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Northwestern football signing day profiles 2016: Paddy Fisher

The Texas linebacker spurned in-state Baylor as well as Wisconsin in favor of Northwestern.

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QUICK HITS

POSITION: Linebacker/defensive end
HEIGHT: 6-2
WEIGHT: 225
HOMETOWN: Katy, TX
HIGH SCHOOL: Katy
247 COMPOSITE RATING: ★★★ (.8398)
NATIONAL RANK: 1105
POSITION RANK: 46
STATE RANK: 131
OTHER OFFERS: Baylor, Boston College, Colorado State, Fresno State, Houston, Iowa State, Kansas, Louisiana Tech, Maryland, UCF, Wisconsin
MORE247 Profile | Hudl | Twitter

BACKGROUND

Fisher was a bit of a surprise commit for Northwestern as the Texas native was expected by many to head to Baylor but instead turned down the in-state Bears in favor of the Wildcats.

He's a little undersized—expect him to bulk up significantly over summer workouts—but Fisher makes up for that with his instincts, especially in the running game. As the highlight video from his junior season attests (below), he seems to have a knack to plug open lanes, even against speedier running backs and quarterbacks.

In fact, his relatively light, 225-pound frame allows Fisher to be a fairly mobile linebacker (or defensive end) which is useful against spread-type offenses. It also helps him a lot in the open field, where he can keep up with runners who have a lot of real estate ahead of them. Such a versatile skillset is going to fit right in with Northwestern's athletic defense.

OUTLOOK

Fisher's 247 page lists him as both an inside linebacker and strong-side defensive end, which are both positions he could realistically play in the Wildcats' 4-3 defensive front. His speed off the edge as a defensive end could be useful for a team losing both its starters at that position—Dean Lowry and Deonte Gibson—but he could also be used at linebacker in a similar role to that of Joe Jones.

Jones is also a little undersized, like Fisher, and saw playing time this past season to give the graduating Drew Smith a breather. So, it's possible that as Jones moves up in the depth chart, that Fisher could contend to fill his vacated backup slot.