by Chris Johnson (@chrisdjohnsonn)
Leading up to the season Inside Northwestern will give you a preview of each of Northwestern’s 2012 recruits. Click here for previous entries.
Hometown: Royersford, Pennsylvania
Position: Wide Receiver
Star Rating: Three-star, No. 86 WR
Ht/Wt: 6-2, 200 pounds
Other offers: Akron, Delaware, Northern Illinois
What’s to like:
Given his size, speed and productivity at wide receiver, it’s a bit puzzling that Scanlan began his high school career as a quarterback and safety. He quickly justified his position switch with his brilliant play at Spring-Ford (PA) High School and emerged as one of NU’s most intriguing wide receiver prospects. Most impressive was his shrewd route running and quick first step, which allowed Scanlan to beat defensive backs off the line and find open spaces.
What’s more, Scanlan proved time again that he’s not afraid to run crossing routes in tight, congested areas and flashed the ability to outleap defenders and snatch errant passes with strong hands. Though he lacks true breakaway speed, he’s shown he can nimbly elude defenders, shed tacklers and pick up yards after the catch. He’s best fit for a slot role, but tracks the deep ball well and has proven he can make big plays downfield.
The Wildcats are flocked with bigger receivers that excel mostly as deep threats, though they lack effective pass-catchers willing to work the middle of the field, players like Scanlan, who in time could fill that role.
Prospects for next season:
It’s hard to think Scanlan won’t end up playing receiver down the road, but his time spent playing safety in high school may increase his chances of making an immediate an impact on special teams, where his tackling skills and speed are valuable assets.
Realistically, he will probably redshirt next season. A year of team workouts will benefit Scanlan as he learns Mick McCall’s spread offense and refines his game. This season, NU boasts arguably the Big Ten’s deepest receiving corps, with at least five players expected to figure largely in the Wildcats’ passing attack. Scanlan’s a talented player with a bright future, but given the logjam atop the WR depth chart, it’s unlikely he affects NU’s 2012 season in any meaningful way, with the possible, but unlikely exception of a special teams tackle or two.
What he’s saying
“I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to get a great education, play in a great system and play for a great coaching staff,” Scanlan told PurpleWildcats. com upon announcing his commitment in Dec., 2011. “They have great players there and they build character. I want to build character, and be successful.”
What they’re saying
“Andrew Scanlan is a classic example of an under-the-radar prospect who dazzles Northwestern coaches at camp. The receiver was impressive in a one-day camp in Evanston. NU coaches love his speed which allows him to break away from defenders. Scanlan is also a smart kid and football player.”—Chris Emma, PurpleWildcats.com