Kiel is the second NIU player all-time, and the second in the last three seasons, to be named to the prestigious team, which honors individuals who have shown outstanding commitment to service and volunteerism.
Only 11 players from NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision teams and 11 players from all other divisions of college football make up this year’s team. The 22-man squad was selected from a record group of 112 players nominated in 2010.
Kiel will be participating in several events the next two days in New Orleans, culminating in the recognition of the 2010 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team® at halftime of the Sugar Bowl.
The first event for Kiel was a volunteer project in the Lower Ninth Ward, the area hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina, to help with the rejuvenation process. For Kiel, a junior from Wentzville, Mo., it was an experience he will not soon forget.
“It was an experience, seeing how devastated those houses were in that whole area,” Kiel said. “You see concrete slabs where houses used to be. Some places, all that was left was a front porch.
“On the way over, people were talking on the bus, carrying on conversations. By the time we got over there, it was dead silence on the bus. It was a very sobering drive.”
From helping build a greenhouse to cleaning up brush, Kiel and the other members of the 2010 Good Works Team attending the event tried to make a difference in the brief time they were there.
“You could definitely tell the difference we made there,” he said. “It just looked clean. We worked at a house where the woman living there could only mow 30 feet of her front yard. There was brush taller than me and weeds laying on top of each other.”
Following their work in the Lower Ninth, the guys headed over to the Louisiana Superdome for a walk-through for tonight’s acknowledgment. The Good Works Team was introduced Monday night at Allstate Fan Fest in the heart of the famed French Quarter. Kiel stayed in the French Quarter for the Darius Rucker concert.
Kiel joined former receiver Matt Simon, a member of the 2008 Good Works Team who went on to play professionally with the New Orleans Saints, as the only Huskies named to squad. He not only participated in more than 10 different activities in the community in 2009-10, he also helped coordinate many community service projects for the Huskie football team, ensuring that the team was represented at every event and encouraging his teammates to sign up for activities.
He also was elected vice-president of Northern Illinois’ Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for 2010-11.
Kiel and his Northern Illinois teammates completed a record-setting 2010 campaign with an 11-3 record after defeating Fresno State, 40-17, in the Dec. 18 uDrove Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho.