With National Signing Day around the corner, I decided to see how Northwestern faired at recruiting the state of Illinois - who they offered, where their targets went, and most importantly, how they competed against the University of Illinois. The numbers I'm using come from Rivals.com, the site I feel has historically been the most accurate evaluator of talent.
This has been a slightly weaker year in terms of top to bottom talent in the state - Rivals only considers 7 in-state prospects as 4-star talents. Comparatively, there were 9 4-stars in the 2012 class, 8 4-stars in the 2011 class, and 8 5/4-stars in the 2010 class (Kyle Prater is that lone 5-star, lolz).
The following are players from the state of Illinois that received a Northwestern offer:
#2 - Ty Issac (RB) - Committed to USC. Issac is a very, very, very good prospect. While Northwestern offered, they were never really considered. Early on, Michigan looked like the team to beat for Issac's services. Then Notre Dame and USC jumped into the picture, and Issac eventually chose the Trojans, opting for warm weather, attractive ladies, and a scumbag coach. He's the #4 RB in the nation, so I guess it's a good thing we won't have to deal with him in the B1G.
#4 - Kyle Bosch (OL) - Committed to Michigan. Michigan led from the get-go - and he committed to the Wolverines nearly a year ago. I'm a big fan of Bosch's abilities - he will be a very good tackle down the line for Michigan.
#5 - Aaron Bailey (QB) - Committed to Illinois. Bailey is a pretty good quarterback prospect, and early on stated that he was leaning towards the Wildcats. However, Northwestern was only looking for one quarterback in the class, and when Matt Alviti committed on April 14, 2012, Bailey's offer may no longer have been valid. 12 days later, Bailey committed to Illinois. Both Bailey and Alviti are similar in ability - Bailey is probably faster, Alviti probably has the better arm. In a few years, we may see a Kain Colter v. Nate Scheelhaase matchup reincarnated with Alviti and Bailey.
#6 - Matt Alviti (QB) - Committed to NORTHWESTERN. The aforementioned Alviti is your typical Northwestern quarterback, with potentially more talent and definitely more hype. I like Roger's comparison to Dan Persa with a better arm. This kid is a unanimous 4 star talent, and definitely a player to get excited about. Along with the Northwestern offer, he received offers from a ton of B1G schools (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Nebraska, Purdue), and Notre Dame. After redshirting next season and an additional year spent backing up Trevor Siemian, Alviti may very well be the Northwestern starting quarterback from his redshirt-sophomore year onwards.
#11 - Colin McGovern (OL) - Committed to Notre Dame. Northwestern was his first and only offer for a long time. It seemed like he was just waiting for Notre Dame to offer, and when they finally did, he pounced. He's definitely a good talent, with offers from the likes of Michigan, Alabama, and Ohio State.
#12 - Darius Mosely (CB) - Committed to Illinois. Mosely never really showed much interest in Northwestern. He's a solid 3-star prospect.
#13 - Jalen Banks (S) - Committed to Vanderbilt. Banks is a pretty good safety prospect who racked up 10 interceptions his senior year. As to why he chose Vanderbilt over Northwestern, Banks said, "People ask me why not Northwestern. They’re similar to Vandy but the SEC is the SEC. This is the best of both worlds. If I want to go to the NFL, NFL scouts will see me and make a legit evaluation." Damn it, SEC.
#16 - Tyler Lancaster (C) - Committed to NORTHWESTERN. Lancaster is rated as the #6 center in the country according to Rivals. His only other offers are from the MAC, but he had interest from other B1G programs. He committed fairly early on in the process, and may have earned other offers had he not committed so soon. He'll need a year to redshirt and bulk up, but looks like a solid potential multi-year starter down the road.
#21 - Matt Harris (CB) - Committed to NORTHWESTERN. Harris can play both WR or CB, but was recruited by Northwestern to play CB. An across the board 3-star, Harris had offers from Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, among others. He's a great athlete, albeit a bit raw. With more coaching, he should develop into a reliable CB.
#29 - Nathan Marcus (TE) - Committed to Vanderbilt. Marcus expressed interest in Northwestern, but eventually chose for Vandy. He had offers from bottom-feeding ACC schools, Indiana, and Toledo, along with Northwestern and Vanderbilt. Marcus needs to bulk up, as he weighs somewhere in the ballpark of 190-210 lbs. He's a strong pass catcher, but needs work on his blocking abilities.
#32 - Blake King (OL) - Committed to NORTHWESTERN. Northwestern's seconds commit of the class, King would have probably received more offers (he received offers from Toledo and Western Michigan) had he let his recruitment drag out further. He committed immediately upon receiving his offer. At 6'5'', 270 lb, King will most likely take a redshirt year to bulk up. He projects as either a guard or tackle.
NR - Tommy Fuessel (ATH) - Committed to NORTHWESTERN. Fuessel played quarterback in high school, and is a unanimously rated 2-star prospect. He's coming in as an athlete, and may get a chance at quarterback, wide receiver, or cornerback. I like getting athletes that played quarterback in high school because they typically are smart football players with good instincts. Prior to his Northwestern offer, he was committed to Northern Illinois.
Northwestern Commits from Illinois: *#6 Matt Alviti (4-star QB), #16 Tyler Lancaster (3-star OL), *#21 Matt Harris (3-star CB), #32 Blake King (3-star OL), NR Tyler Fuessel (2-star ATH). (* = holds Illinois offer)
Illinois Commits from Illinois: *#5 Aaron Bailey (4-star QB), *#12 Darius Mosely (3-star CB), #15 Reggie Spearman (3-star LB), #20 Dillon Cazley (3-star CB), #27 Merrick Jackson (3-star DT), #30 Kendrick Foster (3-star RB), NR Bryce Douglas (3-star DT), NR Jaylen Dunlap (2-star DB), NR Miguel Hermosillo (2-star ATH). (* = holds Northwestern offer)
Northwestern received 5 of its 19 commits from the state of Illinois, while Illinois received 9 of its 26 commits from Illinois. Out of Northwestern's commits from the state, 2 held Illinois offers. Similarly, out of the Illini's in-state commits, 2 held Northwestern offers (however Bailey's offer may have no longer been valid once Alviti committed). All in all, Northwestern and Illinois split in terms of in-state recruiting, both in quality of players and in head to head match-ups.
In comparison, last year, both Northwestern and Illinois took 2 of the state's top 30 players. In 2011, Illinois took 5 of the top 30 in-state prospects, while Northwestern took 3. In 2010, Illinois took 4 of the top 30 (including 1 4-star) to Northwestern's 1 (but hey...we also got the #1 guy in Prater). Northwestern is definitely closing its in-state recruiting gap against Illinois, and the playing field may just be even now. A couple more years of Northwestern being awesome and Illinois being...well...bad, may just turn Northwestern into the premier in-state recruiting power.
I'm fairly new to the blog and this is my first post. I'm a big fan of recruiting, and if this post goes over favorably, I'd be happy to help fill the recruiting void in this blog by posting more updates on how Northwestern is fairing on the recruiting trail.