA transfer database. Both players posted copies of the letters they received from the NCAA confirming their respective portal entries.
My recruitment is now open. pic.twitter.com/IxnXcjWgTs
— Mitchell Brinkman (@mbrinkman89) May 11, 2020
My recruitment is now open. pic.twitter.com/sew3ArEhNp
— Jack Heflin (@jack_a_sac_51) May 11, 2020
Additionally, it was confirmed by the Northern Illinois football program that offensive lineman Christopher Perez is in the portal as well.
“With the current rules in place in regard to transfers and graduate transfers,” Thomas Hammock, one of a handful of FBS coaches to take a pay cut amidst the coronavirus pandemic, said in a statement, “we acknowledge it, we respect it and we have a plan moving forward of how we are going to best manage the evolving changes in college football.”
Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.
As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.
NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.
That said, all three of the portal movers were starters for the Huskies.
In leading NIU in tackles for loss with 8½, sacks with three and forced fumbles with three, Heflin started all 11 games in which he played in 2019. MAC coaches named him second-team all-conference this past season. All told, Heflin started 28 of the 38 games in which he played.
Last season, Brinkman was second on the team in receiving yards with 445, second in receiving touchdowns with three and third in receptions with 34. Brinkman was a 10-game starter in 2019 after making a combined four starts entering the campaign.
Since coming to Northern Illinois football from a Kansas junior college in 2018, Perez started 21 of the 22 games in which he played. 11 of those starts came at left guard in 2018, 1o at center in 2019.
Northern Illinois went 5-7 in the first season under Hammock, who replaced Rod Carey after Carey left to take the head job at Temple. That 2019 season was the program’s worst record-wise since posting that same mark in 2016.