Thanks for leaving, Har-bro.
Class canceled! But we stay hustlin' the snow, and furthermore, we still hustle in the snow.
Quite frankly, I don't pay attention to recruiting, because its creepy and they'll be at NU eventually, but for one day, I'll write a post about the 17 guys who said they'll be playing at NU next year. RUSH NORTHWESTERN FOOTBALL.
Signing day at NU is never that fascinating - we never have any guys we don't sign if they've committed and are rarely up for guys who hold out this late. Errbody who said they'd go NU did, so, that's great.
NU got 15 3-star recruits and two 2-star recruits - not a great class, by anybody's standards, even NU, but it's on par with what NU has been doing.
Let's go position by position:
Offensive line (4): Jack Konopka, Matt Frazier, Shane Mertz, Jeff Mogus
Graduated: Keegan Grant
Need: The o-line was spotty this year, but it was also very young. All five starters - Grant was a semi-starter, semi-backup at right guard - will be back.
Playability: None of these guys will play as freshman. The only o-lineman I can recall playing off the bat was Patrick Ward, also NU's only four-star recruit in recent years.
Jack Konopka (Inverness, Ill., 3 stars)
Notable offers: Oregon, Illinois, Purdue, Duke, Cincinnati
About him: Konopka was recruited by a lot of schools for his tight end talents - he had three touchdowns his senior year and played in the "USA vs. the World" game as a tight end - but eventually decided on NU over Purdue to play offensive line.
Shane Mertz (Hazlet, N.J., 3 stars)
Notable offers: Illinois, BC, West Virginia, Virginia, Rutgers, UConn, Duke
About him: He's a big boy, 6-foot-8. Which is awesome - he'll join Neal Deiters as the team's tallest player. As such, he's an offensive tackle, and was considered the 19th best player in New Jersey by Rivals. Unsurprisingly, he threw stuff for the track and field team because he's 6-foot-8 and that's terrifying.
Matt Frazier (Bourbonnais, Ill., 3 stars)
Notable offers: Memphis, Northern Illinois, Central Michigan, a bunch of I-AA schools
About him: The guard was considered the nation's 32nd best but didn't draw any major conference offers. He played o-line and d-line in high school, which is pretty customary, and made Tom Lemming's all-area team.
Geoff Mogus (Lorain, Ohio, 3 stars)
Notable offers: Illinois, West Virginia, Vanderbilt, pretty much the whole MAC
About him: Mogus was an all-Midwest offensive guard per Rivals and played in the Ohio vs. Pennsylvania game. P.S., Rivals has access to kids' GPA's? That's overwhelmingly creepy. Mogus: 3.88.
Wide receiver (3): Cameron Dickerson, Christian Jones, Pierre Youngblood-Ary
Need: NU seems to not care whether or not its wide receivers should be good, they just end up having spectacular seasons. This year, it was pretty much the Jeremy Ebert show, but the Cats have young talent in Rashad Lawrence, Venric Mark, and Tony Jones who should improve over the next few years.
Playability: Last year, NU burned three wide receiver redshirts because they were all good athletes and NU needed players. Stewart's loss isn't as big as I might have imagined coming into the year - he didn't have the senior campaign we might have hoped - so I'd be surprised if NU's wide receiver rotation isn't very, very similar to the one we saw last year. All three of these guys are 6-foot-3, so, that's size that NU seems to always be kind of lacking at the wide receiver spot.
Christian Jones (Houston, Texas, 3 stars)
Notable offers: Stanford, Arkansas, Baylor, Texas Tech, Kansas, Kentucky, Iowa State, Harvard
About him: The only one of these three Rivals considers to be among the top 100 in the nation, a lot of schools were probably scared off after he tore his ACL in practice, essentially ruining his senior campaign. He came back but was only able to play three games and record ten catches. However, he came back, which is a good sign. He is the second Christian and fourth Jones on NU's roster.
