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When Alex Kube did not end up in an NFL training camp last year, he didn’t think playing football was in his future.
“I’ll be honest,” said Kube, a Cary-Grove graduate. “I thought I was done. I wasn’t going to play anymore.”
Kube spent months preparing for an opportunity, changing his body from that of a Northern Illinois linebacker to a safety, the position he played as a redshirt freshman at NIU.
But the NFL lockout and his position change slowed his development.
“Last year, I was pretty decent,” Kube said. “But I didn’t do enough to make [NFL scouts] want to hear my story.”
This spring, he is hoping his story has a different ending. Kube decided to continue his workouts over the past year for another shot at the NFL.
“I didn’t want to wake up 20 years from now and wish I would’ve done it,” Kube said. “I’ve thought about [playing pro football] since I was a little kid. I felt that if I didn’t do it again, I would’ve let a lot of people down.”
His March 8 performance at Northwestern University’s pro day event for scouts was anything but a letdown.
Kube, who is down 31 pounds from his playing weight of 238 as an NIU senior, was timed between 4.46 and 4.50 seconds in the 40-yard dash, according to his agent, David Lehtman. Kube also posted 16 bench press repetitions of 225 pounds. According to NFL.com, those two performances rank among the top half of the defensive backs who participated in last month’s draft combine in Indianapolis.
“The numbers don’t lie,” Lethman said. “He’s got great athleticism.”
When Kube’s broad jump of 9 feet, 3 inches at Northwestern was not satisfactory, he went to DeKalb the following day for NIU’s pro day to jump again. The next day, Kube jumped 10-2.
Lehtman said “three to four” teams have shown interest in Kube, who is considered a free agent and can sign with a team at any time.
“I deserve to get a shot,” Kube said. “I think it will probably be after the draft.”
Despite not having a coach for the past year, Kube has sharpened his skills through numerous drills and recent workouts with fellow NIU product Tracy Wilson, a safety for the New York Jets.
“He’s helped me out tremendously,” Kube said.
After playing three seasons at linebacker, Kube said his transition back to safety – a position at which he made 111 tackles and earned freshman All-America honors in 2007 – has been rewarding.
“I’m a safety,” Kube said.
The challenge for Kube is to convince NFL teams that his skills will make him a pro at the position.
“That’s the biggest hurdle,” he said.
While working toward his own goals over the past year, Kube has started a business to help youth football players, Elite 7 Inc.
Elite 7 is a football-specific training business based in Lake Barrington that focuses on teaching proper technique to players ranging from middle school to college. Kube works with numerous local high school athletes. His goal is to enhance what prep coaches teach.
“High school coaches have a lot on their plates,” Kube said. “I want to help [athletes] learn the proper technique.”
After working with a group this week, Kube said the business has helped him find a post-football career path.
“This is what I want to do,” he said.
Shining on the links: Junior golfer Griffin Bauman posted his lowest 54-hole score of the season to help NIU’s men’s golf team to a fourth-place finish Tuesday at the 15-team Rio Pinar Invitational, hosted by the University of Central Florida.
Thanks to a second-row 74, the Crystal Lake Central grad posted an 11-over-par 227.
Last month in the Mid-American Conference Match Play event in Dade City, Fla., Bauman was the only NIU golfer to finish with a 3-0 record.