It was a long and unusual road for Justin Eilers from his home in Nampa, Idaho to a spot as a starting linebacker for Iowa State. A non-qualifier out of high school, Eilers’ friend guided him into the sport of “ultimate fighting”, which is a combination of boxing and kick boxing. He had a 9-0 record in two years, but decided it was time to go back to college and he entered a junior college. From there on to Iowa State. Eilers says he has become a contributor on defense because he has been working on his technique.Iowa State coach Dan McCarney says the coaching staff was well aware of Eilers’ past before recruiting him. McCarney says he saw a tape of Eilers fighting and told the coaches to get some tape of him playing football.McCarney says Eilers showed plenty of toughness when arriving in Ames but spent too much time fighting and not learning the system. He says once they took care of that, Eilers really improved.Eilers is the team leader in tackles with 37 after three games.