Simply stated, Drew Himmelman is one of the top offensive linemen in country.
His official Illinois State athletic biography tells a piece of the story, noting that the Land of Lincoln native was a HERO Sports FCS Sophomore All-America First-Team selection and All-Missouri Valley Conference Second-Team pick last season. It also mentions that Himmelman earned MVFC All-Academic Second-Team honors and that he started all 11 games at left tackle as a critical part of the offensive line unit that made ISU the third-best scoring offense in the conference.
In addition, Himmelman was chosen as MVFC Offensive Lineman of the Week, after helping two backs each rush for over 100 yards as the Redbirds tallied a season-best 409 yards on the ground against Southern Illinois a year ago.
This season, Himmelman has landed on numerous preseason All-American lists. He won his second conference lineman of the week award following a 21-3 win at Eastern Illinois. In short, the 6-foot-10, 315-pounder is a towering presence in the Redbird lineup.
But, there's more to the story behind Himmelman. Get to know Drew Himmelman in our Moving the Chains Q&A.
Hometown: Geneseo, Ill.
High School: Geneseo
You've received a great deal of recognition heading into this season. What's your reaction to that?
It’s nice, but I don’t think it’s anything that any of us look into too much. On the O-line we try to think of ourselves as a unit. It’s not one guy out there. If one of us makes a mistake out, it’s a bust for all of us. If we have success, it's because of all of us working together. We have to cohesive and tight-knit.
How has your role changed now that you're one of the veterans on the line?
I'm taking more responsibility as far as knowing the defense and being able to make some calls to take some of the pressure off Brady [Davis]. Watching film and picking up on opponent tendencies, having that knowledge in the back of our heads.
You grew up in Geneseo where there is a terrific football tradition. How much did you hear about that as a kid?
That was everything in that town. We were in the same system from the time you were in LIttle League football in fifth grade until your senior year in high school. Same plays and everything.
What did you learn in that system that is still with you today?
Run blocking because that’s all Geneseo does is run the football. I got my fair share of run blocking. And then intangible things like hard work, consistency and showing up on time.
When you first came to ISU, who were some of the people that guided you?
Those starting five linemen that were together. Cam Lee, Kyle Avaloy, Dan Pawlak, Ryan Gelber and Marc Spelman. They were great leaders and great guys. They did a great job bringing everybody along.
What is a food that you have given up to become a better athlete?
As an O-lineman I don’t have to limit myself too much, but I try to eat less pizza, especially in the dining hall because there’s a lot of pizza there. I’m not a picky eater at all, so it’s really not that difficult for me.
Other than football, what was your favorite sport to play?
Definitely basketball. That was a tough decision coming out of high school, choosing which to play. I definitely feel like I made the right choice, but I do love basketball.
What inanimate object would be the most annoying if it played loud, upbeat music?
My bed. Who could sleep if it’s playing that music all the time?
As a kid, what was your favorite Halloween costume?
I was definitely a ninja. That was one of the pictures I can remember.
What was your favorite Halloween candy?
I’m a Twix guy. That’s my favorite candy even today. Twix is No. 1.