by Kevin Trahan (@k_trahan)
This marks the beginning of our "Who's That Wildcat?" series, to get you introduced to all the new Northwestern players you'll be seeing this fall. We'll start it off with the most popular new Wildcat — quarterback Matt Alviti from nearby Maine South High School.
Name: Matt Alviti
School: Maine South (IL)
Star rating: 4-star
Other offers: Michigan State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Indiana, Illinois, Boston College, others
The Scouting Report
"Alviti comes from a high school system that will have him prepared for college. He is a great passer who can make all the throws. He has touch when he needs to, velocity when he needs to, and does very well on the run. He's an athletic kid who can make plays with his feet and escape the rush and he has great poise and intangibles. He's not the tallest of quarterbacks, but his ability to roll on and throw on the move will help that."
What he's saying
"I really can't point to one (deciding factor) specifically, it's the right place for me and the right fit for me."
What's the hype?
There's a lot of hype surrounding Alviti; a whole lot. It's not often that Northwestern pulls a recruit from Notre Dame and Nebraska, so this is obviously a big pick-up from a program building standpoint. Star ratings don't necessarily make or break a recruit's success in college, but they help build the perception of a program, so this is a big one for Pat Fitzgerald and his coaching staff.
The scouting report says it all on Alviti. He has incredible arm strength for someone his size and he's extremely quick. He's not tall, but neither are Kain Colter or Dan Persa. I watched Alviti play this fall at one of his games, and there were certainly some things that he'll have to adjust — one thing in particular is he didn't seem all that comfortable in the pocket. However, NU is certainly grooming him to be the quarterback of the future. He has all the tools, as scouting people like to say. Now, he'll have to polish those tools to become a successful college quarterback, but he certainly has a good skill set to build from.
What about this year?
Even though it's pretty well documented by this point, I know somebody is going to ask, so I'll make it clear right now: Alviti is going to redshirt. Not clear enough? Here it is again: He's going to redshirt. Northwestern already has two very capable quarterbacks, which is nice for the Wildcats, considering a lot of teams don't even have one capable quarterback.
As we mentioned above, Alviti has all the tools to be successful at NU. However, he still has a lot of learning to do, which is typical for every recruit, whether they're a zero-star or a five-star recruit.
Oh, and he's going to redshirt, just in case you missed that part.
What about the future?
NU plans on Alviti being its "quarterback of the future." However, those people thinking Alviti will be the starter in 2014 after his redshirt year should probably give up on that idea. Siemian will be a senior that year, and it would take a lot for Alviti to pass him up. Maybe he'll see some time — who would've expected Siemian to be seeing so much time at this point? — but it's really tough to see Alviti as the starter in 2014.
Considering how things have progressed at quarterback, it looks like "the future" is likely to start in 2015 for NU. Things happen — injuries could force him to play sooner, or he could fail to live up to the hype. However, if things go as expected, it looks like Alviti's time will come during his sophomore year, at the earliest.