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Northwestern football redshirt update

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With the new redshirt rule this season, here’s a look at how many games each true freshman has played.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Northwestern Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA adopted a new redshirt rule this season, which allows players to play in up to four games in a season without using a season of eligibility. So far, eight true freshmen have played for Northwestern this season, out of 24 total true freshmen on the roster. Here’s how many games each of those eight has played this season.

Northwestern football redshirt update 10.15.18

Player Games played
Player Games played
Charlie Mangieri 6
JJ Jefferson 5
Greg Newsome II 4
Isaiah Bowser 3
Devin O'Rourke 3
A.J. Hampton 2
Drake Anderson 1
Andrew Leota 1

So far, Mangieri and Jefferson have both burned their redshirts. Greg Newsome II likely would’ve already burned his redshirt had he not gotten hurt, so expect him to play again this season and burn his shirt, assuming he can get healthy before the season ends. If he’s out for several more weeks, then it maybe becomes a question whether you play him or save the year of eligibility, but he was a starter before he got hurt, and Northwestern could certainly use him.

Devin O’Rourke is another potential question, particularly with the Wildcats’ strong depth at defensive end. With four competent defensive ends ahead of O’Rourke on the depth chart, it might make sense for Pat Fitzgerald to redshirt O’Rourke.

The running backs are also interesting. Drake Anderson looked pretty good in his debut against Michigan State, but has only played once. Isaiah Bowser has played in three games. What could force one of the backs to burn their redshirt is an injury to John Moten IV, who left the Nebraska game with an apparent leg injury. Fitzgerald said he hopes to get Jesse Brown back soon, so that could keep the freshmen backs off the field for enough games to keep their redshirt years. If I were to guess, both players redshirt with some combination of Solomon Vault, Jesse Brown and John Moten (and maybe even Chad Hanaoka!) ahead of them on the depth chart.

A.J. Hampton has played primarily on special teams, so it’s hard to say what Fitzgerald and his staff will opt to do, but in cases where it’s close, a redshirt is fairly likely.