Northwestern football goes home and away on signing day
BY SETH GRUEN For Sun-Times Media February 6, 2013 12:08PM
Maine South quarterback Matt Alviti looks to pass against Wheaton Warrenville South. | Patrick Gleason ~ For Sun-Times Media
Here is a list of 2013 recruits who have committed to Northwestern on National Signing Day:
Matt Alviti, qb, 6-0, 185, Maine South HS, Park Ridge, Ill.
Sam Coverdale, ot, 6-6,265, Kenston HS, Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Tom Fuessel, wr, 6-4, 185, Lincoln-Way East HS,Mokena, Ill.
Matthew Harris, cb, 5-11, 180, Lyons HS, La Grange Highlands, Ill.
Godwin Igwebuike, rb, 6-0, 190, Pickerington North HS, Pickerington, Ohio
Eric Joraskie, dt, 6-4, 260, Mount Carmel (Pa.) HS
Blake King, ol, 6-3, 250, Minooka HS, Shorewood, Ill.
Tyler Lancaster, dt, 6-3, 275, Plainfield East HS, Romeoville, Ill.
Warren Long, rb, 6-0, 180, James Logan HS, Union City, Calif.
Marcus McShepard, cb, 5-11, 185, Cleveland Heights HS, University Heights, Ohio
Xavier Menifield, rb, 5-10, 190, Sierra Canyon HS, Valencia, Calif.
Hunter Niswander, p/pk, 6-5, 210, Woodridge HS, Peninsula, Ohio.
Brad North, ol, 6-2, 280, Allen (Texas) HS
Kyle Queiro, wr/db, 6-3, 190, Bergen Catholic HS, Verona, N.J.
Jayme Taylor, te, 6-4, 225, The Woodlands (Texas) HS
Anthony Walker, lb, 6-1, 200, Monsignor Edward Pace HS, Miami, Fla.
Brett Walsh, lb, 6-1, 205, Monrovia (Calif.) HS
Keith Watkins II, cb, 5-11, 170, Archbishop Moeller HS, Cincinnati, Ohio
Macan Wilson, wr, 6-0, 185, Kinkaid HS, Houston, Texas
Updated: February 7, 2013 7:36PM
Northwestern likes to call Chicago its backyard, but when it comes to recruiting, the city tends to attract a number of trespassers.
That makes it all the more important for the Wildcats to leave their mark on Chicago’s recruiting landscape, with hopes of getting future high school stars to consider Northwestern.
After officially announcing its 2013 recruiting class Wednesday, the Wildcats might have made their biggest mark yet. Northwestern signed 19 players to letters of intent, comprising the most celebrated class in coach Pat Fitzgerald’s tenure.
“We’d love to be able to keep home every kid in Chicago,” Fitzgerald said. “That would be our priority if we could. Unfortunately, not everyone is a great fit and we’re not a great fit for everyone, and we understand that. We’re very thankful for the high school coaches here in Chicagoland and the state of Illinois and the region.
“We’ve just got great rapport and trust with that group to be able to get to build relationships to get to know their players. We were able to find a handful of guys this year that fit us, and they felt the same way about us fitting them for their future.”
Of the Wildcats’ 19 commitments, five are from the Chicago area. The class is headlined by Maine South quarterback Matt Alviti, who ranks among the country’s best dual-threat prospects at that position. Most of Northwestern’s recruits are considered to be among the top 100 at their positions.
Seventeen gave verbal commitments before the start of their senior seasons, helping Northwestern gain momentum for this year’s class. While he couldn’t talk about specific recruits targeted for the class of 2014, Fitzgerald hopes the Wildcats can achieve the same kind of results.
But the usually enthusiastic Fitzgerald held short of putting any expectations on the impact of this year’s class.
“We offer kids an opportunity to get married before we even date them,” Fitzgerald said. “We offer scholarships before we’ve ever dated them and really got to know them. So it’s really socially awkward, I guess you’d say, as far as this process is. It’s really kind of backwards in my opinion.”
While he’s eager to get to know his incoming class better, Fitzgerald said he could wait.
Fitzgerald always has been hesitant to allow a recruit to sign early and participate in spring football. He relates his own experience of playing baseball his senior year before enrolling at Northwestern as a freshman.
In fact, Fitzgerald encourages his recruits to finish their careers in spring sports before coming to Northwestern.
“When you decide to graduate early, you sacrifice a really important time of your senior year,” Fitzgerald said.
“So would we entertain it? Absolutely. But I think, number one, it takes a very mature young a man — a young man who understands the reason why he’s coming to campus and that would be to get ahead academically.”