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: Offensive Tackle
HOMETOWN: Oak Park, IL
HIGH SCHOOL: Oak Park and River Forest High School
247 COMPOSITE RATING: ★★★ (.8519)
NATIONAL RANK: 833
POSITION RANK: 87
STATE RANK: 18
OTHER OFFERS: Central Michigan, Cincinnati, Colgate, Connecticut, Eastern Michigan, Harvard, Illinois, Illinois State, Iowa State, Miami (OH), Minnesota, N.C. State, Nevada, Rutgers, Syracuse, Western Michigan, Yale
MORE: 247 Profile | Hudl
Northwestern was actually a little late on local product Lemke-Bell, as the Wildcats were the 9th team to offer him. However, just over two weeks after receiving the offer, Lemke-Bell committed to NU over multiple other Big Ten, ACC and Big 12 programs.
He was, interestingly enough, the first Chicago-area Class of 2015 prospect to commit to NU and was the Wildcats' 11th commitment of their class. When asked about his decision to stay home for school, Lemke-Bell told 247's Steve Wiltfong: "I'm just so honored and humbled to become a part of a great tradition and to have an opportunity to leave a legacy at one of the best schools in the world."
As you can see in one of his highlight videos, Lemke-Bell is not a huge physical specimen on the line by any means, but he's pretty quick up front, which makes him versatile. However, in the rough Big Ten where big defensive linemen like Ohio State's Joey Bosa and Iowa's Louis Trinca-Pasat are the norm not the exception, his lack of size could be a problem.
NU is losing two key offensive linemen in Brandon Vitabile and Paul Jorgensen but the Wildcats have enough returners making it unlikely Lemke-Bell will see much time there in the next few seasons. It'll be interesting to see if he, at around 6-5, 255 points, stays at o-line or possibly moves somewhere else on the field.
This is pure speculation, but that body size would be perfect at tight end, or superback in Pat Fitzgerald's system. Current starting superback, Dan Vitale, will be a senior in the 2015 season, meaning the position is going to be opened up in 2016 and beyond. Lemke-Bell has some inches and pounds on Vitale but as we've seen in the NCAA and NFL in recent seasons, big tight ends have been incredibly successful.
Obviously, we don't know how good Lemke-Bell is at catching the football and that might not matter if he bulks up to look more like the prototypical lineman. But, it's a possibility for a Northwestern team that is looking for any sort of edge it can get as it tries to get back to a bowl game.