Edgy's Northwestern Wildcats grade: B-
Northwestern and head coach Pat Fitzgerald wound up signing 18 names to the Wildcats Class of 2018 and that included six in-state names (including former Glenbard North and IMG Academy grad Greg Newsome). According to the Rivals.com team recruiting rankings the Northwestern recruiting class is ranked as the 59th best class in the nation and is also ranked last in the Big Ten conference. However, the various recruiting services take the overall number of recruits into account when generating it's team rankings and Northwestern limited size class impacts it's overall ranking. Instead think quality over quantity when looking at the Wildcats recruiting class.
Headliner of the in-state class?
Lincoln-Way East four-star ranked Devin O'Rourke (6-foot-6, 250 pounds) was simply one of the most dominant players I saw live in 2018 if not over the past handful of seasons. O'Rourke, who was a consensus all-state player for the Griffins over the past two seasons and has the size/frame/length and reach in demand at the high Power 5 level. O'Rourke, who also runs exceptionally well for his size was able to show his ability to be an impact player over his senior season.
Northwestern also did well signing former Glenbard North and IMG Academy grad three-star ranked Greg Newsome (6-foot-2, 170 pounds). Newsome has good length, speed and ball awareness and is also a physical defender who can play either corner or safety if required. Newsome also brings a toughness and street fighter mentality to the field.
The one who got away?
Northwestern at least early on had a nice rapport with Warren Township four-star ranked wide receiver Micah Jones (6-foot-5, 205 pounds). Jones, who made an overnight unofficial visit to Northwestern early in his recruiting process had the Wildcats on his short list for quite some time. In the end Jones wound up committing early to Notre Dame, but Northwestern was in the thick of things for a while with Jones.
Final thoughts on the Wildcats recruiting efforts:
Northwestern has been on a nice roll over the past handful of years and the in-state Class of 2018 was a good group for the Wildcats. The in-state class offered a good amount of higher level kids who also could academically qualify. Northwestern does a very good job of identifying younger recruits very early in the process, recruiting them hard and being able to build up a strong bond and eventual commitments.
From the football program consistently winning games and getting to bowl games, to the ongoing major renovations and upgrades to it's facilities to the overall strong academics, Northwestern no question remains an attractive place for potential recruits.
While the in-state recruiting class overall numbers varies from year to year, the Class of 2018 has is a strong overall group that the Wildcats will be able to add immediate depth and raise the overall talent level.