NIU's Kill Keeps Kicking in the Family

NIU football coach Jerry Kill didn't have to look far to find someone to backup and eventually replace kicker Mike Salerno. After all, Kill likes to keep things in the family.

All Kill had to do was look to Mike Salerno's younger brother Ryan.

Ryan Salerno was a kicker / punter for the Sandburg Eagles in Orlando Park, Illinois. In the season opener for Sandburg, Salerno kicked the game winning field goal from 23 yards in a 17-14 overtime victory over Lyons Township as the Eagles rallied from being down 14-0.

Salerno is expected to be an understudy to his older brother next season at Northern Illinois. Ryan is expected to redshirt and will be given an opportunity to earn a scholarship as a kicker for the 2010-11 season.

Salerno had also received interest from Eastern Illinois, Southern Illinois, and Augustana.

"NIU is the best choice for me," said Ryan. "It gives me an opportunity to not play right away and get used to the whole college aspect and also work on getting stronger."

With an older brother playing for the Huskies, Salerno had ample opportunity to get to know the coaching staff and get familiar with the surroundings. "I was there yesterday," Ryan said. "I met with Coach Kill and all the other coaches."

Mike Salerno earned a spot on the All-MAC Second Team this season after going 18 of 24 on field goal attempts and a perfect 34 for 34 on PAT's in his junior season for the Huskies. He also led the MAC in kickoffs, with 16 going into the end zone for touchbacks.

Ryan looks forward to learning under Mike's tutelage in DeKalb next season. "He'll be able to coach me," remarked Ryan. "It's going to be cool to be able to play on the same football team as your brother. In high school we never got to."

Stay tuned to for the very latest on NIU prospects.

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