DeKALB – Cameron Stingily says he still is learning the running back position.
The Northern Illlinois junior has come a long way from last season, when he really only got mental reps in fall camp and received only one carry during the regular season. It was his first year at running back after spending his first 2 years in DeKalb at linebacker.
With Akeem Daniels, a senior who led all Huskies running backs with 447 yards last season, out with an injury, Stingily is taking advantage of the extra reps each day.
Stingily, who played running back at Romeoville High School and averaged nearly 7 yards a carry his senior year, received the majority of the first-team carries during the Huskies’ scrimmage Saturday night.
Stingily broke off some nice runs, had a short-yardage touchdown and even got an ovation from the crowd on a scamper in which he broke a few tackles.
He might still be getting used to the transition, but Stingily looks like a player who could see significant carries for NIU this season. NIU coach Rod Carey has mentioned how Stingily had a good spring. He looks to have carried it over into fall camp.
It doesn’t hurt that Stingily is taking advice from Daniels – his roommate.
“After practice, if I have any questions going over the playbook, I’ll ask him,” Stingily said. “He’ll answer the questions, he’ll show me the signals and everything. Show me where the big play will hit, situations, that type of stuff.”
Carey said he saw a lot of positives Saturday, but added there’s a lot to clean up, something you would expect from any program’s first extended scrimmage of preseason practice.
Offensively, junior wideout Tommylee Lewis had a long touchdown grab and caught a few more passes, as well. Da’Ron Brown had an over-the-shoulder touchdown grab from quarterback Jordan Lynch, and drew a pass interference call in the end zone, as well. Keith Harris Jr. shared the first-team reps at running back with Stingily.
Listed at 6-foot-1, 244 pounds on last year’s roster, Stingily has the build of a short-yardage back. He said he dropped 20 pounds in the offseason to prove to the coaching staff that he’s more than that, and NIU has used him in the passing game during camp.
“I think you saw it tonight; I think he caught one or two balls tonight,” Carey said. “Listen, if you’re going to play running back at NIU, you’ve got to be able to run the ball, you’ve got to be able to protect and catch the ball. He’s doing that.”