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Football: Frank Boenzi dismissed from NIU following team rules violation

Updated: August 9, 2012 9:33AM

Late last week Northern Illinois defensive lineman Frank Boenzi posted a mysterious status on his Facebook page, saying he was transferring to Garden City (Kans.) Community College with no further explanation.

On Thursday, some clarification came. NIU officials confirmed the sophomore from Geneva had been dismissed from the team, and the DeKalb Daily Chronicle reported the 6-foot-3, 310-pounder is facing two misdemeanor drug charges.

A statement from coach Dave Doeren released by the school said: “Frank Boenzi is no longer a member of the Northern Illinois football team due to a violation of team policy. There are certain expectations and standards of conduct that we set for student-athletes in our program, and unfortunately, Frank did not meet those expectations. We wish him the very best in the future.”

The DeKalb newspaper reported Boenzi has a plea hearing set for 9 a.m. on July 20 and is facing Class A misdemeanor charges for possession of 10-30 grams of marijuana and attempting to manufacture or distribute 10-30 grams of marijuana.

A former Beacon-News Player of the Year, Boenzi played in 12 of the Huskies’ 14 games last season as a reserve in the team’s defensive line rotation. He finished with 12 tackles, including three for nine yards in losses.

Boenzi drew recruiting interest from several BCS conference programs while in high school but they eventually shied away due to concerns about his academic status, which he attributed to poor performance early in high school. Northern coach Jerry Kill didn’t waver and Boenzi verbally committed to the school in December of his senior year. He redshirted in the fall of 2010, but earned defensive work team Player of the Year after going against the first string offense every day in practice. He also did well in the classroom.

“The first semester I got a 3.0,” he said after taking part in spring practices in 2011. “It was good to get out there and play. Just practicing all year, knowing you can’t play, it was hard, probably the hardest thing I’ve had to do.”

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