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Who's That Wildcat? WR Tommy Fuessel

Name: Tommy Fuessel
Position: Wide Receiver/Athlete/Dual-threat QB
High School: Lincoln-Way East High School (Frankfort, Ill.)
Other offers: Northern Illinois

The Scouting Report 

From ESPN Recruiting Nation:

“Fuessel is a pocket passer that is a deceptively good runner. Possesses good height on a slender frame. Needs to add more strength. Has good ability to stop and start, can make defenders miss in space, but is not a dynamic run threat for the next level. Plays in a multiple set offense, but not schooled on pocket fundamentals due to what is asked of him in this offense. Makes a lot of plays on the move as the launch point changes.” 

What’s the hype?

Playing quarterback requires a deep understanding of any offensive system. The qb is the player that, let’s not forget, touches the ball on almost every play, and the mere advancement of the pigskin – football’s fundamental offensive objective – relies on a clean transaction between quarterback and center, then either a) a completed pass from quarterback to receiver or b) a handoff or pitch on a running play. There is a lot of variation I failed to consider in that brief synopsis, but hey, I’m not an aspiring football coach, and besides, Fuessel isn’t a quarterback anyway.

At Lincoln-Way East High School, Fuessel did line up under center. As one of the state’s finest dual-threat signal callers, Fuessel earned first team all-state honors. But as he moves into the college ranks, Fuessel is expected to play wide receiver, and his deep knowledge of the spread offense from his days playing QB should help him more quickly understand his place on the outside.

What about next year?

Let me put it this way: if Fuessel doesn’t redshirt, something drastic – injuries, a collective downturn in ability, a sudden team-wide pandemic of typhoid fever (IDK?) – has happened to the receiving corps. Fuessel is a nice player with plenty of time to develop into a key contributor in future seasons. Right now, the focus is settling in on campus, cementing his position switch and learning from his receiver teammates as he tries to compete for playing time next season.

What about the future?

With four-star quarterbacks joining the Wildcats in the 2013 (Matt Alviti) and 2014 classes (Wheaton, Ill. QB Clayton Thorson recently gave his verbal commitment), Fuessel’s path back to the quarterback position is all but sealed off for good. He can still be used in specialty packages, and it never hurts to have another super-athletic and smart QB at the ready, just in case Alviti or Thorson (who may wind up at wide receiver, anyway) don’t meet their massive expectations, but more likely than not Fuessel has seen the last of his run at QB.

The next phase of his career will be at wide receiver. Northwestern’s current crop of veterans, which includes Christian Jones, Tony Jones and Rashad Lawrence, will graduate within the next two years, meaning Fuessel can compete for playing time after an assumed redshirt season. How much he ends up playing is anyone’s guess. Fuessel is an intelligent football player with a bright ceiling. Position aside, his versatility will find productive usage in some form in the Wildcats’ offensive plans.