Football: Blake Holder commits to Northern Illinois
By Erik Jacobsen email@example.com June 21, 2012 5:00PM
Streamwood's Blake Holder breaks a tackle during a game last season. Holder returns this fall for a Sabres squad hoping to build off last year's success. | John Konstantaras~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 23, 2012 9:54AM
Blake Holder’s combination of size and speed made him a hot commodity among college football coaches in recent months.
Scholarship offers from a number of Division I schools came Holder’s way after he wrapped up his junior season at Streamwood last fall, and the 6-foot-2, 190-pound wide receiver cashed in on his considerable talents last Saturday when he verbally committed to Northern Illinois.
Holder received scholarship offers from over half of the schools in the Mid-American Conference, among others. Toledo was the other destination Holder most strongly considered before ultimately picking the Huskies.
“I just kind of weighed my options and thought Northern was a better fit for me,” Holder said. “They’re losing their two outside receivers coming up next year, so if I prove myself I’ll have a good chance to play my freshman year.”
Holder hauled in 25 catches for 599 yards and seven touchdowns last fall during his second varsity season. His ability to stretch the field on deep routes and make plays after the catch is reflected in his average of 24 yards per reception.
Holder also contributes at defensive back for the Sabres and starred on Streamwood’s track team, winning a sectional title in the 100-meter dash last month. He is currently nursing a hamstring injury sustained during the track season, but his summer plans include improving his game on the gridiron once he returns to full health.
“I’m looking to work on my shorter game like my underneath routes and my footwork,” Holder said. “I just want to work on those things to become the best receiver I can possibly be.”
Holder will join former Streamwood teammate Alex Morrow at Northern Illinois. Morrow, a standout running back, committed to the Huskies in February after his senior season.
As for the more immediate future, Holder returns this fall to a Sabres team looking to take another step forward after posting a 6-4 record in 2011 and reaching the state playoffs for the first time since 2002.