Big Ten Snapshots
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This is a good class so far, numbers wise, and considering who they have beaten for some of these kids. The Wildcats are going back to areas they have recruited well in before, obviously their home state, but also Pennsylvania and Texas. They have spread it around more this year though, as the 13 commits come from seven different states.
There are a couple who could fall into this category, but the first one, running back Malin Jones, is our pick for the biggest. He had Illinois, Iowa and Louisville offers, and he could have gotten more had he not committed last October. To get a 6'0, 205-lb back from a great program with other BCS offers that early was a great recruiting job.
One that Got Away:
Four-star offensive lineman Dan Voltz had given the Wildcats a strong look, but opted for conference foe Wisconsin.
One of the other headliners in this class right now is defensive end Dean Lowry from Rockford (Ill.) Boylan Central Catholic. The 6'5, 230-lb Lowry had offers from Iowa, Illinois, and several others and the Wildcats again beat their Big Ten rivals for a commitment.
This is a really good offensive line class so far. Guard prospect Ian Park chose the Wildcats over six other BCS offers. Offensive tackle Kenton Playko had offers from Cincinnati, West Virginia, Indiana and others. The Wildcats beat Michigan, Boston College, Virginia, and others from tackle Eric Olson, and Adam DePietro spurned Boston College, Pittsburgh, Michigan State and more to become a Wildcat. Fellow Pennsylvania product Connor Mahoney had a couple of FBS offers and completes what is a strong position group. Great recruiting work to get these types of kids in.
Tight end Jack Schwaba had a few BCS offers as well. He played in a run heavy offense and will come in ready to go as a blocker.
The Wildcats have done a good job identifying some sleepers as well that we think can make impacts. Plano (Ill.) safety Joseph Jones was on his way to being a hot name in recruiting, but an injury took him off the radar. The Wildcats found this big, 6'2, 185-lb athlete and offered him. He appears recovered from the injury, as he clocked one of the better forty times at a recent combine. Wheaton Warrenville South's Dan Vitale has big game experience, and is a smart, heady kid with good size that can play either safety spot or potentially even grow into a linebacker.
We believe the Wildcats uncovered a good one in wide receiver Mike McHugh, as well. The 6'2 McHugh flashes on tape with his ability to separate, his smoothness, body control and great ball skills. He looks like a great fit for the Northwestern offense.
Safety Dwight White is not real big at 165-lbs, but plays bigger. He is willing in run support and is a very sure tackler. The Wildcats also snagged a long snapper in Chris Fitzpatrick.
It appears as though in-state lineman Ryan Ward is headed elsewhere, but as we mentioned previously, this offensive line class is pretty good already. That said, another tackle is a possibility.
One of the top prospects on the board is Centerville (Ohio) defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo. He is a great athlete with a host of offers, and says Northwestern is still very much in the mix. In-State defensive lineman Faith Ekakitie would be a great pull. He has a lot of offers, but Northwestern, because of athletics and academics, remains in the hunt for him.
A quarterback has not committed in this class yet, although the Wildcats are on the outside looking in for some of their offered signal callers. Depending on what happens at next week's camp, there could be new offers handed out at the position.
Another running back is a possibility too. Traveon Henry from Florida, took a visit to Evanston and that kept the Wildcats in his top group. Cleveland Rhodes' Lakeith Walls, who could also be a linebacker, appears to be nearing a decision.
Louisville Central's speedy Anthony Wales also says Northwestern is high on his list.