Category Archive for Recruiting

As Northwestern fills out its 2015 recruiting class, we are left trying to guess who will commit next. There are plenty of realistic candidates (and not-so-realistic ones). But today’s debate topic focuses less on what could happen that what NU fans should want to see happen. Which 2015 prospect do the Wildcats need to land?

Equanimeous St. Brown

The answer to your question is yes: part of the reason I chose St. Brown has to do with the fact that his first name sounds straight out of The Myth of Prometheus. St. Brown was a 9-seed on Deadspin’s Name of the Year competition and he’ll be a frontrunner for the totally made-up title of “Best Name in College Football.” A few years ago, NU alum and ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell named rising senior linebacker Chi Chi Ariguzo to his list of the top 25 names in college football. It’s obvious St. Brown has Ariguzo beat on that front. He is also trilingual, having taken the SAT in French, German and English.

St. Brown’s interesting name, though, is not the only reason Northwestern needs him. The 6-5, 190-pound wideout has drawn offers from Notre Dame, UCLA, Stanford, USC and LSU, among others, and received a four-star rating from three major recruiting services. St. Brown is big, strong – his father, a two-time Mr. Universe champion, works him out several days a week – and moves well for a player his size. Here is an excerpt from SB Nation’s scouting report:

Continue reading »

By
Jul 2, 2014

With four more commitments in the final week of June, Northwestern football’s 2015 recruiting class is shaping up nicely. In fact, that’s probably an understatement. Pat Fitzgerald has picked up an unprecedented 16 commitments in roughly two-and-a-half months, and the class, which could be nearing completion, now ranks 16th nationally according to 247 Sports.

That said, there are still some holes to fill, and still some questions to answer. Six or seven scholarships could potentially still be available, so Fitzgerald will probably still be in search of somewhere between three and six more pledges. Here’s a look at the class, position by position, and how (and by whom) those remaining scholarships could be used.

Quarterback

Commits: None

Potential Targets:

Sam Darnold
School: San Clemente (CA)
Position: QB (Dual-threat)
Stars: 3
Other Offers: Oregon, USC, Duke, Tennessee, others
247 profile
Realistic or Reach?: Reach

Lloyd Yates
School: Oak Park (IL) and River Forest (IL)
Position: QB (Dual-threat)
Stars: 3
Offers: Akron, Western Michigan, Illinois State, Colgate, Northern Illinois
247 profile
Realistic or Reach?: Realistic

Analysis: After Travis Waller spurned NU for Oregon on Tuesday, I wrote extensively about what it meant for Northwestern’s quarterback search. Click on the link for the full breakdown, but here is an excerpt:

In the same week [that Oregon offered Waller], longtime USC commit David Sills decommitted, prompting the Trojans to extend an offer to NU’s other main target, three-star dual-threat QB Sam Darnold. Now, Darnold, once a real possibility for NU, looks unlikely to come to Evanston.

This presents Fitzgerald with a conundrum. Should he miss out on his top two targets, he could go down either of two roads. One option is to dig deeper, and attempt to find a diamond in the rough – a lesser known, less sought-after prospect. The other option would be to pass on QB altogether for the class of 2015.

Should Fitz consider the first option, one name to know is local three-star dual-threat QB Lloyd Yates, to whom we spoke back in May. However, not many other possibilities have surfaced.

In general, Fitzgerald and his staff must decide if their quarterback depth is sufficient. If it isn’t, they could be tempted to reach for Yates or another unheralded player. But if it is, they could take a chance and put all their money on being able to bring a quality QB from the class of 2016 to Evanston.

The payoff there would be not being forced to use a scholarship on a quarterback potentially not up to NU’s standards. But the risk is that, should next year’s search yield similar results to this year’s, the quarterback cupboard could be alarmingly bare three or four years down the road for Fitzgerald and Northwestern.

Continue reading »

By
Jul 2, 2014

Chris Collins has already landed two commits, Dererk Pardon and Jordan Ash, for the class of 2015 and is looking to add two more recruits from a large group of targets. Collins has set some pretty high hopes, offering several four-star and five-star prospects, most of whom are forwards since NU still needs more size. Landing another four-star prospect, after snagging Vic Law this year, would prove the program is certainly moving in the right direction. But a lot of NU’s top targets are definitely a bit of a reach. Collins may have to settle for more realistic additions. Here’s a breakdown of Northwestern’s targets:

Reach

Henry Ellenson

Ellenson would undoubtedly be the best commit in Northwestern history. He’s number 5 in ESPN’s top 100 for the class of 2015 and a consensus five-star recruit. Ellenson was in Evanston on Saturday while playing for his high school team from Rice Lake, WI, in Northwestern team camp. He also visited Evanston last February to see the ‘Cats take on Nebraska, the game which began NU’s seven-game losing streak. The 6-foot-10 power forward has an impressive list of offers which includes Duke, Wisconsin, Creighton, Michigan State, Iowa State, Indiana, North Carolina, UCLA and many more. Collins can only hope Ellenson selects Northwestern over all the powerhouses he has to choose from.

