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Four Illinois natives and four state champions highlight the addition of nine recruits to the 2010-11 signing class, NIU head coach Ryan Ludwig announced today.

?I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of this class to campus this fall,? Ludwig said. ?I like that we were able to build some depth, while addressing some immediate needs within our lineup.

?There is a great amount of potential in this group that can elevate the level of our room immediately. These guys are hungry to wrestle for Northern Illinois and I expect a couple of them to push for a starting spot right away.?

Derek Elmore of Loves Park, Ill., is one of four Illinois natives and highlights the group of nine recruits. A three-time state placer, Elmore posted an impressive 49-1 record en route to the state title at 119 while wrestling at Harlem High School as a senior. Projected to wrestle at 125 pounds, Elmore finished second in the state in 2009 and fifth in 2010. He earned the 2008 and 2009 Border Wars national championships and the 2009 and 2010 Dominate The Dells national championships.

Ranked No. 8 in the nation at 119 pounds, Elmore was a two-time Junior Freestyle National All-American. Also the 2009 Asics USA Folkstyle national champion, he was named as a ?USA Future Olympian? that year as well. A three-time Freestyle State Champion, he also was also a Greco State Champion.

Austin Pickering amassed a 171-33 record during his four-year career at Port Huron Northern High School. He holds the single season and career school records for wins, pins, takedowns and tournament wins. Pickering, who will wrestle at 197 pounds, posted back-to-back 50 win seasons, posting a 54-4 mark as a junior and a school record 56 wins versus three losses his senior season. A two-time team MVP and team captain, he was named All-Area Wrestler of the Year his senior season. Pickering, who also lettered in football and track, was a member of the National Honor Society.

A key member of three state championship teams at Columbia High School in Idaho, Adrian Dickinson, a two-time state champion won the 189 pound title as a senior and the 160 pound crown as a freshman and took second as a sophomore at 171. Dickson, a second-generation wrestler as his father Daniel wrestled for Boise State, was a two-sport athlete excelling in both wrestling and football. He was a team captain for both squads as a junior and senior and was named all-conference and all-state in both as a senior. He will wrestle at 184 pounds for the Huskies.

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