In continuing our summer football coverage, we are counting down Northwestern’s Top 10 most important players in 2022. We’ve created a composite averaging the rankings of each of our staffer’s respective lists, revealing who we believe to be the most crucial to the Wildcat’s upcoming success.
However, we know that is up for interpretation. For some, it could mean the value of one player over his backup. It could mean players in crucial roles. It could also mean players who have underperformed and need to step up.
Only one thing is known: no two lists from our staff members are the same. That’s why for each player, we’ll have at least one member break down their placement for the aforementioned player.
No. 7, RB Cam Porter
Bradley Locker (Not Ranked)
After posting just eight total carries through Northwestern’s first six contests in 2020, Porter absolutely exploded onto the scene. The first-year single-handedly powered the Wildcats to a win over Illinois with a 24-carry, 142-yard, two-touchdown day; he followed it up with performances of 16 carries/61 yards/one touchdown against Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game and 33 carries/98 yards/one score vs. Auburn in a Citrus Bowl win.
NU fans were eager to see Porter’s second act in the purple and white, but the running back suffered a season-ending lower-leg injury during training camp last August. In Porter’s stead, sophomore Evan Hull more than rose to the occasion, amassing 1,273 scrimmage yards and nine TDs.
I didn’t rank Porter on my top 10 list given the uncertainty surrounding his injury as well as around Pat Fitzgerald’s plans to ease in the junior given his time away from the playing field. We should know more soon about how offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian anticipates utilizing Hull, Porter and the rest of NU’s stampede of RBs.
Nevertheless, Porter, if healthy, can uniquely impact the ‘Cats’ offense, as he did in the final stages of 2020. Switching to No. 4, Porter is assuredly ready to revitalize what was a stellar 2020 campaign — Northwestern very much may need to rely upon him as a bell cow as it did two years ago.