Tuesday Commentary: Kill’s recruiting is becoming NIU’s new tradition

By Chris Dertz

Some football programs have customs, and others have traditions.

Normally, these have little to do with the game of football itself. Ohio State’s band has someone dot the “i” in “Ohio.” Notre Dame goes to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart the morning of game day.

If there is anything at NIU that could be considered a tradition, it is the program’s dedication to a strong running game and defense.

According to wissports.net, NIU head coach Jerry Kill has bolstered the future of an already strong defensive line with the verbal commitment of Cameron Clinton-Earl. The website lists as their No. 5 defensive lineman prospect, and No. 19 overall from the state of Wisconsin for the class of 2011.

Listed at 6’2″ and 242 pounds, Earl is an athlete in every way, and a quick YouTube search of his name yields a highlight clip where his skills are put on display. Explosive, strong and very quick to the ball, Earl is a player that, with good coaching, could have the potential and tools to become a very good player.

It’s a commitment that should make NIU fans happy, not only because of Earl’s talent. It also shows that Kill knows to stick to his guns and make sure his team stays good at what it does.

NIU’s defensive line is already one of its strongest points. Getting an early commitment from an athlete of Earl’s caliber does more to show that Kill is committed to anchoring down NIU’s strengths for the future.

It’s even more evident that Kill knows what his team does well when looking at the tailback position for the upcoming season, with three extremely viable options running behind Chad Spann.

The Huskies’ defense ranked 30th in the nation in both total defense and scoring defense last season. Much of that was due to NIU hanging onto the ball for so long on offense (with the nation’s 19th ranked rushing attack). But don’t discredit the Huskie defense because of that: they are still the ones going out and making those stops.

Everyone knew that the defense would be one of NIU’s strongest assets this season. Earl’s commitment simply shows that Kill knows that it needs to continue to be a strong asset in the future.