Niswander is NU's ninth pledge

Niswander is NU's ninth pledge

Peninsula, Ohio specialist Hunter Niswander gave Northwestern its ninth verbal commitment for the class of 2013, coming after impressing at NU's Chicagoland Showcase camp. The versatile kicker/punter/kickoff kicker also has an impressive attitude toward the game.

Kicking coach Jamie Kohl works with hundreds of kickers and punters, building relationships and discovering what each kid's talents and personality hold.

Kohl has worked closely with Peninsula, Ohio specialist Hunter Niswander. It came as no surprise to Kohl when he learned of Niswander's impressive showing at Northwestern's camp, which led to a scholarship offer and a Friday commitment.

"You have to be able to train, to work hard, to work on the little things and to love it," said Kohl. That's an important thing. (Niswander) has got that desire."

Niswander, a 6-foot-5, 200-pounder, is not your average-looking specialist. His size and athleticism made him noticeable to Northwestern coaches. However, it's his versatility which made the difference.

Northwestern was in search of someone who can step in as a punter. Niswander has the ability to work as a kicker, punter and kickoff kicker.

"With a guy like Hunter, he can do all three really well," said Kohl, who evaluated Niswander just last week. "I could see him contributing in all three assets."

Kohl believes Niswander's greatest attribute is repeatability in field goal kicking.

Niswander's lead recruiter was Northwestern assistant coach Mike Hankwitz. What stood out to Hankwitz, aside from skill, was Niswander's attitude toward life and the game of football.

"Talking with (Niswander's) parents and coespondents, they've seen his vision, worked him hard to get where he's at," Kohl said. "When he came to Northwestern's camp, he impressed Mike Hankwitz and they trusted him. Hunter has that work ethic to be good and has that focus. Those are important traits."

Chris Emma has covered recruiting, college athletics and professional baseball for FOX Sports Next since 2009. Emma covered the Nebraska Cornhuskers for Big Red Report, and currently covers the Northwestern Wildcats and Chicago Cubs. He currently resides on Chicago's north side.
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