Prep QB star commits to Leathernecks

Garrick Hodge assistant sports editor

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The “new Matt Barr” could be calling signals for the Western Illinois football team this fall.

Hayden Northern, a highly regarded prep quarterback from Indiana, has verbally committed to playing football at Western Illinois.

The 6-foot-4, 200-pound high school senior passed for 3,778 yards during his final two seasons for Martinsville (Ind.) High School, completing 294 of 457 passes (64.3 percent) with 33 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Northern also started at quarterback for the Artesians his freshman and sophomore years. All told, Northern passed for 6,925 yards and 66 touchdowns for the class 5A team.

According to ESPN, Northern is considered a “two-star” recruit, and grades out at 71 out of 100. Northern was an all-conference selection his last three seasons and an all-state honorable mention pick in 2010 and 2011.

The Leathernecks finished last in the Missouri Valley Football Conference last fall with a 2-9 record, and also finished last in scoring offense, averaging just 15.3 points per game.

Three different quarterbacks started at least one game last season for Western: Wil Lunt, Josh Hudson and Cody Reardon. All three quarterbacks will be seniors this fall.

Lunt , who completed 19 of 38 passes for 178 yards with no touchdowns and 1 interception last season, started the season opener but injured his ankle against Youngstown State on Oct. 29, sidelining him for the season.

Hudson started nine of the Leathernecks’ 11 games, completing 119 of 207 passes for 1,528 yards to go with 12 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions.

Reardon started the Leathernecks’ final game of the year against FCS champion North Dakota State, completing 15 of 31 passes for 156 yards while tossing 2 touchdown passes and 2 interceptions.

In his senior season at Martinsville, Northern completed 145 of 216 passes for 1,703 yards, 17 touchdown passes and 6 interceptions for Martinsville, which finished 6-5. Northern also rushed for 5 touchdowns

Northern has not yet signed his national letter of intent, and the Western athletic department cannot officially comment on any signings until National Signing Day, Feb. 1

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