Football: Aurora Christian DB Brandon Mayes commits to Northern IllinoisAurora Christian's Brandon Mayes stiff arms his way to a long gain against Unity in Aurora on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 18, 2012 10:30AM
The Aurora Christian connection has struck for the second time in less than a week for the Northern Illinois University football program.
Free safety Brandon Mayes verbally committed to the Huskies Friday and will join teammate Chad Beebe at the school in DeKalb. Beebe, a wide receiver, committed six days earlier.
“I think Chad may be happier than Brandon,” Aurora Christian coach Don Beebe said. “They’ve been workout partners for the past few months and now they can be roommates.
“Brandon has worked really hard. Last year he ran a 4.84-second 40 and he’s cut it to 4.60, plus he’s a really strong kid. He’s just under 5-11 and 179 pounds, but he bench presses 300 pounds. He has all the intangibles of being a good D-1 defensive back.”
Mayes said he met with NIU coach Dave Doeren in his office after a workout and got the offer. The youngster told the coach about similar workouts he had scheduled and told him he would have to let him know his answer in a week and a half.
“I was gonna have to get up at 3 o’clock (Saturday) morning to go to Des Moines for a workout at Drake,” said Mayes, who walked down the second floor hall from Doeren’s office in the Yordon Center and went downstairs to tell his parents, who had accompanied him to DeKalb, of the offer.
“I thought, ‘What am I doing?’ but we had already paid for the Drake camp and I told my dad if it wasn’t for that, I would have committed (to NIU) right away,” Mayes continued. “He said if I was sure that’s what I wanted to go ahead (and commit), we would save the money in gas.”
Mayes, who also plays running back for Beebe’s Eagles, bounded back up the stairs and back to Doeren’s office to tell the pleased coach, “I want to be a Huskie.”
Mayes was a Beacon-News All-Area selection at DB last fall after recording 101 tackles (61 solo) with seven interceptions and seven pass breakups.
He likes the fact the NIU football program was cited by the NCAA last week for the second year in a row for having a top 10 APR (Academic Progress Rate).
“When I first got into the recruiting process I thought of Northern as a possibility because it was close and because of how good they are,” Mayes said. “It’s a good school and being 25 minutes from home, it’s close, but not too close. And, my parents and brothers will be able to see me play plus it has a 90 percent graduation rate.”
Mayes said his late uncle, Steven Johnson, also played at Northern in 1995-96.