Himmelman ready for opportunity with Redbirds

Chris Steele
Drew Himmelman is focused on making an impact with the Illinois State football team during his freshman season.

Drew Himmelman is always very measured in his responses about his future on the gridiron.

However, even Himmelman acknowledged he’s excited about the potential this upcoming season holds.

No gray shirt, no redshirt, just another offensive lineman waiting for his chance to make an impact entering his freshman year of eligibility with the Illinois State University football team.

This spring has been moving at light speed as Himmelman and the Redbirds prepare for their home opener against Butler, in Normal, on Sept. 2.

With no guarantees about playing time, Himmelman remains focused on just being ready for the moment when his number gets called.

“There’s still a ton of things to work on when you are going up against massive defensive lineman who are not only big, but quick,” Himmelman said.

The Redbirds graduated several key members of the offensive line, and a changing of the guard means everyone is moving up a notch.

Himmelman has already shown a willingness to adapt to whatever the team needs.

He originally was working with the tight end group but, he was thrown into the fray with the offensive linemen after injuries expanded his role in spring camp, last season.

“We made the move and never looked back,” Himmelman said. “I’ve enjoyed the whole process of it. I feel comfortable out there. Being out there over a year now, it feels like home.”

The Redbirds liked what they saw and named Himmelman an offensive newcomer at spring camp in 2016.

This season, Himmelman performed well playing left tackle in the spring game, and he said the experience has made him feel very comfortable with the position.

Himmelman likes the connection and trust that the offensive line group has cultivated coming into this season.

“We all have continued to bond and grow,” Himmelman said, “You are only in college four or five years, but you meet some of your best friends forever there.”

Himmelman thinks the Redbirds will be a balanced team this season, but how the line comes together will help forge the offense’s identity.

Coming off a playoff appearance last season, Himmelman believes Illinois State is primed for another solid season.

“I think this team has big goals,” Himmelman said. “Every team should have big goals because if you are planning on going 5-5, not make the playoffs and finish in the middle of the conference — then what are you doing? All that work is for nothing.”