clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Counting down Northwestern’s roster: 49 to 40

It’s Paddy Fisher time.

Bowling Green v Northwestern Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

We’ve gone through Northwestern’s most important players, positional previews, and opponent breakdowns. Now, as the season creeps closer, we’re counting down the roster, 99 to 1. We’ll provide biographical information, stats, and an outlook for each player’s role headed into 2018.

Our series now moves to the 40s, where we meet some key members of the Wildcats’ Defensive/Special Teams units.

49 Jake Collins

P | 6-foot-1, 210 lbs. | Graduate transfer | Louisville, Ky.

Likely Role in 2018: Starting punter

A graduate transfer out of Western Kentucky, Collins should assume punting duties for the Wildcats this season. A three-time member of the Ray Guy Award Watch list while at Western Kentucky, Collins and his rugby-style punts will look to add some consistency to a punting unit that has underperformed in recent seasons.

Career Stats: Averaged 41.1 yards per punt in his three seasons with the Hilltoppers

48 Peter Snodgrass

LS | 6-foot, 208 lbs. | Redshirt freshman | Palo Alto, Calif.

Likely Role in 2018: Scout team

With current starting long snapper Tyler Gillikin only a sophomore, don't expect Snodgrass to see the field this year barring an injury.

Career Stats: None

48 Brian Kaiser

SB | 6-foot-7, 222 lbs. | Freshman | Wilmette, Ill.

Likely Role in 2018: Competing for time at superback or redshirt

The son of a former Northwestern tight end, Kaiser joins the Cats’ offensive squad as a three-star recruit and the No. 16 overall player from Illinois in the class of 2018. Given his towering height and athleticism, the three-star recruit out of New Trier could compete for playing time at the superback but will probably be no more than a backup if Fitz chooses not to redshirt him.

Career Stats: None

47 Joe Bergin

DB | 5-foot-11, 197 lbs. | Junior | Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Likely Role in 2018: Consistent special teams player

Listed as a DB on the official team roster, Bergin made his primary impact on special teams last season where he appeared in all 12 games. The junior could find himself on the defensive side of the ball given the team’s thin, inexperienced secondary, but should make himself known as a full-time member of the Cats kick and punt coverage units.

Career Stats: 15 games, 12 tackles

46 Devin O’Rourke

DE | 6-foot-6, 248 lbs. | Freshman | Mokena, Ill.

Likely Role in 2018: Redshirt

As a four-star recruit and 247 Sports’ No. 2 overall player from Illinois in the class of 2018, O’Rourke is one of the most highly-touted members of last year’s recruiting class. However, with a squad loaded with returning defensive ends this year, it’s hard to imagine a circumstance in which O’Rourke will see any action this season. He's sure to make an impact at some point during his NU career, but he’ll probably have to wait for now.

Career Stats: None

46 Troy Hudetz

LB | 6-foot-2, 220 lbs. | Sophomore | Naperville, Ill.

Likely Role in 2018: Competing for time at linebacker

Hudetz saw minimal action for the Wildcats last season as a backup linebacker and should expect a similar role given the squad’s plethora of returners at the linebacking position.

Career Stats: None

45 Nathan Fox

LB | 6-foot-2, 227 lbs. | Junior | Houston, Texas.

Likely Role in 2018: Competing for a starting linebacker position

Fox served as the backup MIKE linebacker last season and has an opportunity to earn himself more consistent playing time as uncertainty looms over who will fill the third linebacking position alongside Paddy Fisher and Nate Hall. Fox will face tough competition from other returners, but the stage is set for him to take on a starting role if he’s able to rise to the occasion.

Career Stats: 23 tackles in 24 career games.

44 James Prather

SB | 6-foot-4, 256 lbs. | Senior | Memphis, Tenn.

Likely Role in 2018: Limited role on offense and special teams

Prather should see more offensive action this season with the departure of last year’s starting superback Garrett Dickerson but is still expected to take a backseat to Cam Green at the position. He’s nursing an elbow injury at the moment, but when healthy, Prather is Northwestern’s primary superback in short-yardage situations.

Career Stats: A nine-yard reception at Wisconsin last season.

44 Khalid Jones

LB | 6-foot-1, 228 lbs. | Freshman | Greenville, S.C.

Likely Role in 2018: Competing for time at linebacker

An ESPN four-star prospect out of South Carolina, Jones turned down offers from the likes of Wisconsin, Ole Miss, and Tennessee to play for Coach Fitz. The 6-foot-1 228-pounder is without a doubt one of the top recruits in this year’s incoming class, but should see no more than a limited role at linebacker this season given the squad’s depth at the position.

Career Stats: None

43 Tyler Gillikin

LS | 6-foot-2, 217 lbs. | Sophomore | Atlanta, Ga.

Likely Role in 2018: Starting long snapper

No position battle to analyze here. Gillikin didn't miss a snap last season, going a perfect 60-for-60 on field goal and PATs and 67-for-67 on punts. Here’s to special teams consistency in 2018.

Career Stats: None

42 Paddy Fisher

LB | 6-foot-4, 241 lbs. | Sophomore | Katy, Texas.

Likely Role in 2018: Starting linebacker

Fisher burst onto the scene as just a redshirt freshman last season, anchoring the Cats and their defense to one of their most successful seasons in recent history. He became the face of the Northwestern defense that allowed just 107.7 yards per game on the ground last year, the No. 9 overall rushing defense in the country. He led the team and all FBS freshman with 113 tackles in addition to forcing four fumbles, two of which came in the team’s signature 3OT home win against Michigan State. He transformed into one of the Big Ten’s steadiest linebackers, finishing fourth overall in the conference in tackles. His importance can't be overstated. If Northwestern has any chance of repeating last year’s success, Fisher will need to produce like he did last year and become an absolute behemoth in the middle of the field.

Career Stats: 113 tackles, nine tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, one interception

41 Jared McGee

S | 6-foot-1, 226 lbs. | Senior | Mansfield, Texas.

Likely Role in 2018: Starting safety

McGee has spent the past few seasons in the shadow of former standout safeties Kyle Quiero and Godwin Igwebuike, but will be forced to assume a much larger role in the Cats’ secondary this year as the only upperclassmen safety on the roster. McGee has proved a reliable backup in the past, but with an inexperienced group behind him, McGee will have to learn how to become a solid every down safety as well as a leader for whoever lines up next to him.

Career Stats: Three starts, 69 tackles, three interceptions, one forced fumble

40 Peter McIntyre

LB | 6-foot-2, 229 lbs. | Redshirt freshman | Perrysburg, Ohio

Likely Role in 2018: Competing for time at linebacker

A former three-star prospect out of Ohio, McIntyre is an outside linebacker who did it all in high school, featuring as a linebacker, safety, running back, wide receiver and kicker for his high school squad. Northwestern is deep at the linebacking position this year, meaning McIntyre has a tough task ahead of him if he wants to earn regular playing time this season.

Career Stats: None