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Jack Schwaba, Northwestern Wildcats football, No. 86

There's a role on the Northwestern Wildcats for Jack Schwaba at superback, but I guess the point we should be discussing is why we can't just call this guy a "tight end."


Boom-ba-doom-boom boom-ba-doom-boom backs its the superbacks! There's different roles and different players and we wonder why Northwestern has a stupid/super name for them, but whatever.

Jack Schwaba is a 6'4, 225-pound superback - well, really a tight end, but terminology! - for the Wildcats, and after redshirting his freshman year, we think there's a spot for him in Northwestern's gameplan, but of course we'll have to wait and see.

Origin myth

Schwaba hails from Pittsburgh, where he went to Upper St. Clair alongside fellow NU commit Ian Park. He played both ways, featuring as a 6'4, 240-pound defensive end and tight end. However, since Upper St. Clair didn't pass the ball much, he only had five receptions - two for touchdowns - his senior year. His tight end highlights video is literally the most boring three minutes you can spend - YO, FEATURE SOME MUSIC IN THE BACKGROUND, JACK

But because I don't understand how recruiting works, his strong blocking made him a modest prospect. He was the No. 62 tight end in the country per 247's composite, a consensus three-star guy. He earned offers from Rutgers, Syracuse, and Toledo before pulling the trigger on Northwestern. It should be noted his parents, grandfather, and great-grandfather went to Northwestern, so, I mean, why'd you even bother, 'Cuse.

At Northwestern

Dude redshirted his freshman year. In a weird twist, Schwaba is probably the only player I've seen thus far listed as lighter by the school than by recruiting sites - normally guys get stronger and the school probably tags on an extra pounds.

Schwaba tweets

We plan on bringing you the twitter stylings of NU players that don't have private accounts, and Jack here turns out to be the first one. Mainly a lot of lyrics to songs I like by Frank Ocean and Kanye and the like.

Anagram of choice

Discovering the Wildcats' true inner selves through spelling

Jack Schwaba, anagrammed is:


We got ourselves a Jonathan Brown pupil here. Can't wait for the Schwab to get on the field vs. Illinois. (Rejected options: Cashback jaw (refund for poor orthodontistry))

Relevant musical selection

With no songs reminiscent of the name "Schwaba," we'll jack one from his Twitter:

"Int'l Players Anthem", UGK ft. Outkast

One of my favorite songs, one of my favorite music videos, although it's extremely unfortunate this version is edited. I actually linked to this song in my first post ever here, a chopped-and-screwed version to go along with the then-site name. I'd love to spend 800 words here on how much I love this song. The sample is beautiful. The conceit - rap about an important woman to you - is especially interesting, considering two of the guys have made millions of dollars espousing pimpery. And the stylistic tendencies of the different rappers fascinate: Andre's got his halting flow which can never work over a Houston beat that works for Pimp C and Bun B.

It just all works. The beat swaps from a capella to H-Town drums when Andre's done, allowing him to do his thing: a clever, introspective verse with eight or nine off-kilter bars no other rapper can dream up, somehow twisting and winding through a cohesive story about a player-turned-married man. Then Pimp C shows why it's a tragedy he died with my favorite verse about pimpin', Bun drops an eminently catchy verse, and Big Boi closes with some funny observations about the dangers of getting gold-digged.

To me, it's rap at its finest: not too self-serious, pretty to listen to, lyrically multifaceted, intriguing to think about, and braggadocious as all hell. Like it or don't, you best appreciate it, or we can stop talking here.

How he can help

Northwestern doesn't utilize a straight blocking superback tight end often, but for short-yardage and goal line sets, they will pull in a superback to fill that role. A few years back, it was Josh Rooks. In 2011, it was Jack Konopka, but he got switched to offensive line as a sophomore. This past year, there weren't many superbacks on the roster, and even fewer were healthy, so defensive lineman Anthony Battle and offensive lineman Paul Jorgensen filled the role.

Judging from his high school experience of not being asked to catch the ball a lot, that's the role we'd expect Schwaba to fill. And considering the still-extant lack of superbacks on the roster, it's one he can fill right away. The question is whether Northwestern opts to actually use a superback/tight end in the role or pull in a player from another position to play the role like they did last year. Generally, an offensive/defensive lineman can do the job - they gotta be strong and push - and their funny numbers help catch the defense off guard if you actually send them out for a pass, which can lead to an element of surprise. Northwestern ran trick-like plays to Konopka and Jorgensen for successful passes, although one time it got called back for illegal formation. But it's also what Schwaba is there to do.

Expect Schwaba to see playing time in those roles, and maybe just once or twice break loose for a short pass. Its important to have a player who can fit well in that role, as limited as it is.

And hey!

Depth chart projection

We don't have Jack on our depth chart, but that's also because we don't have "blocking superback for short-yardage situations" as a position on our depth chart. I don't expect Schwaba to fit into the more prototypical superback roles NU has used - Drake Dunsmore's sometimes-a-blocker, sometimes-a-wide-receiver type position, which Dan Vitale will play - but do expect him to factor in as described.