EDGY's Northwestern Wildcats grade: C
The Wildcats Class of 2017 was again a bit light on in-state commitments, which was also the same case in 2016. Northwestern signed two scholarship players, along with adding three preferred walk-ons. The Wildcats were also able to add some real quality with its in-state recruiting class, but the overall lower number of in-state scholarship players hurts the overall grade.
Headliner of the in-state class?
Glenbard North three-star ranked wide receiver Jace James (6-foot-0, 182 pounds) was a standout two-way player for the Panthers over the past few seasons in Carol Stream. James played receiver, safety, kick returner and was simply an impact player in all phases. James has terrific strength and hands, runs very good routes and has more than required speed. James has a chance to develop into a longer term contributor for Northwestern and will be a nice addition to an always strong Wildcats receiver rotation.
[RELATED: Illinois in-state recruiting class recap]
The one who got away?
Loyola Academy three-star ranked tight end Jake Marwede (6-foot-5, 240 pounds). Marwede, who last year told Rivals.com that he grew up a Wildcats fan, was one of two in-state tight ends that Northwestern offered. In the end, Marwede pledged to Duke and the Wildcats missed out on one of the state's most versatile athletes and top players.
Final thoughts on the Wildcats recruiting efforts:
I would love to see Northwestern ink a dozen in-state kids each class. Yet, the reality is that Northwestern recruits nationally and in a year like 2017 they needed to go out of state pretty heavily. Overall, I like the kids who signed scholarship papers on Wednesday and I equally like the three preferred walk-ons, including UHigh kicker/punter Luke Otto.
Northwestern's football program is just at a good place these days. The Wildcats are winning in more ways than not. The new lakefront athletic complex will be another huge selling point. Add in the overall stability of Pat Fitzgerald and staff, exceptional academics and the positives for Northwestern still remain high in Evanston. While the in-state numbers haven't been as strong as they could be for Northwestern, those overall in-state recruit numbers haven't waned because of a lack of effort.