Most high school seasons have come to a close across the nation, and for Northwestern, that means 18 commits in the 2017 class have played their final game in a high school setting. Here’s how they finished up, starting on the offensive side of the ball:
Quarterback Andrew Marty (Wyoming, OH)
Marty, who flipped from Miami (OH) to Northwestern back in April, broke his leg in his junior year but came back and had an incredible senior campaign, throwing for 43 touchdowns, rushing for seven more and only throwing four interceptions. He was first-team Division IV all-state member, a Cincinnati Hills League Athlete of the Year and the Southwest Ohio Offensive Player of the Year. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound gunslinger’s highlight package possesses fantastic athleticism at the quarterback position and a big arm. His career came to an end in the regional final.
Wide receiver Kyric McGowan (Dalton, Georgia)
McGowan, who committed in July, did a little bit of everything for his team, playing as a wide receiver, running back and cornerback. The Catamounts of Dalton High School went to the Georgia 6A semifinal, rolling up a ton of eye-popping numbers before eventually succumbing to the state champs, Valdosta, 27-6. On the season, McGowan ran 34 times for 165 yards and three touchdowns, caught 37 passes for 662 yards and seven touchdowns, and posted 21 tackles and two interceptions. As you can see in his highlight reel, McGowan is just a bully after the catch and has solid speed.
WR Berkeley Holman (St. John Bosco, California)
Holman gave us a couple great highlights on national TV back in August and didn’t stop there, as he compiled 43 catches for an astounding 1024 yards (23.8 yards per catch) and 11 touchdowns so far this season. He’s is not only a deep threat — he ran a 4.52 40-yard dash per the Los Angeles Times — for St. John Bosco, but he can do some pretty impressive stuff after the catch, too, as you’ll see in his highlight video. He’s also a kick and punt returner and has several return touchdowns. The Braves aren’t done with their season yet, though: They’ll face De La Salle in the California Interscholastic Federation Open Division Championship this Saturday in Sacramento.
WR Jace James (Glenbard North, Illinois)
James, a local product, committed to Northwestern in mid-June and had a fine senior season on both sides of the ball, earning first-team all-state honors from the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association, the Chicago Tribune, the News-Gazette and EDGYTIM.com. Also a DuPage County first-teamer, James posted 11 interceptions defensively, caught 47 passes for 1019 yards and five touchdowns and averaged 35 yards per kick return. The Daily Herald also said that he’s a great blocker, which is important in Northwestern’s offense. His season came to an end in early November with a 34-28 loss to eventual state champion East St. Louis in the second round of the state playoffs. He hasn’t posted 2016 season highlights yet, but here’s a glimpse of what he can do.
SB Trey Pugh (Jonathan Alder, Ohio)
Pugh committed back in April and will start at Northwestern this winter as an early enrollee. A few weeks after deciding to enroll early, he got injured, though, so much of his rehab will be done under the supervision of the Northwestern medical staff. He has fantastic size (6-foot-6, 230 pounds) and simply dominated high school competition. Despite his season being cut short, Pugh was a member of both the All-Mid Ohio Athletic Conference Football first team as well as the AP 2016 All-Ohio Division IV second team.
OG Rashawn Slater
Slater was one of the earliest commits, picking the Wildcats in January. One of the nation’s top guards, Slater stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 290 pounds, so he’ll be coming to Evanston with impressive size. He was simply dominant at the Texas 6A level (a first-team all-district lineman), showing the ability to move outside to play tackle as well as play on the defensive side of the ball.
C Sam Gerak (Avon, Ohio)
The son of a five-year NFL vet, Gerak committed in December 2015 and proceeded to have an award-filled senior season. A top-10 center nationwide, Gerak was named to the All-Ohio Division II second team, the Northeast Ohio Lakes All-District Division II first team and an honorable mention for the coveted Golden Helmet award. He drew high praise from coaches, his own and opposing alike. At 6-foot-4 and 290 pounds, Gerak has really good size.
OT Ethan Wiederkehr (Shoreham-Wading River, New York)
Wiederkehr (6-foot-6, 285 pounds) committed in June as the third lineman in the class. He helped Shoreham-Wading River win its third consecutive Long Island championship this season and was awarded the Bob Zellner Award (for top lineman in the county) and Rob Burnett Defensive Player of the Year Award, proving to be a dominant force on both sides of the ball.
K Charlie Kuhbander (Springboro, Ohio)
Kuhbander committed in June and talked to us about his choice just a few days later. One of the top kickers in the nation, Kuhbander was a second-team All-Ohio Division I performer. He was also first-team all-district. The all-time points leader in Ohio high school football history, his highlight tape is pretty impressive.
Tomorrow, we’ll get to the defensive side of the ball.