Pierre Youngblood-Ary (Orlando, Fla., 3 stars)
Notable offers: Rice, Navy, Colorado State, Memphis
About him: By far the most intriguing name on NU's signing day list, mainly because his last name is "Youngblood-Ary" Pierre went by "Xavier Youngblood-Ary" for most of the recruiting process, but in a surprise twist, appears to have asked NU to go with "Pierre", his middle name. You'll be disappointed at first seeing he only had nine catches his senior year, but it's aight: his team ran the option, so it wasn't a passing-based offense, and when they did pass, he had 296 yards and four touchdowns. He captained basketball and track teams in high school
Cameron Dickerson (New Milford, N.J., 3 stars)
Notable offers: Indiana, Vanderbilt, Duke, Akron, Harvard
About him: Damn, we stole Harvard's wide receiving corps. Dickerson was Rivals all-Atlantic (whatever that means) and lit up opponents for eight TD's his senior year.
Defensive end (3): Max Chapman, Deonte Gibson, C.J. robbins
Need: Sometimes it doesn't seem like NU has anything going up front. Sometimes, they actually don't. NU was very weak against the rush all season long and outside of Vince Browne, didn't get much pressure on the quarterback. Browne is now a senior, so the line is definitely a place that needs work. NU didn't sign any defensive tackles to replace Corbin Bryant, so the onus for stopping the struggles up there is on Jack DiNardo, Niko Mafuli, and now-sophomore Will Hampton.
Playability: NU is pretty open at the defensive end position on the other side of Browne - I feel like there will be competition for those spots these guys could factor into.
Max Chapman (Ponta Vedra, Fla., 3 stars)
Notable offers: Stanford, West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Syracuse, Duke
About him: Chapman was considered the 54th best defensive end in the country by ESPN. He played on the weak side in addition to playing tight end and long snapper. He was on the track team in the 100-yard dash, which is a good sign for a defensive end, and apparently was on the HIspanic Honor Society in high school, continuing Aroldis' trend of being Hispanic and named Chapman as well as my grandfather's trend of being Hispanic and named Max. (p.s. NUsports, if you put things in their player bios, I will comment on them.)
Deonte Gibson (Lakewood, Ohio, 3 stars)
Notable offers: Pittsburgh (decommitted), Stanford, West Virginia, Kansas, Louisville, Cincinnati
About him: After Wannstache got eliminated from his job at Pitt, Gibson reopened his recruiting, deciding on NU last week. The defensive end is No. 44 in the nation at that spot and second-team all-state in Ohio. He was a teammate of Magus and played in the same Ohio-Pennsylvania thing as him. 22 sacks his senior season, yikes.
C.J. Robbins (LaSalle Ill., 3 stars)
Notable offers: Indiana (decommitted), Minnesota, Northern Illinois, Central Michigan
About him: Keep changing coaches, other teams! It lets us take your players. Robbins isn't nationally ranked or anything but was honorable mention all-state in Illinois.
Running back (2): Jordan Perkins, Treyvon Green
Need: One of NU's biggest on the roster: NU went by committee last year, and it was scary and confusing as NU never decided on who their best running back was ever. Mike Trumpy defaulted into being the ballcarrier a lot of the time. And there's nobody there that has shown any signs of emerging as NU's best running back.
Playability: If you're good, we'll play you at running back. Or even if you're not. NU has played true freshmen at running back each of the last two years, and that will likely continue as nobody is guaranteed carries at all.
Jordan Perkins (Lodi, Calif., 3 stars)
Notable offers: Stanford (decommitted), UTEP, Fresno State
About him: Keep changing coaches, everybody! After Harbaugh left Stanford, NU had a shot at the nation's No. 31 running back, according to Tom Lemming. It's a pretty big get for NU since it happened so late in the recruiting game - he'll probably get carries next year. In seven games his senior season, he rushed for over 1,000 yards including a 266-yard, 3-touchdown player performance. He was a rare four-sport athlete, which just seems like it takes too much time. 5-foot-11, 177 actually isn't a bad build for an NU running back, nor is a 4.53 40 time.
