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2017 Northwestern Recruiting: Pat Fitzgerald Quietly Stocks Back Up

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This class doesn’t look like it’s spectacular on paper but Northwestern is stocking back up at key positions

NCAA Football: Pinstripe Bowl-Northwestern vs Pittsburgh Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

This is a recurring feature leading up to National Signing Day where we will preview each teams recruiting class and who each team’s best recruit is and who can make an immediate impact. We’ll go in order from worst to first based on 2016 standings. All ratings come from the 247 composite rankings.

Where do they stand?

Northwestern currently ranks 37th overall in recruit rankings, 7th in the Big Ten and 2nd in the Big Ten West. The class currently has 19 members, two of which are Early Enrollees in Sam Miller (DT) and Trey Pugh (TE). With only 19 members the class is a little slim, but there is a week left before NSD.

How does the class breakdown?

Northwestern has currently taken nine on offense, eight on defense, one kicker, and one athlete. I can’t find where Northwestern intends to place their athlete and it could truly be where he appears to fit best and given Chee Anyanwu’s 6’2, 190 frame, he could slot on offense or defense. Here is the position breakdown:

  • QB: 1
  • RB: 1
  • WR: 2
  • TE: 1
  • OL: 3
  • DL: 3 (2 DE/1 DT)
  • LB: 2 (1 ILB/1 OLB)
  • DB: 4 (1 CB/3 Safety)
  • Athlete: 1
  • Kicker: 1

Staying with B1G tradition, Northwestern has a kicker in the class who also happens to be the 4th best kicker in the nation. Here is the full roster, via 247:

Is the talent any good?

Good, not great. Not bad either. Northwestern’s average recruit ranking is .8510, which is pretty solid with their academic ranking and higher admission standards. Specifically, Northwestern has done a solid job on the defensive line, taking in high three star and four star defensive ends as well as a high three star DT to restock on the line. In fact, most of Northwestern’s highest rated recruits are on either line, which is a good recipe for the future.

Are they done recruiting this year?

No. Northwestern is chasing four star ILB Ellis Brooks along with Maryland, Penn State, and Notre Dame. He has a bit of a weird recruitment though and appears to be chasing the big name offers towards the end of his recruitment but no one can get a read on where he will end up. I’d tell you Maryland but he’s had a chance to commit since December and keeps going for the bigger names, so even though the crystal ball predictions point there I wouldn’t count on it.

Can anyone make an immediate impact?

This year? Maybe, if the defensive ends are as good as their ratings. They both appear to have the build to play right away but Pat Fitzgerald may choose to redshirt them if the depth is there. Center Sam Gerak will most likely be the backup center in the two deep and being a Top 10 rated center in the class will be poised to take over next year when he’s the only guy at the position.

Up next: Minnesota