With its outstanding 2018 recruiting class inked and ready to go, Northwestern has turned fully to the 2019 crop of prospects.
Chris Collins, Brian James, and AJ Guyton took a trip to Belleville, Ill. on Tuesday for an in-home visit with EJ Liddell, the reigning Mr. Basketball and Gatorade Player of the Year in the state and a highly-touted four-star recruit.
Great home visit with Northwestern pic.twitter.com/O3rGiv6iBE— EJ Liddell (@EasyE2432) April 18, 2018
Liddell, a crazy athletic 6-foot-7, 220-pound forward, led Belleville West to the Class 4A state title this past season, knocking off Chicago powerhouse Whitney Young. He averaged 20.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 5.9 blocks (!) and 2.8 assists per game as a junior.
Naturally, there is plenty of competition for his services. Northwestern got in the game relatively late when it became his 12th offer back in December. Liddell also holds offers from Illinois, Florida (where Armon Gates is now an assistant coach/top recruiter), Ohio State, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, Marquette, Missouri, and a couple others.
247 Sports’ composite rankings give him a 0.9797 rating, good for 52nd in the country and second in the state behind only Normal, Ill. big man Francis Okoro. Rivals has him ranked 42nd. 247’s lone crystal ball projection has Liddell going to Mizzou, and Illinois and Ohio State also seem to be leading candidates. NU was his third in-home visit after the Buckeyes and Illini. As is the case for any big-time recruit with an Illini offer, hundreds of Twitter users with 50 followers and an Illinois logo for their profile picture are spamming his mentions with orange and blue diamond emojis.
Is Liddell a longshot to come to Northwestern at this point? Probably. But it’s a testament to how much Chris Collins has changed the culture and perception of the program that it’s even a possibility. Maybe he’ll be enticed by the possibility of playing with Nance, Lathon, Kopp, and Young and NU will land the Illinois Mr. Basketball winner for the first time ever. If you dare to dream, here are some highlights:
There are tons more on YouTube.
Next up for an in-home visit: Paul Mulcahy
After visiting Liddell, Collins and Co. are venturing to the northeast and Bayonne, N.J. for an in-home visit with 6-foot-4 three-star point guard Paul Mulcahy on Wednesday.
2019 PG @paulmulcahy_3 has a home visit with Northwestern tomorrow.— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 18, 2018
Mulcahy is a crafty, lightning-quick guard with great passing skills. His offer sheet includes Xavier, Virginia Tech, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Florida, UConn, and Georgia Tech, among others. Northwestern will be his fifth in-home visit, following GT, Rutgers, Xavier and UConn.
So even though he’s just a high three-star and sits outside of the top 150 in the class at the moment, per 247 Sports’ composite, Collins will have plenty of competition to land Mulcahy.
Here’s the current short list of players Collins has offered in the 2019 class.