One visit to Northwestern was all it took 2015 defensive end Jashon Cornell to become enamored with the Wildcats football program, their academic prowess and the shiny new Under Armour Uniforms NU broke out for the very first time last season.
“I really liked the jerseys,” said Cornell following an unofficial visit to Evanston last weekend with his mother. But if Cornell does continue to explore the possibility of one day playing in those sleek UA threads – he especially likes this chique black-and-silver edition – on-field style won’t be the main reason why. No, Cornell has academics on his mind.
“Academics is really important to me,” he said. “I’m planning on majoring in business and law, and I can definitely do that here.”
Specifically, Cornell raved about the possibility of embarking on an internship in Chicago after his sophomore season, where a personal mentor would guide him through a trial at a business firm in the city. He frequently cited Chicago, and all its employment and diversionary opportunities, as one of the most attractive features of Northwestern – how it would allow him to pursue his academic goals while enjoying the benefits of a big city lifestyle.
Another big draw was the campus itself. Wherever he decides to spend his time, Cornell will enjoy the surroundings. That’s for sure.
“Being in downtown Chicago would be great,” he said. “It’s one of the top cities in the country. The campus is really nice, too.”
This early in his recruitment, Cornell is merely surveying an ever-growing selection of offers. Iowa, Minnesota and Rutgers have already extended offers, and Cornell has also drawn interest from Michigan, Notre Dame, USC, Ohio State and Nebraska, among others. By the time he’s ready to make his decision, Cornell could wind up as one of the top overall prospects at his position.
He’s not very particular about limiting himself to a specific scheme or role. “Anything that will get me on the field,” he said. Cornell did indicate one predilection: he likes getting after the passer.
“If it’s a 3-4 [scheme], most coaches have been saying I fit as an outside linebacker,” he said. “But they also allow me to drop into coverage. I have no preference, really.”
There are a number of different factors – new schools gaining interest, a change of heart, an uptick in recruiting “stock” – that could change Cornell’s stance on the Wildcats. He currently considers them an intriguing option, and plans to contact coaches sometime this week to arrange a second visit to campus. So until further notice, consider Cornell a realistic recruiting proposition for coach Pat Fitzgerald and his staff.
Landing Centerville, Ohio defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo in 2012 was viewed as arguably the biggest individual recruiting accomplishment of Fitzgerald’s tenure. If Cornell eventually commits, Odenigbo would have a very credible equal, if not more highly regarded blue chipper joining him in purple.