Raymond Spalding

Spalding’s list of offers isn’t quite as impressive as that of Ellenson, but he has some solid choices. Louisville, Indiana, Butler, Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Xavier and Northwestern have all offered the Louisville native. Spalding is ranked in the top 100 for the class of 2015 by ESPN, Rivals and 247 Sports, and at 6-foot-9, he can play power forward or center. Louisville is at the top of his list on 247 Sports, so most likely Spalding will stay home and become a Cardinal.

Juwan Morgan

Collins’ pursuit of big men continues with Morgan, who is just outside Rivals’ National top 100 at 106th. The Missouri native has offers from California, Creighton, Indiana, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and Washington. Morgan is very athletic and has the bounce to jam some great alley-oops. He looks like a slightly bigger Vic Law on the court. The 6-foot-7 forward is surely a reach for NU, but they have a better shot at him than Spalding or Ellenson.

Continue reading »

By
Jul 1, 2014

Travis Waller, a highly-coveted dual-threat quarterback from Anaheim, Calif., and one of Northwestern’s top targets for the class of 2015, has passed on the Wildcats in favor of Oregon. Waller announced his commitment Tuesday via Twitter.

And while not unexpected, his decision further complicates Pat Fitzgerald’s search for a quarterback to add to his already impressive 2015 recruiting class.

Waller was one of two big prospects that NU had been after for a while. But over the past two weeks, the situation has become muddled.

Waller’s recruitment took countless twists and turns. Back on June 9, Waller announced a top four of Alabama, Northwestern, Notre Dame and Ohio State. However, Ohio State hadn’t yet offered him a scholarship, and never ended up doing so. And Alabama received a commitment from QB Blake Barnett shortly after, so they were seemingly out of the running, leaving just Notre Dame and NU.

But then Oregon swooped in with an offer on June 21, seemingly making them the clear favorites for Waller. And in the same week, longtime USC commit David Sills decommitted, prompting the Trojans to extend an offer to NU’s other main target, three-star dual-threat QB Sam Darnold. Now, Darnold, once a real possibility for NU, looks unlikely to come to Evanston.

This presents Fitzgerald with a conundrum. Should he miss out on his top two targets, he could go down either of two roads. One option is to dig deeper, and attempt to find a diamond in the rough – a lesser known, less sought-after prospect. The other option would be to pass on QB altogether for the class of 2015.

Should Fitz consider the first option, one name to know is local three-star dual-threat QB Lloyd Yates, to whom we spoke back in May. However, not many other possibilities have surfaced.

In general, Fitzgerald and his staff must decide if their quarterback depth is sufficient. If it isn’t, they could be tempted to reach for Yates or another unheralded player. But if it is, they could take a chance and put all their money on being able to bring a quality QB from the class of 2016 to Evanston.

The payoff there would be not being forced to use a scholarship on a quarterback potentially not up to NU’s standards. But the risk is that, should next year’s search yield similar results to this year’s, the quarterback cupboard could be alarmingly bare three or four years down the road for Fitzgerald and Northwestern.

Kevin Trahan
By
Jun 27, 2014


Northwestern picked up its fourth commitment this week with the addition of three-star guard Jared Thomas. A native of Indianapolis, Thomas has been one of NU’s top offensive line targets for awhile, and he chose the Wildcats over Illinois, Duke, Syracuse, Purdue and Indiana, among others.

Kevin Trahan
By
Jun 24, 2014


After receiving commitments from wide receivers Charlie Fessler and Jelani Roberts on Monday, Northwestern got yet another wide receiver commitment Monday night from Cameron Green, who might be the most highly-regarded player of the bunch.

A native of Lincolnshire, Illinois, Green is the third Illinoisan to choose the Wildcats this year (yet another one who also had an Illini offer). He also chose NU over Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Purdue and others.

At 6-foot-2, 195 pounds, Green figures to join Fessler in this class as one of the team’s bigger targets to mix in with Roberts and current small, speedy receivers Miles Shuler and Solomon Vault. He is the 15th commitment in NU’s class of 2015, which now ranks 18th nationally and third in the Big Ten, according to 247′s recruiting rankings.

Kevin Trahan
By
Jun 23, 2014


Northwestern picked up its 13th commitment for the class of 2015 on Monday, with the addition of three-star wide receiver Charlie Fessler. Fessler, a native of Erie, Penn., had offers from Nebraska and Boston College, among others. He is the first wide receiver in this class.

At 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, Fessler is a big target who fits the mold of recent NU receivers Christian Jones and Cameron Dickerson who can go up and get the ball more than short speedy receivers like Jeremy Ebert and Tony Jones. We’ll have more information as we get it. NU’s 2015 recruiting class now ranks third in the Big Ten and 21st nationally, according to 247 Sports.

© 2013 Inside Northwestern