It was a busy week for Northwestern recruiting, as the Wildcats picked up a commitment from 3-star WR/ATH Solomon Vault, and received good news from other recruits, as well. It's early, but NU is ranked No. 33 in the current Scout.com team rankings, and the Wildcats still have a number of top recruits on the board. As I wrote, NU has started to take its recruiting to the next level. This week was perfect evidence of that.
As we mentioned above, NU got a commitment from 3-star WR/ATH Solomon Vault this week. Vault arguably has better offers than any other member of the 2014 recruiting class, turning down Tennessee and Nebraska to come to Evanston. In fact, he called NU his favorite school early in the week, picked up a Nebraska offer, then committed to NU. That doesn't happen too often, but it speaks to the momentum that Vault mentioned.
“I like where the program’s headed athletically,” he said. “They have a great coach, there’s a new facility being built, they’re doing a better job of recruiting, they won their first bowl game in like 50 years. I was really impressed.”
Vault actually would have gotten into NU earlier, but he had to get his SAT score up, and took SAT prep classes every Saturday and Sunday. "It was awful," he said. However, now that he's finally a Wildcat, he had some interesting things to say about NU, and basically helped Pat Fitzgerald write his recruiting pitch.
“Athletically, yes,” he said about Nebraska and Tennessee being top schools. “Academically, they don’t compare with Northwestern.”
And more about the program's momentum:
“Winning a bowl game for the first time in so long, that’s huge,” he said. “Coming in this year ranked in the top 25 is big, too. The 2013 class is great, and the 2014 group is really starting to take shape. I think we’ll be able to compete with anybody in the Big Ten.”
Vault is one of the pieces helping NU put together a solid recruiting class. Most schools wanted him at running back, but NU recruited him as a slot receiver, telling him he could be used in the kind of role Jeremy Ebert was. However, he could also see some time running the ball, so his role isn't completely set. But regardless of how he's used, he's a versatile player who can be effective in different places on the offense. That's a win for the Wildcats.
A recruiting battle between NU and... Texas?
Auston Anderson visited Northwestern last weekend, and after already putting NU in his top four, he moved the Wildcats up to the No. 1 spot in a group that includes Stanford, UCLA and Texas Tech. Anderson picked up an offer from Texas this week, which figured to shake things up a bit, since Anderson is from Texas. However, he's still high on the Wildcats.
After receiving Texas offer, 2014 RB Auston Anderson (@noweenies23) on whether #Northwestern is still his No. 1 school: "yes sir."
— Inside Northwestern (@insidenu) April 19, 2013
There's still a long ways to go in Anderson's recruitment, but this is still quite the step for NU. When's the last time the Wildcats beat out Texas for a kid from the Lone Star State? It's tough to tell, because recruiting sites don't go back that far, but I'd guess never. Keep an eye on this one, as it could be quite the coup for the Wildcats.
Dickerson has NU in his top 5
Not only does one recruit have NU above Texas at the moment, another recruit has the Wildcats in some pretty solid company, as well. 2014 recruit Garrett Dickerson announced via Twitter that he has narrowed his list of schools to NU, Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan and Stanford. The last time the Wildcats were in company like that was Ifeadi Odenigbo in 2013, and he chose NU.
This one is still a longshot considering the list of offers, but regardless of where Dickerson ends up, it's progress to keep getting named in groups like this. And while it's a longshot, the Wildcats do have a chance. Dickerson's brother, Cameron, is currently a wide receiver at NU. Two more of his teammates — 2013 recruit Kyle Queiro and 2014 recruit Cameron Queiro — will also be attending NU. That's about as many "ins" as Fitzgerald can ask for.