Northwestern picked up its first commitment for the class of 2015 Friday morning in the form of Texas linebacker Nathan Fox. Fox, an inside linebacker, was offered during an unofficial visit on April 7, according to 247Sports. With most of the media attention focused on the approaching union vote on April 25, it remains to be seen how the progressive actions will or will not impact recruiting. But regardless, Fox's commitment is a good start to 2015's class for coach Pat Fitzgerald and his staff.
School: Clear Lake (Texas)
Other Offers: Mississippi State, Utah, Wake Forest
What's the hype?
Fox was an all-state selection in Texas' 5A division in 2013 after recording 131 tackles during his junior season. Playing in a notoriously offense-heavy district, he was a standout on defense at Clear Lake, and scooped up multiple other awards and honors in 2013. In addition to the all-state honor, Fox was named to the MaxPreps Junior class All-America 2nd team, the Houston Chronicle All-Greater Houston 1st team, and picked up the District 24-5A Defensive MVP award as well.
Fox has been touted as possessing a size-speed combo that sets him apart from most other high school linebackers. He stands at 6-foot-2, and weighs in at 230 pounds. According to ESPN, he ran a 4.81 40-yard dash -- not bad for an inside linebacker -- and a 4.37 20-yard shuttle, which by comparison is faster than former Alabama linebacker and NFL prospect CJ Mosley.
To get a better idea of his athleticism, and how he throws his body around, just check out his highlight reel. Some of the plays in the backfield are downright ridiculous. He even apparently broke a quarterback's collarbone with a hit this past season.
Where he fits in
As with most, if not all Northwestern recruits, Fox will have to wait his turn. He's probably at least three years away from seeing the field in a Northwestern uniform, given that he won't set foot on campus until the fall of 2015.
One thing that does bode well for Fox though is his athleticism. Projecting development is tough, but Fox's natural athletic ability means he'll have multiple routes to playing time. He has been recruited as an inside linebacker, which he plays in high school, but he's probably got the skill set to play any of the three linebacker spots. He also could potentially be an impact special teams player.
The reality is, we have no idea what the linebacking corps will look like in 2015, much less in 2016 or 2017. With Collin Ellis and Chi Chi Ariguzo set to graduate after this upcoming season, there'll be no sure things at linebacker, and the outlook for the class of 2014 linebackers and any class of 2015 linebackers that might join Fox is obviously inconclusive.
Nonetheless, Fox's commitment gets the ball rolling on a 2015 class that looks to build on a highly-touted class of 2014.