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NIU left tackle Trevor Olson a can’t-miss prospect

Huskies left tackle Trevor Olshas never missed start. He’ll be making his 54th consecutive start Bowl. | Courtesy NIU

Huskies left tackle Trevor Olson has never missed a start. He’ll be making his 54th consecutive start in the Bowl. | Courtesy of NIU

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Northern Illinois vs. Arkansas State

The facts: 8 p.m. Sunday, ESPN, 670-AM.

Updated: February 8, 2012 8:11AM

MOBILE, Ala. — Impressive hardly seems like an apt description for Trevor Olson’s feat. Throw in jaw-dropping and eye-popping.

When Olson and his Northern Illinois teammates take the field Sunday night (8 p.m.) at Ladd-Peebles Stadium to play Arkansas State in the 2012 Bowl, the senior left tackle will be making his 54th consecutive start.

The son of a coach who is the son of a Minnesota High School Hall of Fame coach, the 6-6, 298-pound Olson has started every game since redshirting as a freshman in the fall of 2007.

“Unbelievable,” said first-year Huskies coach Dave Doeren, whose 10-3 team will be making its fourth consecutive bowl appearance.

“I’ll never coach another one like that, as far as the streak. Are you kidding me? Never missing a start?

“Trevor is a tough guy, a smart guy. He’s a guy that loves ball. He gets it.”

Olson is the mainstay of a veteran line that has a combined 168 starts and powers the program’s most prolific scoring offense (38.3 ppg) that ranks 13th in the nation.

“We’re ninth in the nation in rushing offense [247.6 ypg], and we’ve only given up nine sacks,” Doeren said.

None of them was allowed by Olson.

“I didn’t play for my dad [Todd] in high school; he coached in the neighboring city,” Olson said.

Dad did influence him, though.

“He’d bring my [two younger] brothers and me to practice every day when fall camp would start,’’ Olson said. ‘‘We weren’t in school yet and wouldn’t have a baby sitter. He’d have us come along, and, basically, we’d just run around out there and try to stay out of the way and not get in trouble.

“It definitely helped. It got me around the game at a young age. Since I can remember, I’ve been around it.”

Battling future 2009 NFL first-round pick Larry English in practice every day for two seasons helped him get better, said Olson, who will see a lot of Arkansas State standout defensive end Brandon Joiner.

“He has 12 sacks, second in the country,’’ Olson said. “He’s a pretty good player, so I’ll have my hands full there. Their defensive line is probably one of the better ones we’ve seen all year. They’re fast and quick off the ball.”

Fellow linemates marvel at Olson and his streak.

“It’s amazing,” said senior center Scott Wedige, who has 27 starts. “All the injuries you go through, all the bumps and bruises and turned ankles. To work through all those things and never miss a start, heck, he never misses a snap. It’s miraculous to do that.”

Senior right tackle Keith Otis (Hubbard) also has 27 starts.

“To know Trevor is to know someone who really knows football,” Otis said. “I remember him once telling me, ‘I’ve been trained to play football since I was 4 years old.’

“It shows. He’s awesome on the field and the way he’s able to read defenses.”

It’s no surprise that many on the DeKalb campus believe the shaggy-haired, scruffy-bearded lineman could be the next big thing coming out of the program, following in the footsteps of Ryan Diem and Doug Free, who are starting offensive linemen in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts and Dallas Cowboys, respectively.

“He’s got a great work ethic and all sort of [NFL] potential,” line coach Rod Carey said. “It’s a little like [college] recruiting, you’ve gotta have some measurables to get you in the door, but I think he’s gonna be a great gift for any NFL team.”

Olson hopes so.

“I have no control over that right now,” he said. “We’ll see what happens and give it a shot.”

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