Spack Adds Three FBS Transfers To 2011 Roster

Jan. 11, 2011

NORMAL, Ill. -Illinois State head football coach Brock Spack announced the addition of three Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) transfers Tuesday, with the addition of wide receiver Bryant Allen (Maplewood, Mo./Minnesota), linebacker Evan Frierson (Washington, D.C./Illinois) and defensive end Nate Palmer (Chicago, Ill./Illinois). All three signed their financial aid agreements and will have two years of eligibility remaining with the Redbirds starting in 2011.

"We wanted to bring some players into the program that could provide an immediate impact on the field as well as add some depth at key positions," Spack said. "Our goal was to find some help, especially on defense with the loss of four starters, and I think we did that with this group of players. When you factor in the addition of defensive tackle Tim Dawson, who transferred from Iowa Central Community College, we have added three athletic players on defense that should be able to contribute immediately to the program."

Allen is the only new offensive addition amongst the group and will add to an experienced receiving corps and help in the return game as well. The Maplewood, Mo., native spent the last two seasons at Minnesota and caught 16 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown as a sophomore in 2010. The 6-foot, 180-pound speedster also played basketball as a freshman for the Gophers and will begin practicing with the Illinois State men's basketball team this week. He will be immediately eligible to play football for the Redbirds, but will not be able to see action on the court until December of 2011 following the completion of the fall semester.

"Bryant was someone I had my eye on when I first took over the program," Spack said. "He's a real dynamic athlete and a potential next-level kick and punt returner. He possesses the kind of speed we look for in our receivers and I think he will be a great addition to the passing game along with helping out in the return game. He's also going to play basketball at ISU and I think he's going to be able to help both programs in the future."

Frierson joins the Redbirds after playing two seasons at linebacker for the Illini. A 6-foot-2, 230-pound linebacker, Frierson brings a physical presence to the second level of defense for ISU and 21 games of collegiate playing experience as well. The Washington, D.C., native played in nine games for Illinois in 2010 and recorded six tackles after he played in all 12 games in 2009 and registered 19 tackles and two tackles-for-loss.

"Evan is a big, physical player who can run as well and is the type of linebacker you would expect to play in the Big Ten," Spack said. "He will bring some toughness and experience to the position and will add some nice depth along with our returning players. I look forward to working with Evan and seeing how he adapts to our system of play and the physicality of the league."

Palmer, who played linebacker at Illinois, will move to the defensive line and provide some speed and quickness on the outside at defense end for the Redbirds. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound lineman from Chicago and Simeon High School played in nine games for Illinois in 2010 and recorded six tackles on the season. As a redshirt freshman in 2009, Palmer earned Academic All-Big Ten honors and played in all 12 games on special teams for the Illini.

"Nate played linebacker at Illinois, but expressed an interest in being a defensive end and rushing the passer," Spack said. "We wanted to add a skilled defensive end during the offseason and Nate has all the attributes to help us in that role. His combination of size, strength and athleticism made our decision to bring him in very easy and we are glad to have him in the fold."

Spack and his staff will expand their roster again on Feb. 2, on national signing day.


Bryant Allen | WR/PR | 6-0 | 180 | Jr.-TR | Maplewood, Mo. (Maplewood-Richmond Heights HS/Minnesota)

2010: Played in nine games, with three starts at wide receiver ... finished the season with 16 catches for 202 yards and a touchdown ... averaged 12.2 yards per catch ... caught a season-high four passes for 46 yards against Purdue, which included an 11-yard touchdown catch ... hauled in three passes for 37 yards against Northern Illinois ... recorded two grabs for 73 yards against Wisconsin, which included a season-long catch of 60 yards ... also returned four punts for an average of 12.2 yards per return on the season ... had a long return of 30 yards against Penn State.

Appeared in the final 12 games, with one start, after not participating in the season-opener ... returned six punts for an average of 12.2 yards per return ... returned three kickoffs with a 15.0 yard average ... caught five passes for a total of 45 yards ... recorded one of the Gophers' best punt returns of the season, with a 22-yard burst against Northwestern, but bettered it with a career best 31-yarder in the regular season finale against Iowa ... also played as a walk-on on Tubby Smith's Gopher basketball team in 2009-10 and saw action in nine basketball games last season, where he scored seven points, grabbed two rebounds and was credited with one assist.

