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Football: Chad Beebe commits to Northern Illinois

AurorChristian wide receiver Chad Beebe made verbal commitment Northern Illinois University over weekend. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media

Aurora Christian wide receiver Chad Beebe made a verbal commitment to Northern Illinois University over the weekend. | Donnell Collins~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: July 13, 2012 6:23AM

Chad Beebe’s connection with the Northern Illinois football program started early, but current coach Dave Doeren sealed the deal for the Aurora Christian standout.

The senior wideout made a verbal commitment to the Huskies last weekend. Their scholarship offer was one of eight he had received since April.

“Definitely, the coaching staff stood out to me,” said Beebe, son of ACS coach and former NFL star Don Beebe. “They know what they’re doing, as evidenced by their winning the Mid-American Conference title and ( bowl game last year. They’re very classy guys.”

Chad Beebe caught 38 passes for 655 yards and eight touchdowns despite missing the first six weeks of his junior season with a broken collarbone. He re-injured it during the Eagles’ playoff run and was used as a decoy in the state championship game.

His other finalists were Ball State and Illinois State “because they run offenses that are a great fit for him and all three felt he could contribute right away,” said his father, noting offers had also come from Wyoming, Bowling Green, Western Illinois, North Dakota and Colgate.

“To get offers early like that tells you you’re their No. 1 guy at the position (slot receiver),” said Don Beebe, who also took his son on visits to Northwestern and Purdue. “He knew right away Northwestern wasn’t going to be a factor, but he liked Purdue and they told us if he was to come to their one-day summer camp (for juniors) he was very likely to be an ‘offer guy.’”

Chad, though, had good memories of NIU.

“I was there for like three or four days for a camp when I was in junior high and I just loved it,” he said.

“When he went to a camp there as a kid, P.J. Fleck was the wideout coach,” Don Beebe remembered. “That’s where it initially started. Then, he also went to a one-day camp at NIU as a sophomore.”

Fleck, like Don Beebe, is a Kaneland grad.

“I could have waited longer but just to say I got an offer from a Big Ten school, I didn’t think was worth it,” Chad Beebe said. “I knew NIU was a great school, the coaches are great and it was a great fit for me.”

The younger Beebe was also slowed by injury (foot) during his sophomore season but still managed to catch 53 passes for 840 yards and nine TDs. And when he returned to full strength this winter, father and son began concentrated workouts six days a week.

“He’s my kid and I end up training everybody else’s kid, except for when he was real young, like from 8 to 12,” Don said. “Once he got to middle and high school he was so busy with different activities it was tough to find the time.”

Chad noted that he had “grown up” with his dad’s House of Speed business that started when he was about 5.

“I sat him down after last season and told him, ‘If you want to play college ball you need to put an emphasis on your strength, speed and route running,’” Don Beebe said.

Chad, who was listed at a not-so-correct 165 pounds on last year’s ACS roster, actually played at 140-145. Since, he’s grown an inch to 5-foot-9, added 18 pounds of muscle to a legit 163, and cut his 40-yard dash time by .3 of a second (to 4.64).

He’s always had good hands and been a solid route runner, but has improved in the latter even more, said his father.

“Getting better in route running, definitely repetition comes into play,” Chad Beebe said. “You just have to make it like second nature.”

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