english-larryLarry E. English Jr.

Former NFL Linebacker; Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board, The Larry English L.E.A.D. Foundation

B.G.S. Liberal Arts and Sciences, '08

After a storied football career at NIU, where he set school, conference, and national records, English was drafted 16th overall by the San Diego Chargers - the highest NFL draft pick in NIU history. Starting twice in his rookie season with the Chargers, he recorded 36 tackles, 26 of which were solo, and two sacks.

However, English wanted to lead off the field as well. In 2010, together with his mother, Susan English, he founded the Larry English L.E.A.D. (Leading Education to Athletes for their Dreams) Foundation. The foundation creates opportunities to broaden the mindsets of young athletes through advanced programming in educational, professional, and personal development. Through tutoring, workshops, mentoring, and health programs, the foundation seeks to empower young student-athletes by helping shape their educational and professional dreams.

Since one of the most fulfilling things English enjoys about being a professional athlete is making a difference in his community, he also leverages his celebrity to benefit the American Lung Association (ALA), in particular, to raise awareness of and treatment for asthma. In 2011, he hosted “An Evening of Champions” and served as the honorary chairman of the inaugural “Fight for Air Climb,” both benefitting the ALA.

English led the Huskies to berths in the Poinsettia Bowl and the Independence Bowl and is empowering generations of young athletes through his foundation. As a role model for many of his young fans, he defines what it means to truly lead.

In 2013, English received the Alumni Association’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award.

English played for six seasons in the NFL; five with the Chargers and one with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He played in 64 games over his career, recording 12 total sacks.