Maplewood-Richmond Heights HS: Rated as the No. 52 athlete in the nation by Rivals and the No. 99 wide receiver in the country by ... earned three-star rankings from both Scout and Rivals ... holds career record for total touchdowns with 62 ... first 1,000-yard wide receiver in MRHS history ... two-time first-team all-state performer ... named first-team all-metro in 2008 and second-team all-metro in 2007 ... four-time first-team all-conference selection ... tallied 1,005 yards and 11 receiving touchdowns as a senior ... rushed for 343 yards on 54 carries with 10 more scores ... caught 30 passes for 609 yards and 10 TDs, while rushing for 672 yards and 10 scores as a junior ... also played defense, where he tallied 44 tackles and three interceptions ... also a standout on the basketball court, as he led the Blue Devils to a 2008 state basketball championship ... scored 25 points in that state title game, including the game-winning layup with four seconds left after his team trailed by 19 points earlier in the contest ... also won a state track championship in the 300-meter hurdles in 2006 ... coached by David Harris.

Personal: Born 6/3/90 ... son of Sherry Robinson and LaMont Johnson ... plans to major in journalism ... one of five siblings.

Evan Frierson | LB | 6-2 | 230 | Jr.-TR | Washington, D.C. (H.D. Woodson HS/Illinois)

2010: Played in nine games for the Illini ... recorded six tackles on the season ... posted two tackles in a win over Indiana ... also added a pair of stops the following week in a win over Purdue.

2009: Played in all 12 games, starting five ... earned third-team all-freshman honors at linebacker from Phil Steele Magazine ... finished the season with 19 tackles, 12 of which were solo stops, and added two tackles-for-loss ... also recovered two fumbles and broke up a pass ... ranked eighth in the Big Ten with 0.17 fumbles recovered per game ... had three tackles at Purdue ... had four tackles and his second fumble recovery of the season against Penn State ... registered a career-best five tackles in his first collegiate start against Ohio State and also had a tackle for loss and recovered a fumble against the Buckeyes ... logged one tackle against Illinois State.

2008: Redshirted.

H.D. Woodson HS: As a senior, recorded 79 tackles, eight sacks, three interceptions and three forced fumbles ... posted 78 tackles, 11 sacks and three fumble recoveries as a junior ... rated among the top-50 strongside linebackers nationally according to ... high school coach was Gregory Fuller.

Personal: Born 5/24/90 ... full name is Evan Hardy Frierson.

Nate Palmer | DE | 6-3 | 220 | Jr.-TR | Chicago, Ill. (Simeon HS/Illinois)

2010: Played in nine games for the Illini ... recorded six tackles on the season ... tallied a pair of stops in the win over Indiana ... added one tackle in back-to-back games against No. 6 Ohio State and at Penn State ... registered a solo stop in consecutive contests against Northwestern and at Fresno State.

2009: Earned Academic All-Big Ten honors ... played in all 12 games on special teams ... recorded two tackles at Ohio State ... had one tackle at Cincinnati.

2008: Redshirted.

Simeon HS: Named to the 2007 Chicago Sun Times All-Public League Team ... PrepStar Magazine All-American ... SuperPrep All-American ... rated among the top-20 players in the state of Illinois by ... listed as the No. 39 strongside linebacker by ... ranked No. 55 among outside linebackers according to Rivals ... named to the Champaign News-Gazette Special Mention All-State team ... recorded 128 tackles and 18 tackles as a senior, while catching 10 passes for 250 yards and a touchdown on offense ... named to the Midwest Hot 100 list by ... posted 30 tackles and seven sacks as a junior while playing in only four games due to injury ... high school coach was Jesse Chick.

Personal: Born 9/ 23/89 ... son of Rhonda Carr and Nathan Palmer.


Special Thanks
The Illinois State Athletics Media Relations Office would like to the athletics media relations staffs from Minnesota and Illinois for supplying pictures of the student athletes, biographical information and statistics.