Kevin Trahan
By (@k_trahan)
Jul 23, 2013

Northwestern announced today that freshman linebacker Eric Wilson will transfer. There was no reason given from NU, just a statement from Pat Fitzgerald:

“We thank Eric for his contributions to the program and wish him nothing but the best in the future,” Fitzgerald said.

Wilson came into Northwestern as a safety, but switched to linebacker once he got to school. Fitzgerald has often said that he prefers “big safeties who can play linebacker” and Wilson certainly fit that mold. He’s an athletic player who could have potentially seen some time as a third-string linebacker this year and almost certainly would have played on special teams.

As far as what it means for NU, Wilson wouldn’t have had a big impact on this field this year, but this hurts the unit’s depth. The Wildcats have four very capable, starting-caliber linebackers, and in addition, redshirt freshman Joseph Jones made some noise in spring ball, while Timmy Vernon seems capable as a backup. Wilson would have battled with Jaylen Prater to be next in line. As long as NU doesn’t sustain any injuries, this won’t be a huge loss, but if there are a couple injuries to the Wildcats’ outside linebackers, NU could miss his presence.

The release did not indicate whether Wilson has chosen a new school yet.

  • dorn

    Where’d he transfer to

    • Kevin Trahan

      Wasn’t indicated. Added it to the article.

  • LBU

    Where’s Wilson going? Tough loss for NU.

    • Kevin Trahan

      That wasn’t indicated. Added it to the article.

    • Chris Johnson

      He was one of NU’s more highly rated 2011 recruits (had offers from Oregon, West Virginia, Syracuse, etc), so it will be interesting to see where he winds up. From what I saw of him in spring practice this year, Wilson was an athletic, instinctive playmaker who particularly excels when dropping into coverage. I imagine he’ll eventually stick at outside linebacker, with the option of playing some nickel in DB-heavy packages.

      • Chris Johnson


  • cebpd

    probably saw the writing on the wall that he was never gonna see the field.

    • Kevin Trahan

      Not necessarily. He would have likely competed for one of the OLB spots (along with Prater and the true freshmen) once Smith graduated. But regardless, it would have been awhile before he received substantial playing time.

  • Greg

    any idea if this opens another recruiting space for 2014?

    • Kevin Trahan

      It does, potentially. Can’t say for sure if NU will use it, but they likely will.

      • old cat

        Can Jimmy Hall play linebacker?

        • Kevin Trahan

          He’s primarily a safety, but can will play OLB/nickelback every once in awhile. Not a full-time linebacker though.

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