Northwestern recruiting: With Signing Day in the rear view, what schools did NU beat?

Jonathan Daniel

Who did Northwestern beat on the recruiting school and who did they lose to? A look at how NU did in head-to-head battles with other teams over commits.

Northwestern has some incoming recruits. Yay! Go Cats! Good for them. Good choices. They'll all be great/score touchdowns/USA No. 1. Other people have written about what they do for Northwestern football, and done a good job too, and maybe I will later!

Now, let's get down to brass tacks. (That's an expression, right? Don't feel like looking it up. Seems like it.) Stars are nice, and so are ratings, but college football, like any sport, is about winning and losing: devoid of context, who is literally winning head-to-head on the recruiting trail?

I took a look into the Rivals database of offers. It's a really fascinating look into how programs are doing. Some schools, like Texas, Texas A&M, Michigan, really get the guys they want: they offer under 100 players, and still get great classes. Others don't: Purdue offered 342 players. Sure, there was a coaching change, but, man, how do you even keep track of 342 guys?

Using that data, I looked for two things:

1) Where do guys with Northwestern offers end up? Who is beating Northwestern on players they offered?

2) On other schools' offer lists, how many players ended up at NU? Who did NU beat for players?

It's a little bit of an imperfect thing - offers aren't permanent, sometimes players have them at one point in the process and don't later - but this stiill shows who chose who over who.

It was easy to find some teams that kept popping up a lot with a simple scan of the lists. Most were predictable - NU goes up most commonly against Big Ten teams and elite academic schools - some surprised. For each school, I listed all the players with offers from both schools by which school they decided on. Let's start with the good ones and go to the bad:

Epic wins

Boston College

Northwestern: 7 recruits (Kyle Queiro, Keith Watkins, Sam Coverdale, Matt Harris, Matt Alviti, Eric Joraskie, Godwin Igwebuike)

Boston College: 0 recruits

Schnikes. I knew these two squads went up for a lot of the same players there was talk about it before last year's NU season opener - but it wasn't really competitive this year. This isn't due to coaching change: all seven of these dudes were committed to Northwestern before Frank Spaziani got fired. Quiero even chose to leave the East Coast on this one. BC had a pretty rough class, listed by most recruiting services as one of the worst by any BCS team.

Minnesota

Northwestern: 5 recruits (Keith Watkins, Sam Coverdale, Matt Harris, Godwin Igwebuike, Anthony Walker)

Minnesota: 1 recruit

Real bad news for the Gophers in this recruiting cycle, who had arguably the worst class in the conference. It's almost like Jerry Kill didn't look in their home state:none of the five guys NU beat them on were from Minnesota, and only one kid in their 19-man class was. Their one win was on Texas defensive end Hendrick Ekpe, a three-star guy.

Purdue

Northwestern: 4 recruits (Kyle Queiro, Matt Alviti, Eric Joraskie, Anthony Walker)
Purdue: 1 recruit

Another school with a coaching change, but another situation where Northwestern killed it. The one recruit Purdue won on is three-star Tallahassee DB Austin Logan. Purdue had a worse class than NU, per pretty much every ranking.

Slight wins

Illinois

Northwestern: 5 recruits (Matt Harris, Kyle Queiro, Matt Alviti, Marcus McShepard, Godwin Igwebuike)

Illinois: 3 recruits

We had a good writeup of this from the fanposts the other day. Northwestern got their guys over the in-state rivals, but its not like this is a decisive win. First off, only three of the guys NU won on - Alviti, McShepard, and Harris - were in-state, as were two of the guys Illinois offered. Its a slight win win for Northwestern, but not a decisive one: both squads got their quarterbacks - Illinois offered Alviti, NU had an offer to four-star Aaron Bailey.

Wisconsin

Northwestern: 2 recruits (Matt Harris, Godwin Igwebuike)

Wisconsin: 0 recruits

Nice. Wisco had a real down year on the trail after losing Bret Bielema, but still. It's surprising to see that Northwestern didn't get a single scholarship guy from Wisconsin, typically where bunches of NU guys come from, but NU defended its home turf with Watkins.

