As spring practice wraps around the Big Ten, we’re looking at one player on each team who experienced a recent breakthrough and looks to handle an increased role when football resumes in August.
Up next is Northwestern, featuring a defender who managed to make his mark even while stuck behind the team's preeminent star.
Spring breakout player: LB Cameron Queiro
Northwestern looks solid defensively again, led by middle linebacker Anthony Walker and an underrated secondary that appears ready to seamlessly replace two starters.
Among the new starters in the defensive backfield is junior safety Kyle Queiro, set to replace Traveon Henry after Queiro missed the majority of last season with an injury. It’s a name to get to know -- because his brother, Cameron, began to make a name for himself, too, with an outstanding spring at linebacker.
The 15-practice stretch, concluding April 9, marked the younger Queiro's most consistent play since arriving at Northwestern.
At 6-foot-1 and 225 pounds out of prep powerhouse Bergen Catholic in New Jersey, Queiro might force the Wildcats to find a way to play him as a sophomore. It won’t be at the expense of Walker, an All-America candidate touted recently by coach Pat Fitzgerald as the Wildcats’ best player ever at the position.
But after collecting seven tackles last season in 13 games, look for Queiro to get more involved. If nothing else this spring, he likely solidified his spot as the top backup at perhaps the Wildcats’ strongest position group.