More superbacks! Or tight ends! Whatever. I just don't care anymore. Anyway, Mark Szott is a 6'4, 240-pound tight end, and although he's never recorded a stat for the Wildcats in four games so far, he'll probably be pressed into playing time in 2013 with only five players on the depth chart and lots of snaps available. Take it away, me!
Szott is a product of Waubonsie Valley High School, which sounds really rustic but is actually just, like, in Aurora. The starting tight end for his high school squad from sophomore year forwards, he was an honorable mention all-state player as a junior. A three-star recruit considered the No. 44 tight end in the nation and the No. 25 player in the state of Illinois per 247's composite, Northwestern was his first BCS offer, and he committed on the spot in Pat Fitzgerald's office the June before his senior year. He also had offers from some MAC squads and service academies. He played basketball in high school, because y'know, 6'4 and athletic, which might be why this video labels him THE NEXT ANTONIO GATES, although, man, that's probably pushing it..
Szott redshirted as a freshman and played in four games last year as a redshirt freshman. In all honesty, I have no idea where or how he lined up, but suffice it to say he didn't record any stats.
Anagram of choice
Discovering the Wildcats true inner selves through spelling
Mark Szott, anagrammed, is
There are no anagrams for Mark Szott, because his name is a) nine letters long and b) contains the letters "z", "k" and only two vowels. Mark Szott is a soulless killing machine whose life is devoid of meaning.
Relevant musical selection
"Drop It Like Its Hot", Snoop Dogg
I don't know what it is about me, but when watching sports random player's names get inextricably associated with random songs that they sort of fit into and its impossible to unlink them. It hasn't happened yet with Mark Szott, but if and when it does, I am extremely confident it will be "Drop It Like Its Szott." This is not meant to be a commentary on Mark Szott's hands, just rhyming. (Note: there are two players on the Northwestern Wildcats for whom this song is "Teenage Dream" by Katy Perry, as in: "YOU! MAKE! ME! FEEL LIKE I'M LIVING A ___! ____! ____!. Guess away!)
LITTLE KNOWN FACT: To wear the number 85 at Northwestern, your name must contain the word "Mark" in it somewhere. Zeke Markshausen wore the number for a while, and was a measly walk-on, beginning his senior year with just one career catch. He'd have 91 in that senior season, the second-most in school history, killing everybody from the slot on crossing routes and showing the Big Ten what a slow 5'10 guy who runs perfect patterns can do. He'd work that into a brief gig with the Kansas City Chiefs in training camp, picture up there - not bad for a career walk-on. He was followed by Venric Mark, who wore No. 85 as a freshman and sophomore returning kicks and punts and sometimes playing wide receiver which was dumb dumb dumb stupid dumb. Now it's Mark Szott's. Who's next?
How Szott can help
Dan Vitale is the starter at superback, but there's room to utilize whatever skills each player in the room brings to the table. Last year, the backup was Tim Riley, a converted linebacker. Because he had experience carrying the ball from high school, NU utilized him as a bowling-ball type back in some sets and hit him for a touchdown pass against Michigan State. Now Riley's gone - he didn't use his redshirt senior year - and up next is Szott. He won't be carrying the ball, but he's a 6'4, 240 guy with experience as a pass-catcher from high school. Northwestern will find ways to get him on the field - sometimes opposite Vitale, sometimes spelling him - for at least a couple of plays this season. He's taller and heavier than Vitale, so if we see Vitale as the hybrid tight end and Jack Schwaba as the pure blocker from goal line and short yardage sets, perhaps Szott is somewhere in the middle. Since we've seen so little of two of them, its tough to speculate how the coaching staff plans on using them, but I'm confident they will.
Depth Chart projectionWe have Szott as Dan Vitale's backup, which as we just noted, means little about what his role will actually be. As we also noted, there still isn't much depth at the superback position - Northwestern had Riley, Evan Watkins, and Brian Smith leave a year early, either by choice or because the coaching staff told them they had to move on - so we've got sophomores and redshirt freshmen vying for playing time. Not necessarily a bad thing.