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updated: 2/6/2013 10:34 PM

Aurora Christian trio staying together at NIU

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  • Chad Beebe is one of three Aurora Christian football players going to Northern Illinois.

    Chad Beebe is one of three Aurora Christian football players going to Northern Illinois.
    Alex T. Paschal/


It's not terribly often one school produces three Division I football players out of the same senior class.

Aurora Christian coach Don Beebe was pondering that occurrence just the day before Eagles players Brandon Mayes, Joel Bouagnon and Beebe's son, Chad, sat down Wednesday afternoon in the school auditorium to each sign their own National Letter of Intent.

Don Beebe took the rarity one step further.

"I don't know if it's ever been done that they've all gone to the same school, either," he said.

There's a first for everything for this two-time defending Class 3A state champion, so on Wednesday Northern Illinois University coach Rod Carey officially enlisted each of the Eagles' services on National Signing Day.

"I do think it's kind of unique. I don't really hear about that anywhere. Being part of that is great," said receiver Chad Beebe, a crack route runner with superb hands who set Aurora Christian records for receiving yards in a career as well as receptions in a game, season and career.

He gave his verbal commitment to Northern on June 6, selecting the Huskies from among eight scholarship offers. Running back-linebacker/safety Mayes followed suit June 15 and Bouagnon, another All-Area running back-linebacker who transferred to Aurora Christian after an all-state 2011 season at Burlington Central, committed in mid-July.

"It's great to see them reap the benefits of all their hard work," Don Beebe said.

Of his son, the coach said: "The best thing for him is he's 25 minutes from home and he's got two of his best buddies going with him."

Not just going with, but living in the same dorm. Chad Beebe, Mayes and Bouagnon will be staying in the same athletic "pod," newly opened this academic year, with three other football players and six other NIU student-athletes. Each athlete gets his own room, and the group will share a common area that includes, of course, a common TV.

The concept of built-in familiarity with college teammates is not lost on the elder Beebe.

"When I first went to Western Illinois I didn't know anybody," he said. "It takes a while to acclimate to the guys. That first six months to a year is tough."

"I think it'll make it a better experience, for me at least," Chad Beebe said. "I like to have friends -- obviously, who doesn't. Being able to go with two of my friends already it's going to be a lot easier getting into the swing of things, going to school, because obviously we've got to take summer classes. And football, too."

He said he'll start both classes and summer football conditioning on June 17.

By then Don Beebe will be trying to develop his next platoon of Division 1 commits.

"Now (the program) is to the point where we try to put out one every year," he said. "Or a couple."

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