Jordan Thompson Jared Thomas Joe Gaziano Trent Goens Nathan Fox Simba Short John Moten Cameron Green Adam Lemke-Bell Tommy Vitale Montre Hartage Flynn Nagel Charlie Fessler Trae Williams Jelani Roberts Alonzo Mayo Steven Reese Andrew Otterman Lloyd Yates Jacob Murray
Following a relatively quiet offseason, Northwestern's football program will welcome members of its 2015 recruiting class to the program on Feb. 4 for National Signing Day. Even with de-commitments from some of the Wildcats' top targets, Pat Fitzgerald and co. still managed to put together a solid class. As of now, Northwestern's crop of new talent ranks 47th nationally, according to 247 Sports, the same rank they had last year. We'll be putting out player capsules like these in the lead up to National Signing Day so you can learn more about this new bunch of Wildcats.
POSITION: Defensive Tackle
HOMETOWN: Cincinnati, Ohio
HIGH SCHOOL: LaSalle
247 COMPOSITE RATING: ★★★ (.8776)
NATIONAL RANK: 413
POSITION RANK: 25
STATE RANK: 21
OTHER OFFERS: Boston College, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Duke, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisville, Michigan State, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Toledo, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Alabama
MORE: 247 Profile | Hudl | Twitter
Jordan Thompson is, without a doubt, the highest-rated and most-important recruit in Northwestern's class. First, just start with the other schools that offered the defensive tackle. Big Ten competitors such as Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State and Minnesota all offered the interior lineman. Northwestern not only beat Notre Dame on the field in 2014, but also beat the Irish for Thompson's commitment. Even Duke, a program that has some similar qualities to Northwestern and one that recruiting staffers have had increasing difficulty recruiting against, offered Thompson but he still went Northwestern's way. And, obviously, beating out Alabama for yet another player is always fun.
But the best part about Thompson is his game tape. Wow. Just look at those first few plays. He's a vicious tackler. His explosion off the line is superb. His speed is impressive. His strength is unmatched by anyone he played against. He literally carried a dude into the endzone on his fumble recovery touchdown. If only this had some music to go with it... (put some on while you watch, it makes it better).
Thompson will need to get bigger to be an effective interior lineman in the Big Ten. Because of that, Thompson will most likely redshirt his freshman season. Over the next few years, though, Thompson could develop into an explosive interior presence, something Northwestern has lacked for years. He has the ability to get up field as a pass rusher but shows good instincts in the run game. Overall, Thompson could prove to be a great get for the Wildcats as they continue to retool their defense with young talent.