Ken Bishop slowly transitions from community college to D-I football

By Matt Hopkinson

Recently, the Northern Star sat down with junior defensive tackle Ken Bishop. Bishop is a transfer from Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Iowa, where he spent two seasons.

He talks with the Northern Star about why he decided to transfer to NIU, transitioning from community college to the D-I level and what it is like to play for defensive-minded coach Dave Doeren.

Northern Star: When you made your decision to come here, what was your biggest influence?

Ken Bishop: The recent success and my visits, just the environment, being comfortable with the players and coaches–that was a big factor.

NS: Your teammate from Ellsworth Community College Jhony Faustin is on the roster as well. Did that play a factor?

KB: Yeah, that played a big factor. At least I know someone I can lean on for advice and support, along with him and players I knew from back home like Jamaal Bass.

NS: From the transition of community college to here, what has been your biggest challenge?

KB: I think just little by little, I’ve been able to catch on to the pace of everything. That’s probably the biggest challenge, was the pace of everything. Not just football-wise but we have busy days, so that was probably the biggest transition.

NS: What about the differences in the area, coming from where you were in Iowa to out here in DeKalb. Is it similar?

KB: It’s a lot better, actually. Back in Iowa it was just cornfields everywhere. It’s good to have a bigger town, Chicago being just an hour away, that’s nice.

NS: With almost all the starters returning from last season, how do you feel you’ve been able to fit in with this group?

KB: I feel like I’ve been able to adapt pretty good. I feel like they’ve all accepted me. I was able to fit in my role and just be another piece to the puzzle. Another part of the ultimate team goal.

NS: Have you ever been a part of a team to accrue this much success?

KB: Probably my first year at junior college. We ended being ranked almost third in the nation, but nothing ever to this magnitude. We’re just happy we’ve been able to be so successful.

NS: Dave Doeren is a defensive-minded coach, what’s that like playing under him?

KB: That’s great because that’s a big focus every week. He spends a lot of time focusing on us as a defense, making sure we’re right. At the end of the day defense wins championships.

NS: Coming here as a junior college transfer, did you put any individual goals on yourself?

KB: I wanted to prove that I was more than just a junior college player, that I was able to play at a D-1 caliber level and perform. That was a personal pressure I put on myself just to perform to the best of my ability and show everyone that this is where I’m supposed to be.