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Enrolling early: what it’s like?

Northwestern has five early-enrollees this year, the most in program history.

NCAA Football: Purdue at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The adjustment from high school to college is a huge one. This season, five football recruits opted to enroll at Northwestern after winter break to take classes and get ahead on learning the playbook and practicing with the team. We were lucky to catch up with four of the five early-enrollees (sorry, Andrew Leota!). Here’s what they had to say after finishing up spring ball.

Greg Newsome, CB

  • On the decision to enroll early:“For me it was a pretty hard decision. I’m missing out on a prom and all the senior festivities going on at my school. I had to think what was best for me. Coming here I knew I could maybe play early, so I thought this was a great decision, for me to enroll early.”
  • On the possibility of redshirting: “Well I don’t wanna redshirt. I don’t plan on redshirting, but it’s whatever the team wants me to do.”
  • On what surprised him about Northwestern: “What surprised me were the classes. Coming in I thought they were going to be really, really tough, but they’re manageable as long as you manage your time well.”
  • On the football adjustment: “I’ve been pretty banged up. My first practice, it was pretty fast. IMG is pretty fast, but it doesn’t compare to college at all. Route recognition, play calls, everything goes way faster than in high school.”
  • On his playing style: “I’m a physical, man-to-man corner, I feel like I’m smart on the field and I can make plays.”
  • On how the new facility impacts recruiting: “I think with the addition of the new facility, I don’t think there’s a team that’s going to be able to beat us. We have the players, now we have the facility, we have an edge in recruiting on most teams, because that was one of the problems with a lot of people, just the facilities and the weight room, so now I think with the addition of the new facility we can beat a lot of teams.”

Isaiah Bowser, RB

  • On the adjustment to life at NU: “At first it was real tough, coming in. I wasn’t really used to the area, but a lot of the older guys helped me out a lot. But once it came to football, I mean, the weight room was the same old thing. Once we got to spring ball it was tough because learning a new offense and all that stuff. After a couple practices I got it going.”
  • On student life at NU: “The classes are obviously hard. Even the class sizes, like in high school you never have classes with 100 people, so that was an adjustment for me. The food’s pretty good, I was surprised by that.”
  • On when he realized how difficult the next level was going to be: “First day of spring ball. Just how fast it is, intense. It’s good for me.”
  • On redshirting: “I don’t plan on redshirting. I came here to play, but I just wanna help the team with whatever they need.”
  • On the advantage he has after enrolling early: “Now that I got a good look at the offense, I’ll be able to play earlier in the fall.”

Jeremiah McDonald, S

  • On when decided to enroll early: “During the middle of the spring I decided.”
  • On the toughest part about enrolling early: “Definitely just picking it all up halfway through my senior year, just saying goodbye to my friends and finishing classes early.”
  • On the adjustment to college and college football: “It was definitely a big jump. Coming in all five of us, the workouts were really hard at first. College life, going to class like that, it was difficult. Waking up early, I mean we were waking up at like 5 o’clock, but soon after, with the guys helping out and the coaches pushing us, it was a quick adjustment.”
  • On how having five early enrollees eases the burden of starting early: “It was definitely an advantage having four other guys to lean on. After practice we just hang out, talk about how we thought we did, and how difficult it was, just lifting each other up.
  • On the football adjustment: “It’s definitely been tough, especially the playbook, being a safety. Just making the calls, communicating a lot. That was tough the first half of the spring, but the second half of the spring was a lot smoother.”

Khalid Jones, LB

  • On when he knew he was going to enroll early: “I knew I was going to early enroll before I committed. I knew before my junior year I was going to early enroll, so that was way before I committed.”
  • On why he decided to enroll early: “I wanted to get some of the class credit out of the way early, just adjust to practices throughout the spring.”
  • On how he made the adjustment to college: “Everybody is so welcoming on the team that it would’ve been easy even if I was by myself. But the other four guys who came early with me definitely made it a lot easier.”
  • On the experience of enrolling earlier in general: “As a whole, everything is way harder. It’s a lot more challenging, but it just makes you better.”