After a "lull" in Northwestern football recruiting, the Wildcats picked up their 11th commitment for the class of 2014 on Monday. Fred Wyatt, a defensive tackle from Lawrence, Kansas, has held NU in high regard for awhile, but after a weekend visit, he pulled the trigger on an offer. This means there are only four spots left in the Wildcats' class of 2014. We have more on Wyatt's commitment below, and for a full look at the NU's recruiting picture, check out our 2014 football recruiting board. Also check out quotes from Wyatt and the Vine he made to officially announce his commitment.
For more videos, check out Wyatt's Hudl page.
School: Free State (Lawrence, KS)
Other offers: Arizona State, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Rice
Profiles: Scout, Rivals, ESPN
What's the Hype?
After a string of commits who chose Northwestern over a number of top offers, Wyatt is more of an under-the-radar player. He's a three-star prospect, and while he didn't have the same caliber offers some of his fellow commits did, he still had some solid offers, including Arizona State and Oklahoma State. It's also impressive that the Wildcats could beat out Kansas for him, considering his dad, Buddy Wyatt, is the defensive line coach at Kansas. So Wyatt's stock is rising, but he doesn't have the same kind of hype that some of NU's most recent commits. However, as the Wildcats know well, under-the-radar three-stars can still turn into star players in college, so this says nothing to Wyatt's prospects in college.
Wyatt will be NU's only player from Kansas when he gets to Evanston — the last Kansan to play for the Wildcats was Drake Dunsmore — and while the state isn't known as a hotbed for football talent, or NU recruiting, Wyatt is highly regarded in Kansas circles — he was ranked as one of the top five players in the state in the video above. Plus, he fills a need for the Wildcats, as we explain below.
Where He Fits In
It's tough to judge where players fit in so far down the road — if Wyatt redshirts, he won't even be considered for playing time until 2015, and that's so far off, we don't even know the Big Ten schedule for that year. However, we can look at relative depth at each position in regard to how NU has recruited. In that sense, the Wildcats certainly filled a need by securing Wyatt's commitment. This class has a lot of offensive skill players — a quarterback, two running backs and two wide receivers — and since the offensive line has built up a lot of depth in recent years, NU had already filled its quota at that position with two offensive linemen in this class. The focus on the final five spots will certainly shift to defense — there's a chance all five commits could be defensive players — and Wyatt started that off. He joins Ben Oxley as the second defensive tackle in this class.
Wyatt was recruited solely as a defensive tackle, but he played offensive line at times in high school. In that regard, he's similar to Oxley, who was considered as both an offensive and defensive lineman. Don't take this as a prediction that Wyatt will move to offense — he won't, he's a defensive tackle — but Pat Fitzgerald really likes to have versatile players who understand and have the skill set to play multiple positions. Presumably, Wyatt's experience on both sides of the line will be helpful in his development.
Again, it's tough to say how Wyatt can fit in at NU so far down the road. However, he's a solid player who played multiple positions, and is the son of a defensive line coach. Plus, he fills a need on the defensive line. So from the little we can tell right now, the Wildcats' coaches have to be pleased with Wyatt's commitment and how he can fit into the program down the line.