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.
HOMETOWN: Cordele, GA
HIGH SCHOOL: Crisp County High School
247 COMPOSITE RATING: ★★ (.7959)
NATIONAL RANK: 2,090
POSITION RANK: 185
STATE RANK: 200
OTHER OFFERS: Georgia Southern
MORE: 247 Profile | Hudl
Northwestern's class was all set until defensive end Zach Allen decommitted last week, meaning the Wildcats had one more scholarship to hand out before National Signing Day. NU had already told defensive back Tyson Cisrow — who ended up choosing Utah over Georgia Tech — that its class was full, despite being Cisrow's top choice, so it was back to the drawing board.
However, Pat Fitzgerald and his staff filled the empty spot quickly, offering and sealing the commitment of two-star Georgia safety Montre Hartage. Hartage is NU's lowest-rated recruit, according to the 247 industry composite (though 247 does rate him as a three-star), and his lone other offer was Georgia Southern. It's fair to say most college coaches didn't see Hartage as a Power Five prospect, but GSU is arguably the best program in the Sun Belt and considerably better than many of the MAC schools the Wildcats will pull prospects from.
Just because Hartage got a late offer doesn't mean he doesn't have a chance to succeed. Last year, after the late decommitment of Hamilton Anoa'i, NU extended a late offer to defensive end Xavier Washington, who many big programs skipped over because they thought he was undersized. However, Washington played as a true freshman and showed the burst and athleticism to be a very good prospect down the road.
Hartage also played wide receiver in high school, and on his tape, he shows very good ball skills. He also shows that he has good vision and some big hitting ability, despite maybe not having top-flight speed. He could play the Nick VanHoose type role opposite a faster player like Matthew Harris.
NU's cornerback depth chart is pretty set right now. VanHoose and Harris both return, as do Keith Watkins, Marcus McShepard and former top recruit Parrker Westphal. With those five, NU looks pretty set, and unless things go terribly wrong, Hartage will probably follow the typical path of NU players and redshirt.
However, NU has had some bad injury luck at corner, so you never know what can happen. If cornerback depth is hurt as bad this year as it was last year, then NU may need the services of Hartage or fellow 2015 corner recruit Alonzo Mayo. NU is also known to switch players' positions, so there's always the chance Hartage could switch to wide receiver, though the Wildcats have a ton of receivers in this class.
Given the depth at corner, it seems likely that it will be awhile until we see Hartage on the field. When we do, the Wildcats will hope he's their next big defensive playmaker.