Jeske Maples and Nic Rummell discuss their strong starts to the season and becoming starters for the defending national champions.
Jeske Maples, a freshman offensive lineman, and Nic Rummell, a sophomore defensive back, have both stepped into major roles this season for the Cardinals. Maples is the team’s starting right tackle, while Rummell starts at cornerback opposite All-American Jake Beesley.
Both said that having a full year to prepare for these roles has certainly helped. For Maples, he played at the 1A level in high school (the lowest in Illinois) and described playing for North Central as ‘a whole different ball game.’ While he made sure to say he loved his high school coaches and the relationships he built there, he said he wasn’t truly coached before coming to North Central and was struck by how ‘every step’ is coached to meticulous detail.
For Rummell, he transitioned to defense from being a wide receiver and has immediately taken to his new roll with two interceptions and 10 solo tackles in five games.
In these no roles, each has no shortage of players to look up to. Rummell of course mentioned Beesley, and also Dakota Cremeens as inspirations not only for their play but the way they conduct themselves on and off the field. For Maples, the obvious candidate is All-American Sharmore Clark and he also mentioned Nathan Gray, the two seniors being the veteran anchors of the offensive line.
On what has been their favorite moment so far, both deferred from talking about themselves and agreed that the win over Wheaton was the apex so far, both for the rivalry and what the win meant to the fifth-year seniors.