Faithful Fields finds quiet success

Senior wideout Demetrius Fields leads the team with 24 receptions this season. He is second on the squad with 199 yards including the game-winning touchdown against Syracuse.

Daily file photo by Mackenzie McCluer

Senior wideout Demetrius Fields leads the team with 24 receptions this season. He is second on the squad with 199 yards including the game-winning touchdown against Syracuse.

Rohan Nadkarni, Assistant Sports Editor

Meat. ‘Trius. Field’s Cookies.

Redshirt senior wide receiver Demetrius Fields has heard almost every nickname possible in his five years at Northwestern. But the team leader in career starts became something else for the first time this season – the elder statesman.

“I feel old, more so because of my body, besides the fact that everybody looks a lot younger.” Fields said. “When people start looking young, that’s when you know you’re old.”

Fields, a leadership council member, graduated in 2012 with a degree in sociology. This year, he’s taking advantage of his surroundings by participating in Chicago field studies, preparing for a life after football.

Fields’ long-time status as a team leader aided his transition from fresh face to senior star. The Dallas native, a member of coach Pat Fitzgerald’s second recruiting class, consistently helped lead the wide receiver group and gained credibility with his penchant for big plays.

On one of the more famous plays in Wildcats’ history, Fields caught a pass from Dan Persa in a 2010 game against Iowa. Persa tore his Achilles tendon on the play, but the Cats left the field victorious.

In the 2011 season, Fields saved his best for last, snaring seven receptions for 73 yards in the Cats’ 33-22 loss to Texas A&M in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas.

To kickoff the 2012 campaign, he grabbed the game-winning touchdown in the season-opener against Syracuse, a beautiful catch at the left edge of the end zone which completed a thrilling comeback.

Fields, an active Christian, credits his strong sense of spirituality for guiding him through all those big moments.

“Spirituality is important in my walk because it is so evident to me,” Fields said. “I lack many things in terms of physical ability that other players might have. In that sense, I can clearly see that God is the driving force and strength behind my abilities.”

Fields’ abilities have been a godsend for both of NU’s quarterbacks so far this season. Building off of the Syracuse game, Fields currently ranks ninth in the Big Ten with 4.0 receptions per game, a model of consistency.

His performance comes amidst hype for the Cats’ other wideouts, with celebrated transfer Kyle Prater and sometimes-receiver Kain Colter often garnering more coverage.

Even with much of the talk elsewhere, Fields played one of the best games of his career this season, setting a career-high of 9 catches against Boston College and racking up 77 yards.

But now, with only six games left in the regular season, Fields is thinking about his college career’s conclusion.

“It goes by really fast,” Fields said. “Coach Fitz put up a slide that said after this game we have five weeks left, and it was kind of surreal. But it’s been a great year, and to know that you’re taking advantage of every week is great.”

Fortunately for Fields, the next two months could make his final year also the most special one. The Cats stand at 5-1 and hold a chance of reaching the conference championship game.

Fields, who admitted the team “imploded” in past seasons, said he feels this year’s squad can break the mold.

“It’s really exciting,” Fields said. “In the past, we’ve had great teams that didn’t reach our potential. (This year) we have confidence that we’re a good team, and we have total control.”

Even with the team in charge of its own destiny, Fields’ personal success walks hand-in-hand with his spirituality. He said his daily motivation comes from the Bible verse Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord.”

And whatever the rest of the season holds for the Cats, NU can count on its humble receiver’s dedication.

Just don’t call him Strawberry Fields.