A slight bummer from Northwestern today, as linebacker Eric Wilson will be leaving the program to transfer to another school.
Wilson, a redshirt freshman, had been a three-star safety at Redland (Mich.) Thurston, the No. 51 safety in the nation per 247's composite. Wilson was the MVP of a team that won four straight conference championships, but wasn't a huge recruiting get -- he picked Northwestern over West Virginia, Central Michigan, Toledo and Army.
The 6'2, 205-pounder had not played at NU, redshirting his freshman year, but earned two defensive practice player of the week honors and one special teams practice honor. Why Wilson is transferring and where are not immediately known.
This obviously isn't a huge loss for Northwestern in the immediate future, as he was not on the two-deep.. Two of Northwestern's three linebacker spots are set, with Chi Chi Ariguzo on the weak side and Damian Proby in the middle, and both were strong last year and should be strong this year. The third spot is between two guys who have shown talent, Collin Ellis and Drew Smith. As Bill Connelly posted in his must-read Northwestern breakdown from earlier today, the Wildcats were heavily dependent on their starting linebackers, who recorded 246 tackles while backups had just 22. Suffice it to say, Northwestern banks heavily on their starting linebackers, because they're good and deserve playing time. Wilson's loss doesn't make a big splash for Northwestern's plans in 2013.
However, losing Wilson makes one worry what happens not only in case of injury, but in the future. Proby is a senior. Ariguzo is a junior, as is Ellis. Smith is talented, but he's the only player that will be around past 2014 that's shown his trustworthiness. Jaylen Prater is a converted QB, Joseph Jones is a converted track star, Michael Odom (who we haven't gotten to yet) is a walk-on, and neither Brett Walsh nor Anthony Walker is a highly touted recruit from the 2013 class. (NOTE: Walker told Inside NU he had an offer from Miami, which isn't listed on any recruiting services, so he might have actually been a bit of a get.) Cam Queiro, the one guy in NU's 2014 haul at linebacker thus far, is, but, that's about it.
Northwestern is very strong at linebacker right now. But it might not necessarily last, and quickly becomes a department of need. Wilson's departure opens up a third scholarship for the quickly closing class of 2014, which could very well go towards an LB.
Now that that's out of the way, it is time for me to make one last joke about the fact that Eric Wilson was the name of the bassist in Sublime, my favorite band when I was 13:
From my perspective, this is okay, because it means I have one less countdown post to wri- wait, I'm writing a post now. THERE IS NO UPSIDE.
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