POSITION: Wide receiver
WEIGHT: 180 pounds
HOMETOWN: Brownsburg, Ind.
HIGH SCHOOL: Brownsburg
247 COMPOSITE SCORE: .8810
NATIONAL RANKING: 491
POSITION RANKING: 62
STATE RANKING: 7
OTHER OFFERS: Notre Dame, Boston College, Cincinnati, Duke, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Michigan State, Pitt, Purdue, Syracuse
Kirtz committed to Northwestern back in May, and he’s the top recruit in Northwestern’s 2019 class, per 247 Sports’s composite. Kirtz played high school football with Hunter Johnson, the Clemson transfer who figures to start at quarterback for the Wildcats next season. Kirtz had 52 catches for 811 yards and 11 touchdowns as a sophomore with Johnson throwing him the ball at Brownsburg.
At six feet tall, Kirtz doesn’t have elite size, but he’s a precise route-runner with elite speed (the double-move at the 1:46 mark in his highlight tape is just silly). He’s a game-breaker with yards after the catch, and he can take the top off of the defense by going deep. He scored 37 touchdowns in three seasons on varsity, and his receiver numbers improved each year. This past season, he had 59 catches for 969 yards and 12 touchdowns. Kirtz also lined up at running back at times, which could provide an interesting wrinkle in Northwestern’s offense.
Kirtz was a major recruiting coup for Pat Fitzgerald, and he’s the most explosive receiver to commit to Northwestern out of high school in a while. He’s part of a talented class of wideouts that could make the Wildcats’ offense more dynamic in the next few years, and having an already-established rapport (at least of some sort) with Hunter Johnson shouldn’t hurt. Most of Northwestern’s receivers return next season, though Flynn Nagel and Charlie Fessler will be gone, so there will be opportunities for other players to step up. Based on where he’s ranked, Kirtz should compete for snaps right away.