(While I am on hiatus for the rest of the month, I am leaving behind six articles--(July 1) an analysis of Illinois' 2007 recruiting class, (July 2) Illinois' recruiting for 2011, (July 3) Notre Dame's recruiting for 2011, (July 4) Iowa's recruiting for 2011, (July 5) Wisconsin's recruiting for 2011 and (July 6) Northwestern's recruiting for 2011. Please archive past articles. And enjoy the summer)
Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald offered the fewest scholarships of any Big 10 school, primarily because of the school's academic standards. But the Wildcats are in on all of the smartest kids nationally. They are going head-to-head against Notre Dame and Stanford more than any other school. Fitzgerald and his staff have the confidence to become a national recruiter.
Northwestern has seven commitments, including four from the Chicago area--cornerback Jarrell Williams of Richards in Oak Lawn, tight end Mark Szott of Waubonsie Valley in Aurora, offensive lineman Matt Frazier of Kankakee Bishop McNamara and safety Sean Cotton of Walther Lutheran in Melrose Park.
Nationally, they got 6-3, 230-pound defensive end Max Chapman of St. Augustine, Fla., 6-7, 280-pound offensive lineman Shane Mertz of Hazlet, N.J., and 6-4, 220-pound quarterback Zach Oliver of Baton Rouge, La.
Locally, the Wildcats have offered offensive lineman Jordan Walsh of Glenbard West, defensive end James Adeyanju of Curie and tight end Jack Konopka of Fremd. They also are pursuing 6-5, 290-pound offensive lineman Kyle McAvoy of Bloomington, whose father played at Gordon Tech.
Nationally, Northwestern has offered a "who's who" of blue-chip players, including safety Wayne Lyons of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., running back Justice Hayes of Grand Blanc, Mich., 6-2, 230-pound linebacker Lamar Dawson of Danville, Ky., 6-2, 200-pound wide receiver Kasen Williams of Sammamish, Wash., defensive back Avery Walls of McDonough, Ga., running back Shavon Huggins of Jersey City, N.J., 6-2, 195-pound wide receiver/defensive back George Atkinson of Livermore, Calif., and 5-11, 175-pound wide receiver/cornerback Miles Schuler of Long Branch, N.J.
Dawson is the No. 1 player in Kentucky. Williams is one of the leading wide receivers in the nation. Atkinson is the son of former Oakland Raiders star George Atkinson. Huggins and Schuler are two of the top three players in New Jersey.
If Northwestern gets Huggins or Hayes, they would have a great difference-maker, a great recruiting coup.