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RECRUITING TRAIL

FDSH’s Kershaw making the rounds

Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Tysen Kershaw of Fort Dodge breaks a tackle against Ames inside Dodger Stadium.

Tysen Kershaw finished among the top wide receivers in the state last fall as an underclassman.

Kershaw’s 71-reception, 1,206-yard, 12-touchdown season put him on the map of college coaches, and the Fort Dodge junior has been taking it all in during the offseason, making several visits to FBS and FCS programs.

Recently, Kershaw headed to DeKalb, Ill. and the campus of Northern Illinois University, a member of the Mid-American Conference under the direction of first-year head coach Thomas Hammock. The coaching staff put together by Hammock includes former Iowa State players Atif Austin and Houston Jones — former teammates of FDSH assistant coach and all-stater Nik Moser.

“We took a tour of their football facility and it was cool to see some new additions they were putting in and some stuff they had already put in,” Kershaw said. “I also had a meeting with my recruiting coordinator and my position coach.

“Because of the new coaching staff, they really let me know what they were looking for in their players and how important it is to not only keep up the winning tradition, but to excel as a person. It was cool to talk to Coach Austin and Coach Jones because they played with Coach Moser in college.”

Northern Illinois has won a dozen conference titles and 10 division crowns, including the MAC crown this past year with a 30-29 victory over Buffalo. They have played in a bowl game 10 of the past 11 years, including wins over Fresno State and Arkansas State in 2010 and ’11.

Kershaw, who has also visited Iowa, Northern Iowa and South Dakota, enjoyed another chance to see a different environment of the college football world with the Huskies.

The all-stater and multi-sport athlete is planning trips to Iowa State, Kansas State, North Dakota, North Dakota State and Illinois State. He has already received offers from both UNI and USD.

“It was a cool experience getting out of the state and seeing an FBS program,” Kershaw said. “Other visits that I have been to the teams were either creating a new tradition or trying to keep an old one. NIU is different because, while they are a winning program, most of their coaching staff is new.”

The chance to take in the visit with other high-level players in his class was an eye-opening experience for Kershaw.

“It was a little bit surreal to me because those players are the best from where they came from,” he said. “For me to be in the same category as them is really cool.

“Getting junior day invites only adds to the fire. While I am very proud of how far I have come and that my hard work is paying off, I know that there is so much more work to be done and to get to where I want to be.”

Kershaw finished last year third in the state in receiving yards and tied for seventh in receptions. He had a 13-catch, 274-yard performance in a win over Ames and followed that up the next week with 15 receptions and 181 yards vs. Indianola. Three other times, Kershaw went over 100 yards.

He will enter his senior season with 100 career receptions, 1,539 yards and 16 touchdowns.

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