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Former Proviso West star Kyle Prater to visit Northwestern next week

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Updated: February 21, 2012 8:45AM

Northwestern is officially recruiting former USC and Proviso West wide receiver Kyle Prater, a team official confirmed Thursday.

And Prater confirmed to the Sun-Times that he is making an official visit to NU on Jan. 28, the only school with which Prater has scheduled a visit. Prater also said he is an academic qualifier for NU.

“Northwestern is No. 1 academically and that’s something my mom has always stressed,” said Prater, who is still in California. “And football is a great program there with [Coach Pat] Fitzgerald. He’s a very feisty guy.”

Prater had said earlier this month that Illinois and Wisconsin were also options. But Thursday Prater backed down and said he wasn’t sure if he would visit the other two schools.

Prater is a former five-star wide receiver who was the most highly recruited athlete to ever come out of Proviso West. He nearly
decommitted twice from USC after making his verbal commitment, but graduated from Proviso West early so he could enroll at USC in time for spring football.

But injuries in his freshman and sophomore years forced Prater to rethink his future. He announced he was leaving USC earlier this month so he could be closer to his family in Maywood. NU’s Evanston campus is only a 50-minute drive from Maywood, unlike Wisconsin and Illinois which are at least two-and-a-half hours away.

“My mother wears her emotions on her sleeve and I don’t like seeing her like [she was after the injuries],” Prater said. “It hurts her. I’d rather get knocked down here.”

If Fitzgerald offers Prater on Jan. 28, Prater said he would take his time to think about it, but in the end the decision will be his own.

“What I learned is to take this one day at a time,” Prater said. “I have to be 100 percent sure — no gray areas.”

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