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2013 Northern Illinois Huskies Player Profile: Joe Windsor

Jeff Hanisch – USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback is undoubtedly the most important position in both the NFL and college football, and not to disrespect any blind-side offensive tackles, the second-most important position on the football field in today’s game is the defensive end – just look at the impact made by players like J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. Northern Illinois Huskies senior defensive end Joe Windsor is by no means on their level, but he returns to a depleted defense bringing back only five starters and will be a key cog on their defensive line.

Windsor was part of a ferocious defense that sacked opposing quarterbacks 39 times last season, which was tops in the MAC and tied for ninth most in the nation. Individually, the 6-foot, 236-pound Kearney, Mo., native recorded a career-high seven sacks last season, which was third most on the team and tied for seventh most in the MAC. Additionally, Windsor posted career highs in total tackles (36), tackles for loss (10.5) and passes defended (three).

Playing the most critical position on the defensive side of the ball, Windsor’s make-or-break duties include containing the run game and rushing the quarterback. If he does not hold down his end of the line on run plays to the outside, the running back can break contain and will be off to the races. If he does not apply significant pressure to the quarterback on pass plays, the quarterback will have all the time in the world to find an open receiver.

Windsor has already received preseason recognition, being named to The Sporting News’ 2013 preseason All-MAC first team and Phil Steele’s 2013 preseason All-MAC second team. On a team that lost its top two sack artists and the majority of its starting defense, Windsor will be a refreshing presence on a defense that may struggle early on.

Frank Gogola is a sports editor intern for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @FrankGogola.