DeKalb, who is about an hour outside of the Chicago metropolitan area, doesn't get the same kind of attention that many of the teams in the Chicago area receive. But similar to Ottawa running back and former Illinois commit Miguel Hermosillo last year, one athlete on their team is hoping to really put DeKalb on the map this year.
Dre Brown, a 5'11", 195 pound running back who has played significant varsity minutes his entire career, now is the primary bearer of the rock for the Barbs. After splitting carries last year, he figures to have the ball in his hands much more this year, and that's good news for DeKalb, who welcomes in a new coach this year.
Coming off of a 2-7 season, a disappointment in the eyes of Brown, he is looking to lead the charge to turning the ship around and making the playoffs. One thing that will be interesting to see is not how much Brown is on the field, but rather how little he leaves the field.
This spring, Brown spent significant time working on his defensive back skills in 7-on-7 competitions, primarily at safety. As the best athlete on his team, it's no surprise that he's expected to be a major contributor on both sides of the ball, and is probably going to figure in heavily to special teams, too.
Much of the Barbs' season this year will rest upon the legs of Brown, but make no mistake, it will take a team effort to turn things around.
Looking at the schedule, let's see how they stack up against their opponents:
The Tough One: 10/4 v. Maple Park (Kaneland)
Kaneland, who went 10-1 last season, including a 9-0 regular season mark and a top seed, got bounced in the second round of the playoffs, but they are consistently a playoff contender and are a tough test for any team. This one won't be easy for DeKalb, but a win here would be a signature one for sure.
Under the Bright Lights: 9/13 v. Sycamore:
Another team that consistently brings a good team to the table every year, this matchup should be a battle. Throw in the fact that it will be played at NIU's Huskie Stadium, and this one personifies the Friday Night Lights on a much bigger stage.
Other Games of Note:
10/11 v. Morris
9/20 v. Ottawa