When West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson is on the recruiting trail, he probably mentions Nick Kwiatkoski as a headliner.
Nick Kwiatkoski was a leader for the WVU football team a few years ago and he is emerging as a true stalwart at linebacker for the Chicago Bears. In the Bear’s 20-3 win against the Cleveland Browns, Kwiatkoski led his team with eight tackles.
It was the second consecutive game where Kwiatkoski had eight tackles as he also recorded that number in the previous week’s loss against the Detroit Lions. According to WVUsports.com, Kwiatkoski has made five starts this season which is his second year in the NFL.
His highest tackle total this season was nine when he reached that mark against the Green Bay Packers in Week 10. When given the chance, Kwiatkoski has shown up and delivered his best effort. That’s exactly what Gibson and head coach Dana Holgorsen expected from Kwiatkoski was playing with the WVU football team.
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Kwiatkoski hails from Bethel Park, Pa. where he starred on the Blackhawks football team. He graduated from Bethel Park in 2011 and wasn’t a highly thought of recruit. According to 247sports.com, he was a two-star recruit.
In another example for Gibson to use to potential recruits, the ability to make the most out of talent at West Virginia. Kwiatkoski came in as an under appreciated player and left as a professional prospect. He is now showing that he can thrive on the biggest stage possible. Even though the Bears are underachieving this season, they may have realized that a cornerstone of their franchise moving forward is Kwiatkoski.
Under Holgorsen, the Mountaineers have proven to be producers of NFL talent and it started on the offensive side of the ball with Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. Kwiatkoski is a poster child for former Mountaineer defenders, along with Karl Joseph and Bruce Irvin who both play for the Oakland Raiders.
Kwiatkoski still has to prove himself but he is getting the reps and making the most of it this season. Next year and beyond, he will continue to lead the Chicago defense.