EDGY's Wildcats grade: C
Northwestern wound up signing just two in-state players. While that's a disappointing number, you need to look a bit harder at Northwestern's needs in this class: offensive line, defensive line, linebacker and defensive back. The combination of a lack of academically qualified recruits, along with a weak overall in-state class might explain the Wildcats limited local recruits on National Signing Day.
Headliner of the in-state class?
Loyola Academy three-star tight end Eric Eshoo (6-foot-5, 225 pounds) will be a terrific fit in Northwestern's spread offense. Eshoo has great size, reach and length. I was also impressed with his ball skills, hands and speed this season. Eshoo has a chance to become a long-term starter for the Wildcats and could very well see playing time in 2016.
The one who got away?
Phillips three-star wide receiver Quayvon Skanes (5-foot-10, 170 pounds). Skanes was offered by the Wildcats in the summer and they seemed to have a real shot at him. Skanes surprised many when he decided to take an unofficial visit to UConn and eventually give the Huskies his verbal commitment. However, what most observers didn't realize is that Skanes had very little desire to stay close to home and distance actually was a positive for Skanes.
[MORE PREPS: 2016 National Signing Day - Recruiting tracker]
Final thoughts on Northwestern's recruiting efforts:
I came away with the feeling that Northwestern should get a pass on this in-state class. The Wildcats have a lot going for them. Northwestern has recruited in-state very well and several local products are now cornerstone performers. Northwestern does a terrific job of identifying players early in the recruiting process. Northwestern also offers stability in head coach Pat Fitzgerald, along with a veteran group of assistant coaches. When Northwestern walks into local high schools they most likely already have a long-term relationship with the coaching staff. Stability in the staff brings a comfort level from high school coaches, parents and prospects, which in this era of recruiting, is very rare and invaluable. With the eventual addition of some much needed facilities plus, hopefully, more consistency in the win column, I see nothing but positives in the Northwestern recruiting game.