Hoosier offensive lineman Dimitric Camiel turned around his football career in time for Indiana to enjoy some serious production from his right tackle spot.
Camiel started all 13 games last year after earning five stars in sophomore season. Indiana led the Big Ten in total offense last year and gave up just 13 sacks, seventh-fewest nationally. The big 6-foot-7, 320-pound Camiel was offensive player of the week in the OT loss to Michigan. That's when the Hoosiers amassed over 300 yards rushing against a Wolverine team that was among the national leaders in rush defense.
Camiel's big junior season was a bit lost in the shuffle with all the post-season accolades given to fellow linemen Jason Spriggs and Dan Feeney. His All-American teammate, however, knows how far he's come.
"His developing as a player is one of the coolest things that I've witnessed in college," Feeney said. "He's developed so much from his sophomore year when he was a little bit of a knucklehead, not going to lie. But he's definitely improved. He put the game first. Always staying out extra, doing extra reps and giving everything that he has."
The program felt strong enough about the fifth year senior from Houston to have him join Feeney and senior linebacker Marcus Oliver as Indiana's representatives at this summer's Big Ten Media Day.
Camiel soaked in the spotlight in a crimson bow tie.
"I've been wearing a bow tie since about my senior year in high school," Camiel joked in Chicago. "Something different, something unique."
The trip to Chicago also signaled he's a favorite of head coach Kevin Wilson.
"He came in as a development body and he bought into developing," Wilson said.
While it took awhile, offensive line coach Greg Frey said the talent was always there.
"When we recruited him down in Houston, (his Wesfield High head) coach (Matt) Meekins, his offensive line coach and myself, we spent time talking about Dimitric," Frey said. "And really he's just done the things we believed he could do. Coach (Kevin) Wilson, myself, as we looked at him.
"When you talk about the four coaches that were involved with him at an young age, maybe what we saw in him, and what he saw in himself, was different. And we've just been able to get him on the same page from what we see."
A heart to heart meeting helped turn things around for Camiel.
"There was a point about a season and a half ago where he wasn't doing what he envisioned himself doing. And he certainly wasn't doing what I envisioned him doing," Frey said. "So we spent some time together, and got on the same page. In a good way.
"Fortunately for Dimitric it happened at a young enough age for him to take advantage of it. For a couple years now."
The senior agrees on the timing of the turnaround.
"That's about right," Camiel said. "My mental (approach changed). I had always been working, so it was more mental than physical. We have a great opportunity here. Beautiful everything. Things just kind of clicked in my head, 'don't let this opportunity pass you by.' Since then I just kind of ran with it."
He knew he had some talent.
"I would have like spurts, where it would be 'nice block here' and a 'bad block here.'
Enough talent to someday join Spriggs and Feeney in the NFL?
His head coach no longer sees that as a long shot.
"He went from being a guy that you really didn't know was really going to play to next being solid then next (you think) he's got a chance to be okay, to where he's got a chance to be pretty good and now I think if he has a good year he'll be in a pro camp," Wilson said. "I don't know if he's a draft or late pick kind of guy he's come a long way. Great credit to his family, Greg Frey and our strength coaches."
Before that he gets to wreak havoc one more college season on the right side of the Hoosier line next to an All-American..
"Last year was just a taste of what he can really do," Feeney said. ""He's a big boy so he can move people pretty easily. Doing double teams with him is really fun."
See Camiel along with Feeney and coach Wilson talk about his development at this summer's Big Ten Media Day: