Every one of Northwestern’s verbal commitments came with an expected social media shoulder tap from head coach Pat Fitzgerald. He wanted 2014 DT Fred Wyatt to know about the ever-growing group of talented prospects joining the Wildcats next summer, and he wanted Wyatt to be the next.
On Saturday, Wyatt obliged. He became Northwestern’s 11th commitment of 2014.
“I just really can’t say enough about the program and where it’s headed,” he said Tuesday after announcing his commitment. “It’s definitely going places."
An offer late last summer, followed by persistent contacts and reminders from Fitzgerald, defensive line coach Marty Long and receivers coach Dennis Springer kept Northwestern planted firmly on top of Wyatt’s college list right up until this weekend.
It was his third visit, and his experience rooming with defensive lineman C.J. Robbins gave Wyatt the player-to-player comfort he needed to know Northwestern was his best possible choice.
“I just felt really comfortable after spending time with all of the guys,” he said.
A recent surge of top commitments was an added component of what Wyatt sees as a huge rush of program momentum following a 10-win season, a bowl victory and an uptick in recruiting prowess.
Academics were an intergral part of his decision, as well as his bond with Fitzgerald and other coaches.
“That was the top priority I was looking for,” he said. “Academics are key.”
Before Tuesday’s official commitment, Wyatt weighed offers from Kansas, Oklahoma State, Rice and Arizona State. He becomes the fourth defensive commitment of 2014 (including safety Jordan Thomas, outside linebacker Cameron Queiro and defensive tackle Ben Oxley), and will join Ben Oxley on the interior of the defensive line.
"They were the first to offer me," he said.
From the time he receiver his offer to the above-displayed Vine-accompanied verbal commitment, Wyatt propped the Wildcats above the rest. It was up to other programs to convince the 6'4'', 260-pound DT otherwise, and no one did.