Initial reports indicating former Rutgers receiver Miles Shuler would transfer to Northwestern, pending the approval of an appeal to the NCAA, were confirmed Thursday by a source close to Shuler, one day after Shuler visited Northwestern’s campus. Shuler will not take any more visits, according to the source.
Scout.com first brought word of Shuler’s possible transfer September 4th. Shuler, responding via Twitter, denied reports he had decided to join the Wildcats. Before seeking a transfer to a Big Ten program, Shuler needed the NCAA to grant him an appeal, which was required due to Rutgers’ move to the conference next season. According to the Chicago Tribune’s Teddy Greenstein, Shuler could enroll in classes as early as the coming fall semester. After sitting out 2013, per NCAA transfer rules, Shuler will be cleared to play in 2014 and have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
We discussed what Shuler could bring to Northwestern’s offense in a rapid reaction post last week, but if you missed the news, here’s a concise recap: Shuler is fast. Really fast. While better known for his accomplishments as a dual-threat quarterback at Long Branch high school (NJ), Shuler was one of the state’s best sprinters, specializing in the 55 and 100-meter dash. Here are some of his track and field credentials. (Shuler’s Rivals recruiting profile indicates he clocked a 4.38 in the 40-yd dash)
In two seasons at Rutgers, Shuler amassed just five catches for 71 yards and seven rushes for 67 yards. The initial reaction from Northwestern supporters: After seeing the way the highly anticipated Kyle Prater transfer has panned out so far, why should there be any confidence Shuler will be better?
That’s a fair point. Shuler might not live up to his high school billing (a consensus four-star recruit, he held offers from Northwestern, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Michigan, Stanford and others). But while he and Prater are similar in that they both joined Northwestern after highly celebrated high school careers and disappointing stints at their first college stops, stylistically, the two couldn’t be more different. Shuler is a pure burner – a short, quick, fast-twitch speedster capable of lining up in variety of spots on the offensive side of the ball. Prater is a big, hulking target who lacks exceptional top-end speed.
To be fair, Prater has struggled with injuries throughout most of his time at Northwestern, so it’s unfair to call his move to the Wildcats a complete failure just yet. Shuler will get a chance to prove himself in 2014, and based off the tape I’ve watched – and the amount of time I spent shaking my head at the insane weaving runs he regularly ripped off in Shore Conference (NJ) high school contests – I’m guessing Shuler’s transition will yield more positive results, more quickly.
He is the perfect utility piece for Mick McCall’s moldable offense, a tremendous athlete capable of gashing defenses for big plays if he gets the ball in space. Northwestern’s spread is democratic by design – no single receiver typically consumes a large majority of pass attempts. Even in a deep receiving corps, Shuler should have an opportunity to make an impact right away.
Sometimes college players, young and indecisive and greatly affected by scenery and coaching, just need a fresh start. Shuler gets that chance with the Wildcats, and if he makes the most of it, Northwestern will have added an explosive athlete with immense potential.