Northwestern got its eighth commitment for the class of 2014 this week, picking up running back Auston Anderson. Anderson is a three-star right now, but considering the offers he has and how many schools continue to come calling, that could potentially rise to a four-star rating in the next evaluation period. Anderson, a Texas native, turned down Texas, Stanford, UCLA, Nebraska and a number of other very good offers. It's not often that NU can beat Texas for a recruit, especially for a player from Texas.
But hype aside, this is still a very solid pickup for NU. Anderson is a small, quick back who has the versatility to run inside or get free around the edge. Remind you of anyone? When Anderson visited NU, the coaches showed him how he could fit into the current system like Venric Mark does:
“He juxtaposed my stuff with Venric’s,” Anderson said. “It was really cool. It’s easier for me to see now how I could perform in that offense.”
Before this weekend, Anderson had only delved into the nuances of an option offense via video game controllers. MacPherson explained the system, how it creates mismatches and how Anderson’s breakaway speed and elusiveness are a perfect match for the Wildcats’ vision of a spread-savvy back .
Better yet, Anderson got a breakdown from Mark himself.
“Venric told me about all the calls and that stuff,” he said. “I’ve only really seen an option like that on NCAA [video game], but it’s pretty cool.”
Obviously it's too early to call Anderson "the next Venric Mark," but he certainly has the skill set to be a similar kind of back, and his versatility makes him very valuable to NU's offense.
Queiro recruiting Dickerson
One of the underrated benefits of getting players to commit early is they help recruit other players for their class. That's the case with Cameron Queiro and Garrett Dickerson, both of Bergen Catholic High School in New Jersey. Queiro committed to NU in early April, and now he's doing his best to get his teammate Dickerson to follow him:
Whether he wants to hear about it or not – and whether or not he openly acknowledges its influence on his thinking – Dickerson has heard all about Northwestern’s recent flurry of touted recruiting pickups. From four-star wideout Dareian Watkins to three-star running back Auston Anderson and everyone in between, Queiro has reminded Dickerson of every new development.
“I’m just doing my best to upgrade our class,” he said via text message Friday. “We can use his help, and I can guarantee we will be in the Rose Bowl in a few years.”
Dickerson has NU in his top five, which is good news for the Wildcats, but the strength of the other members of the top five — Ohio State, Michigan, Alabama and Stanford — means Pat Fitzgerald and his staff have quite the fight on their hands. Cameron Queiro isn't Dickerson's only tie to NU. Cameron's brother, Kyle Queiro, is a member of the Wildcats' class of 2013, and Garrett's brother, Cameron Dickerson, is currently a wide receiver for NU. That's about as connected as the Wildcats could hope to be.
Dickerson won't commit anywhere for awhile, and he says all of this top five schools are even. He had some nice things to say about NU in our most recent interview with him (also linked above) regarding the family ties, the academics and this about the coaches: “I feel like they’re my coaches,” he said. “I know just about all of them pretty well.”
Offer coming for Sokol?
Northwestern doesn't have a superback in this class yet, and after in-state targets Ian Bunting and Nic Weishar headed to Michigan and Notre Dame, respectively, NU doesn't have a clear superback target. However, if NU does take a superback in the 2014 class, it could be Matt Sokol. Sokol has yet to receive an offer, but NU's coaches recently took his transcripts, and that typically means he's in the final stages before receiving an offer.
If NU does offer Sokol, they'll have some decent competition. He's from Michigan and has offer from Michigan State and Illinois. However, he has NU "very high" on his list, so the Wildcats will certainly get a decent shot with him if they decide to offer.