by Chris Johnson (@chrisdjohnsonn)
As the 2013 class reaches capacity (one, maybe two more commits?), the commitment pace has slowed. It’s not hard to figure out why: Fitzgerald and staff, with limited space, are looking for the “right” fits. After last week’s big pickup of Safety/running back Godwin Igwebuike, the past seven days didn’t produce any new faces, and so the class membership, for the time being, remains at 17. That ranks third in the Big Ten, tying Iowa but still lagging behind Michigan’s 23 and Illinois’ 19. And in the interest of providing some context for the perceived quality of NU’s class, albeit a completely artificial and perception-based system, the group ranks 7th based on Scout.Com’s star-based ratings with a score of 2.94.
The 2013 class, as it stands today:
Matthew Alviti–four-star QB, Park Ridge (IL)
Sam Coverdale–three-star OT, Chagrin Falls (OH)
Brad North–three-star OG, Allen (TX)
Kyle Quiero–three-star WR/S, Oradell (NJ)
Blake King–three-star OG, Minooka (IL)
Eric Joraskie–three-star DT, Mount Carmel (PA)
Tyler Lancaster–three-star OG, Plainfield (IL)
Hunter Niswander–two-star K/P, Peninsula (OH)
Xavier Menifield–three-star RB, Chatsworth (CA)
Macan Wilson–two-star WR, Houston (TX)
Warren Long—three-star RB, Union City (CA)
Matt Harris—three-star CB/WR, La Grange (IL)
Jayme Taylor—three-star TE, The Woodlands (TX)
Anthony Walker—three-star OLB, Miami (FL)
Brett Walsh—three-star OLB, Monrovia (CA)
Keith Watkins—three-star DB, Cincinnati (OH)
Godwin Igwebuike—three-star ATH, Pickerington (OH)
(Player profiles available here)
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With one or two spots left, the next question is how Fitzgerald and his staff plans to round out this class. One distinct possibility is cornerback Jaleel Hytchye, a childhood friend and NU visiting partner of Keith Watkins, who gave his verbal commitment in early August. Hytchye has received more than a dozen offers, including Arizona State, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Boston College, Louisville, Vanderbilt and Indiana, but recently revealed his “top five”: Cincinnati, Kentucky, Arizona State, Pittsburgh and NU. Hytchye is an athletic corner with great ball skills and tactical proficiency. His addition would mark yet the latest triumph in an altogether well-rounded class. Hytchye has no timeline for his decision. Another possibility is Patrick Enewally, a corner/safety from Cerritos (CA) who holds offers from Arizona, Boise State, Hawaii, Idaho, San Diego State, San Jose State, Utah, Utah State and NU. Defensive backs are of prime importance, particularly for a team with such a poor recent history defending the pass, but NU wouldn’t find fault with a commitment from Austin Hooper, who received his first scholarship offer from Fitzgerald more than four months ago. He now holds upwards of 15 offers, with power-conference heavyweights like Notre Dame, Oregon and Stanford in the mix.
However NU uses its remaining class space, the group boasts the talent and depth to rival last year’s landmark class. Enewally, Hytchye, Hooper or whoever else Fitzgerald tabs for 2013’s conclusive pledge(s) will join a strong and balanced group.