DeKALB – Cameron Stingily says he's still learning the running back position.
That doesn't mean the junior hasn't come a long way from last season, when he really only got mental reps in fall camp and received just one carry during the regular season. It was his first year at running back after spending his first two years in DeKalb at linebacker.
With Akeem Daniels, a senior who led all Huskie running backs with 447 yards last season out with an injury, Stingily is one player who is taking advantage of the extra reps available each day.
Stingily, who played the position at Romeoville High School and averaged nearly seven yards per 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 may still be getting used to the transition, but Stingily looks like a player who could see significant carries for NIU this season. NIU head 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 always 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 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 nice long touchdown grab and caught a few more passes as well. Da'Ron Brown had a good over the shoulder touchdown grab from 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 6-1, 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."