Mehs

Indiana

Northwestern: 2 recruits (Matt Alviti, Godwin Igwebuike)

Indiana: 1 recruit (Anthony Young, a two-star wide receiver from Ohio)

Nebraska

Nebraska: 3 recruits

Northwestern: 2 recruits (Matt Alviti, Godwin Igwebuike)

Duke

Duke: 2 recruits

Northwestern: 2 recruits (Kyle Queiro, Godwin Igwebuike)

Slight losses

Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt: 4 recruits

Northwestern: 2 (Kyle Queiro, Eric Joraskie)

Gotta tip your cap to James Franklin and the 'Dores: he turned in a class that pretty much everybody has top 25 in the nation, and yes, he grabbed NU-type guys the Wildcats was looking for. He even ripped a pair of Chicagoland guys - tight end Nathan Marcus from John Shurna's alma mater, Glenbard West, and three-star Jalen Banks from Harvey - straight from Northwestern's pocket. Plus, he got a four-star wide receiver, Jordan Cunningham, who knocked NU out of the running before picking the 'Dores over Stanford and Miami in an announcement where he said he had a "50-year career" plan. I don't see this stopping either: the 2012 class was the best in Vandy history, and this one was better. Vandy-NU could be a good nerd rivalry - if only the Commodores didn't wuss out of the rest of their series with NU. Northwestern needs every get it can get in the battle for the nation's smartest guys who are good at football

Stanford

Stanford: 2 recruits

Northwestern: 0

Stanford won this smartypants head-to-head, grabbing defensive end Austin Hooper from Cali and wide out Taijuan Thomas from Louisiana, both three-stars. No surprise: Stanford kept things small this year, offering less than 20 guys and getting only 12, but with some quality in the class.

Penn State

Penn State: 3 recruits

Northwestern: 1 (Marcus McShepard)

NU always tries to make inroads into Pennsylvania, but only one guy in their class - Eric Joraskie - was from there this time around, while losing a pair of PA guys and a New Jersey guy to the Nittany Lions - a little disappointing considering the recruiting sanctions and whatnot, but still a tough ask for NU to steal guys from their turf. Nice to take McShepard from Eastern Ohio, though.

West Virginia?

West Virginia: 5 recruits

Northwestern: 3 recruits: (Kyle Queiro, Keith Watkins, Sam Coverdale)

I was surprised by this one, but eight guys carried offers from the Wildcats and Mountaineers. Five of them come from Pennsylvania or Ohio, which makes sense.

Fails

B1G's Big Boys

Ohio State: 4 recruits

Michigan: 4 recruits

Northwestern: 0 recruits

Yeah, nobody in the Big Ten was competing with these guys this year. But it's still disappointing that Northwestern couldn't swing a single guy looking at the tops of the Big Ten. Six of these guys were four-star recruits, including the whole gang that ended up at Michigan. The good news is only one of these dudes is out from under NU's nose - Michigan OL Kyle Bosch, from Wheaton - and Jake Butt was Godwin Igwebuike's teammate in high school, but couldn't convince him to come over. The one Northwestern had the best chance on was James Clark, who waited until the last weekend before signing day to knock NU out.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame: 5 recruits

Northwestern: 1 recruit (Matt Alviti)

They're the king of the smartypants schools, hands down. I wouldn't read too much into this, since I imagine a lot of these were shot in the dark guys you have to offer to land Matt Alviti's, but no fun.

Texas schools

Baylor: 3 recruits

Texas A&M: 3 recruits

Northwestern: 0 with offers from A&M/Baylor

Northwestern's made serious inroads in Texas, but it didn't show in this class: the guys NU is getting out of Texas aren't necessarily the guys the big Texas schools are going for. Center Brad North had offers from Houston, North Texas, and UTSA, tight end Jayme Taylor had an offer from Texas State, and wide out Macan Wilson had no offers from Texas schools. Meanwhile, NU swung and missed on a lot of dudes who ended up going to school in Texas. Nice to keep the pipeline open, but it didn't work out this year.

USC

USC: 3 recruits

Northwestern: 0 recruits

Probs coulda lumped this into the Stanford one. The good news is that Northwestern is still landing Cali guys, but they're not USC guys, and I doubt Joliet's Ty Isaac even noticed his Northwestern offer.

Conclusion

So, Northwestern didn't really make much of an inroads with the big boys, with basically Matt Alviti the only guy with offers from those types of teams. And, well, Vandy's going to be stealing kids from Northwestern for a while.

That said, there's a lot of positives. Northwestern's capitalizing on being better than Illinois by beating them both in and out of state. And, man, there's a clear gap between the bottom of the Big Ten and Northwestern on the recruiting trail. And although it's not by any means impressive that Northwestern didn't lose any guys to MAC schools, well, of the 92 guys NU offered, not one went to a MAC school. The days where NU was recruiting on the level of a second-tier conference are over.

You'll also notice that some of the dudes in this class were real good gets by how often they pop up on here. The obvious ones are Alviti, Igwebuike, and Queiro, whose name I will forever spell "Quiero", but Matt Harris, Keith Watkins, and Eric Joraskie were guys schools wanted too. The rest of guys didn't have impressive offer lists, but that doesn't necessarily mean bad things.

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