Northern Illinois’ Seventh-Year Senior Quarterback Has A Great Name, Even Better Hair

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Rocky Lombardi will be the starting quarterback for Northern Illinois again this fall. It will be his third season at the helm for the Huskies. It will be his seventh and final season of college football.

Lombardi announced his return with a wild new haircut last week. He pulled up to MAC media days rocking a mustache and blonde mullet that really takes things to the next level with shaved sides.

Lombardi, whose grandfather’s name just so happens to be Vince Lombardi, is not related to the Vince Lombardi. Rocky’s lineage does not trace back to the legendary Green Bay Packers coach.

His career has been quite the journey.

Lombardi was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan before his family later moved to Iowa. He played at Valley High School and committed to Michigan State over offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Virginia, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan as a three-star recruit in the Class of 2017.

Lombardi was not very good during his three seasons in East Lansing. His completion percentage hovered around 44% over the course of 157 pass attempts in 17 games and he threw two more interceptions than touchdowns.

That didn’t stop him from leading the Spartans to an upset win over the Wolverines in 2020.

Lombardi’s hair while at Michigan State was pretty normal. Serious Draco Malfoy vibes.

Rocky Lombardi
(Image courtesy: Michigan State athletics)

From there, Lombardi hit the portal and transferred to NIU in 2021 before being named the starter as a fifth-year redshirt junior. His hair was even more tame as he completed 58.3% of his passes for 2,597 yards and 15 touchdowns with eight interceptions that season.

Rocky Lombardi
Rocky Lombardi
(Image courtesy: Northern Illinois athletics)

2022 was set to be Lombardi’s final season but an injury cut his year short after just four games. A medical redshirt allowed him to return for one last run with a mullet and ‘stache.

Rocky Lombardi in 2023
(Image courtesy: Northern Illinois athletics)

Lombardi graduated from Michigan State before playing three years at Northern Illinois. Here is how the math adds up:

  1. 2017 — Michigan State — Redshirt year
  2. 2018 — Michigan State — Redshirt freshman
  3. 2019 — Michigan State — Redshirt sophomore
  4. 2020 — Michigan State — Redshirt junior, COVID year
  5. 2021 — Northern Illinois — Redshirt junior again
  6. 2022 — Northern Illinois — Redshirt senior, medical redshirt
  7. 2023 — Northern Illinois — Redshirt senior again

To put his age in perspective, Lombardi was in the same recruiting class as:

  • Tua Tagovailoa — entering his fourth season with the Dolphins
  • Jake Fromm — on his fourth team since being drafted in 2020
  • Sam Ehlinger — entering his third season with the Colts
  • Kellen Mond — on his second NFL team in three years

Even Hendon Hooker, who had a more unusual path to the NFL, turned pro before Lombardi.

Now, as a seventh-year senior, Lombardi is ready to finish things off with a bang. If not through his play, with his hair!

Written by Grayson Weir

Grayson doesn't drink coffee. He wakes up Jacked.

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