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Northwestern Wildcats getting off to hot start recruiting

Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern Wildcats

The Northwestern Wildcats have gotten off to a strong start on the recruiting trail, wracking up three commitments this week as they build a strong class.

The Northwestern Wildcats will finish their spring practice schedule with an open practice at Ryan Field on Saturday. The football team will shut itself down before Camp Kenosha and training camp in July before what promises to be an intriguing and interesting season for the Wildcats.

The work for Northwestern is far from done. Northwestern gets a good chunk of its recruiting done early. And so it is impressive the work the Wildcats have done in the recruiting period.

Northwestern coaches made that excitement not so secret on Twitter throughout the afternoon Friday, celebrating (without naming, of course) a new commitment with #TexasB1GTeam.

Indeed, Northwestern’s staff should have something to celebrate in getting a commitment from three-star linebacker Grayson Mann on Friday. It capped off a stellar three-commitment week fro the Wildcats that saw the team get a commitment from Texas wide receiver Jacob Jefferson and Glenbard North cornerback Greg Newsome.

Northwestern has gotten off to a good start to its recruiting with 11 commitments already this season. By volume alone, that has them in the Wildcats sixth in the nation for the Class of 2018 recruiting class, according to 247Sports.

This is typically how Northwestern operates. With the school’s academic restrictions, Northwestern tends to focus aggressively on key prospects and get the team’s recruiting done early. The Wildcats are not going after very many of the top prospects — Devin O’Rourke, a 6-foot-6, 240-pound defensive end, is a four-star prospect who has committed and the Wildcats have maybe three or four other four-star prospects they seem unlikely to sign. So they do not sit and wait for them to make a decision. The Wildcats are efficient with their targets and usually have their recruiting wrapped up for the most part before the season.

The Wildcats are not going after very many of the top prospects — Devin O’Rourke, a 6-foot-6, 240-pound defensive end, is a four-star prospect who has committed and the Wildcats have maybe three or four other four-star prospects who seem unlikely to sign. So they do not sit and wait for them to make a decision. The Wildcats are efficient with their targets. They usually have their recruiting wrapped up for the most part before the season begins.

Northwestern, by virtue of their recruiting limitations, has to find these diamonds in the rough¬†and have faith they will be able to coach them up to meet their potential. That has helped Northwestern keep a relatively consistent type of team — if not subject to some variation in ability.

Throw in the fact Northwestern tends to redshirt most of their recruits. They tend to get players who can make lasting and long-term impacts once they see the field with that gap year to develop.

That is not to say Northwestern will not see some freshman step in immediately this year.

Norhtwestern enters this season with increased optimism. That is what happens when a team win its bowl game (and that is just the third bowl win in the program’s history). Many of the team’s skill players are back and poised for bigger seasons. That should mean Northwestern can expect to compete for a Big Ten West title.

And that is something the Wildcats hope they can sell to their future and recruits.

Northwestern is not done despite having a class of 11 commitment already. The team will host several big targets this weekend for the final spring practice, according to Louie Vacchar of Wildcat Report.

There are still a few prospects to entice to complete this recruiting class. But Northwestern already seems well ahead of the game taking care of its business off the field to build the program’s future.

That leaves Pat Fitzgerald and company only needing to focus on teh field when it comes to July and August and the push for a Big Ten division title beyond.

Philip Rossman-Reich is a Northwestern alumnus and former contributor Lake The Posts. He also writes for Orlando Magic Daily and The Step Back.

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