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Former NU superback Danny Vitale making noise at Packers training camp

We love our pro ‘Cats.

Justin Jackson may not be the only former Wildcat seeing NFL carries in 2019.

According to multiple sources around the Green Bay Packers organization, former Northwestern superback Danny Vitale has impressed early on in training camp as he looks to earn first-team reps in new head coach Matt LaFleur’s offense.

First-year head coach and offensive specialist Matt LaFleur has emphasized how he wants to incorporate more multi-back sets as he looks to revamp the Packer offense, paving the way for a versatile fullback/tight end guy like Vitale to contribute in his second season with Green Bay.

“I just think we’re one of the few offenses that will utilize the fullback outside of those short-yardage, goal-line situations. I just think it gives you some flexibility from an offensive perspective in terms of trying to take advantage of whatever the defense is presenting you with. It just gives you more options,” — head coach Matt LaFleur

The 6-foot-4, 239 pound fullback’s NFL career has been relatively quiet thus far as he enters his fourth season in the league. After the Buccaneers selected Vitale in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, he failed to make the team’s roster, eventually ending up with the Browns for his rookie season.

In two seasons with Cleveland, Vitale saw action in 24 games, racking up a combined total of 8 catches for 48 yards. A calf injury in the early part of the 2018 season led to the Illinois native being waived by the Browns, and the Packers claimed Vitale off waivers midway through last season. He caught just one pass in Green Bay for two yards in 2018.

But the former NU star and fan favorite seems poised to take the next step of his NFL career based on early training camp buzz and reports.

As you can see, his first-year head coach is rumored to love the versatility Vitale brings to the table — a versatility that was well on display in his four years in Evanston. The superback hauled in 135 catches for 1427 yards in his Northwestern career, lining up in virtually every wideout location imaginable in addition to being one of the ‘Cats top run blockers out of the backfield. Vitale caught 11 touchdowns in his four seasons with the ‘Cats.

On a more general note, the Northwestern-Green Bay pipeline is legit. Vitale’s former NU teammates Tyler Lancaster and Dean Lowry have each made huge strides in proving themselves on the defensive side of the ball for the Packers, and let’s not forget that former Northwestern athletic director Mark Murphy currently serves as the team’s President and CEO.

Expect to catch all three former ‘Cats in action for the Pack as they open preseason play this Thursday against the Texans at Lambeau Field. We’ll be watching!