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Northwestern announces graduate transfer, six walk-ons as part of 2017 class

Could any of these guys be the next Austin Carr?

247 Sports

Northwestern will add a graduate transfer and six walk-on players to its 2017 class, Pat Fitzgerald announced on Twitter Wednesday.

The most notable addition of the seven players is Joe Spivak, a two-star defensive lineman who chose to walk on to Northwestern over offers from Michigan State (!!!) and a bevy of non-Power 5 schools.


Spivak has become an Internet sensation in the few hours since National Signing Day officially started. But he’s also a really good football player, too. His accomplishments include the IHSFCA 6A All-State and Catholic Green co-defensive MVP, and Michigan State commit Kevin Jarvis said Spivak is the player he respects most.

The graduate transfer — Luke Otto — is a kicker and punter coming from Western Illinois. Otto handled all kickoff duties and had 31 touchbacks for the Leathernecks last season. With Jack Mitchell and Matt Micucci gone next season, Otto could have a real shot to be a kickoff specialist — and possibly the starting kicker — for the Wildcats, though freshman Charlie Kuhbander comes into next season with rave reviews.

The team is also adding kicker and punter Cody Gronewold — a Lincoln, NE native — as a walk-on. He committed back in November.

The train of specialists continues with long snapper Peter Snodgrass. The Wildcats actually lose longtime long snapper Chris Fitzpatrick this offseason to graduation, so the battle for long snapping duties could be one to keep an eye on.

The Wildcats have also added 6-foot-2 wide receiver Will Lansbury out of Pebble Beach, California. Though not a burner, he has good size and, hey, Austin Carr was a walk-on, so you never know.

Local product Eric Mueller was also announced as a preferred walk-on. Out of Wheaton North, Mueller attended the same school as starting quarterback Clayton Thorson. He’ll play linebacker. The Wildcats also bring in superback Alex Oelsner from Colorado. He has solid size at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, and he had offers from North Dakota, Northern Colorado and Penn, per 247.