Treyvon Green (Mesquite, Texas, 2 stars)
Notable offers: Wake Forest, Memphis, North Dakota, Louisiana-Monroe
About him: NU was one of only three I-A schools to offer the 5-foot-9 back. He was actually three stars according to ESPN, but Rivals had him at two. He was an all-district selection after running for nearly 1,500 yards his senior year in addition to 19 touchdowns. The list of schools offering him is the least similar group of colleges of all time.
Cornerback (2): Jarrell Williams, Nick VanHoose
Graduating: Justan Vaughn
Need: I know I said NU looked weak against the rush, but they also looked weak against the pass. Things went questionably, although Jordan Mabin had a very good year on one side.
Playability: NU will probably look to who they already have in-house to replace Vaughn at one starter spot, even though the players they have on roster - Demetrius Dugar, Jeravin Matthews - haven't had much time there. I just get the sense it's a spot that you need to put in your time to earn time at, and would be surprised if NU went way out of its way to play Williams or VanHoose, neither of whom is the star of the recruiting class.
Jarell Williams (Robbins, Ill., 3 stars)
Notable offers: Minnesota, BC.
About him: The No. 22 player in the state and 53rd best cornerback in the country, Williams had two pick-sixes his senior year - in addition to six as a running back. His government name is Jason Williams but he'll go by his middle name, Jarell, to avoid the legacy of motorcycle crashes, murder, and bad white man tattoos associated with that name.
Nick VanHoose (Urbana, Ohio, 2 stars)
Notable offers: Indiana (decommitted), Ball State
About him: The second of two 2-star athletes, VanHoose - one word, get used to it - continues in the tradition of FIRE YOUR COACHES EVERYBODY so NU can recruit them. His main talent in high school, like Williams, was running back. Not surprising, considering with a 4.4 40 time, he's the fastest player NU signed. He gained 1,495 yards with 15 touchdowns, but at 6-foot-nothing, apparently most schools saw him as a DB.
Quarterback (1): Zach Oliver
Playability: Persa, Watkins, Colter, Siemien ahead of him - it would take three injuries to burn his shirt.
Zach Oliver (Baton Rouge, La., 3 stars)
Notable offers: Tulane, Tulsa, Western Kentucky, Arkansas State
About him: He's 6-foot-4, which means I want him to play quarterback right away. He's the No. 26 pro-style quarterback in the country, according to Rivals, and won the MVP of two all-star games after graduating. No other real offers is always scary, but he has the high school stats and NU tends to pick em well at the quarterback spot.
Linebacker (1): Drew Smith
Graduated: Quentin Davie, Nate Williams
Need: Welp, Davie and Williams are gone. They'd held things down at linebacker, well, ever since I got to NU, so, three years now, and NU will have to find people to replace them. They've got a lot already in-house though - Bryce McNaul, Ben Johnson, David Nwabuisi, Roderick Goodlow, Damien Proby - they'll find people.
Playability: Despite the graduation, there's a lot of depth at linebacker. Smith might see some depth chart action, depending on how good NU's second-stringers are, but probably not as a freshman.
Drew Smith (Cincinnati, Ohio, 3 stars)
Notable offers: Cincinnati (decommitted) Stanford, Minnesota, Marshall
About him: Keep decommitting, bros. Smith isn't nationally ranked in his spot at OLB, but was all-conference and played in the stupid Ohio Pennsylvania thing I'm tired of writing about.
Superback (1): Mark Szott
Graduated: Josh Rooks
Need: Not really. Drake Dunsmore still can't be tackled. Without Rooks, they will be looking for a tight end-esque guy, though, which Szott is.
Playability: Probably not as a freshman - superbacks don't get on the field enough to necessitate a burnt shirt.
Mark Szott (Naperville, Ill., 3 stars)
Notable offers: Northern Illinois, Air Force, Ball State, Central Michigan, Marshall, Illinois State
About him: He's 6-foot-4 and played tight end in high school, so he might be Josh Rooks 2.0. In three years, he had 47 catches and no touchdowns (apparently, either that or they just forgot to put it in) so I'll just go out on a limb and pretend he's the best blocker of all time. He also played basketball and was captain of the baseball team, so there's that.