After two of Northwestern's top 2015 recruits, Andrew and David Dowell, de-committed in late July, attention turned to how the Wildcats would replace them. While there are several options, an intriguing candidate to fill one spot is Isaac James.
James plays quarterback at Carmel (Ind.) High, but he's being recruited as a cornerback and wide receiver. Northwestern initially wanted him at CB, but James said the Dowells de-committing may have opened up a spot for him at receiver.
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound James offers top-end athleticism. At the Nike Football Training Camp in April, he posted a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash and a 36.1 vertical leap. James is also a sprinter and long jumper on his high school track team and can power clean 300 pounds, according to his high school coach.
Three schools currently sit tied at the top of James' list: Wisconsin, Indiana and Northwestern. James also pointed out that he's talking with Missouri, which he hopes to visit this fall. James, who also has offers from Illinois, Army and Navy, among other programs, made his fourth visit to Northwestern in late July.
"It was just cool, being able to see Northwestern from what the players that live there see," he told InsideNU. "So it was kind of like being an actual Wildcat without actually being one."
A meeting about academics at Northwestern helped clear up concerns James had about balancing football and a rigorous course load. James also has family in Chicago, likes the atmosphere at Northwestern and said season's 5-7 finish shouldn't be considered a setback, but "more of a learning experience" for younger, less experienced players.
"Just how lively the campus was and how close it was to downtown Chicago," James said when asked what he likes about Northwestern's campus. "Even people who weren't necessarily in college were around in the campus, so it just showed how it wasn't really a college town, but it was more like a town with a college in it."
James said he talks with either Pat Fitzgerald or wide receivers coach Dennis Springer almost every day. Though he plans to take official visits and does not know when he'll commit to a school, James said he'd like to make a decision before National Signing Day.