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Northwestern Early Signing Day Rundown: Linebackers

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The future for one of Northwestern’s most consistently strong position groups looks bright.

Northwestern’s class filled up yesterday, especially on the defensive end, with the national early signing period having arrived. We’ll be giving you a breakdown of the players that will be arriving in Evanston, continuing with the linebackers, who seem poised to give Northwestern some serious speed on the outside.

The Wildcats will return their three starting linebackers from this past season, but that hasn’t stopped NU from adding three exciting young pieces to an already loaded position group. Here’s a look at the three OLB commitments headed to Evanston:

Cullen Coleman

Quick Hits

POSITION: Outside linebacker

HEIGHT: 6-foot-3

WEIGHT: 220 pounds

HOMETOWN: Rye, New York

HIGH SCHOOL: Rye Country Day

247 COMPOSITE SCORE: .8756

NATIONAL RANKING: 528

POSITION RANKING: 35

STATE RANKING: 5

OTHER OFFERS: Ohio State, Alabama, Purdue, Michigan, Michigan State, Stanford

MORE: 247 Sports | Hudl | Twitter

Background

The dual threat high school running back/linebacker committed to Northwestern back in July, and is the highest rated defensive recruit in Northwestern’s 2020 class. After narrowing down his plethora of offers to Cal, Stanford, Purdue, UVA and NU, Coleman decided to come to Evanston.

Outlook

Although Coleman has the size and athleticism to compete at the collegiate level, a redshirt seems likely until we hear anything further at this point. With the news coming out earlier this week that Paddy Fisher will not declare for the NFL Draft, Northwestern will officially return its entire starting linebacking corps from this past season.

As is usually the case, Northwestern seems poised to be deep at linebacker next season, especially on the outside. In addition to the returning linebacking trio of Fisher/Gallagher/Bergin, the Wildcats will return Jaylen Rivers, Grayson Mann, Erik Mueller and Michael Jansey as outside linebacker pieces.

Xander Mueller

Quick Hits

POSITION: Outside linebacker

HEIGHT: 6-foot-2

WEIGHT: 210 pounds

HOMETOWN: Wheaton, Illinois

HIGH SCHOOL: Wheaton North

247 COMPOSITE SCORE: .8621

NATIONAL RANKING: 786

POSITION RANKING: 56

STATE RANKING: 15

OTHER OFFERS: Louisville, Air Force and virtually the entire MAC

MORE: 247 Sports | Hudl | Twitter

Background

Another brother combo is headed to Evanston! Xander committed to join his brother Erik at NU back in the spring, and he hails from the same high school as all-time NU winning quarterback Clayton Thorson. The Wheaton native is the Wildcats’ second and final scholarship linebacker of the 2020 class.

Outlook

As mentioned before, Northwestern has a stacked linebacking room that will likely make playing time hard to come by for the younger Mueller. With serious depth at outside linebacker, a redshirt seems the most plausible outcome in his freshman season.

Greyson Metz

Quick Hits

POSITION: Outside linebacker

HEIGHT: 6-foot-3

WEIGHT: 190 pounds

HOMETOWN: Glen Ellyn, Illinois

HIGH SCHOOL: Glenbard West

247 COMPOSITE SCORE: .8621

NATIONAL RANKING: 767

POSITION RANKING: 52

STATE RANKING: 12

OTHER OFFERS: Louisville, Syracuse, Iowa

MORE: 247 Sports | Hudl | Twitter

Background

Despite technically joining Northwestern as a preferred walk-on, Metz turned down interest from some serious Power Five programs to come play for Pat Fitzgerald. Hailing from the western suburbs of Chicago, the outside linebacker hasn’t followed the path of the typical PWO. Wildcat Report’s Louie Vaccher did a great job of telling his story.

Outlook

The former three-star prospect rounds out what is an overall exciting young linebacking corps the Wildcats are getting as part of this monumental 2020 class. Metz faces a steep uphill climb for playing time, but talent won’t be what keeps him off the field. He had an offer to play from Iowa, and his high school highlights showcase his great speed as well as hard-hitting ability.

Overall, the addition of Coleman/Mueller/Metz to an already strong NU linebacking unit should have fans confident that the always reliable position group is in good hands moving forward.