Breaking: Northwestern adds a commitment from in-state four-star offensive lineman Peter Skoronski

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Breaking: Northwestern adds a commitment from in-state four-star offensive lineman Peter Skoronski

Northwestern and head coach Pat Fitzgerald added another big piece to its impressive Class of 2020 as Maine South four-star ranked offensive tackle Peter Skoronski (6-foot-4, 280 pounds) decided to give the Wildcats his verbal commitment today.

Skoronski selected Northwestern over scholarship offers from multiple Power 5 schools, including Notre Dame, Michigan and Penn State. He generally kept his recruiting process and plans in silent mode and seldom, if ever, spoke to any media during his recruiting process, a rarity these days in the fast paced social media world of college recruiting. 

Skoronski is now the 10th known overall verbal commitment and the Wildcats third known in-state pledge. Skoronski joins Lake Zurich three-star ranked junior tight end Hunter Welcing along with Wheaton North three-star ranked outside linebacker Xander Mueller as in-state commitments in the Class of 2020.

Skoronski, a four star ranked recruit according to Rivals.com is also the highest ranked in-state commitment since Class of 2018 Lincoln-Way East DE Devin O'Rourke who was also a four star ranked recruit.

Northwestern mounts huge comeback, beats Utah in Holiday Bowl; Thorson, Fitzgerald heading to NFL next?

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USA TODAY

Northwestern mounts huge comeback, beats Utah in Holiday Bowl; Thorson, Fitzgerald heading to NFL next?

It was a tale of two halves for Northwestern in Monday's Holiday Bowl.

After entering halftime trailing Utah 20-3, Northwestern mounted a huge second half comeback to knock off the Utes 31-20. Northwestern, which outscored Utah 28-0 in the third quarter, finishes the 2018 season 9-5 record.

Northwestern was just 3-of-14 on third down, though they forced six Utah turnovers (two interceptions) highlighted by an 82-yard fumble return for a touchdown by safety/linebacker Jared McGee.

Six turnovers forced is the most by Northwestern since Oct. 3, 2009 against Purdue, when the Wildcats also forced six turnovers.

Senior quarterback Clayton Thorson — who tore his right ACL on Dec. 29, 2017 in the Music City Bowl — finished 21-of-30 for 241 yards and two touchdowns. However, Thorson exited the game late in the fourth quarter after going down awkwardly near Utah's sideline.

Thorson is one of the top quarterback prospects for the 2019 NFL Draft. 

The win improves Northwestern's all-time bowl game record to 5-10. However, they have now three-straight bowl games; from the 1948-2012 seasons, they won two bowl games — the 1949 Rose Bowl and the 2013 Gator Bowl.

One of the biggest questions facing Northwestern is the future of head coach Pat Fitzgerald. According to a report, the Green Bay Packers are expected to request an interview with Fitzgerald for their head coaching vacancy.

Unlike Thorson, Fitzgerald leaving for the NFL is no guarantee. If he does leave, however, Fitzgerald would leave with the most all-time regular season wins (95) and bowl wins (4) in Northwestern history.

Fitzgerald's .576 winning percentage would also be best all-time by a Northwestern head coach, minimum five seasons. 

Fans likely will anxiously wait for news regarding Fitzgerald's future. Overall, though, fans should be appreciative of the job he has done into turning Northwestern into one of the better football programs in the Big Ten.

UPDATE: Here's what Fitzgerald said about his future after the game.

Packers reportedly looking to make a run at Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald for head coach

Packers reportedly looking to make a run at Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald for head coach

Might a trip up I-94 be in Pat Fitzgerald's immediate future?

On the heels of Mike McCarthy's firing, the Packers are reportedly "almost a lock" to reach out to Pat Fitzgerald about their coaching vacancy. 

The report comes from Tom Silverstein of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who had this to say about it:

"It’s almost a lock the Packers will contact Fitzgerald, who came up through the ranks on the defensive side of the ball but has a high-octane offense. Murphy was athletic director at the school and surprised many people when he picked Fitzgerald to coach the team when Randy Walker died of a heart attack before the 2006 season. Fitzgerald has helped establish the Wildcats as a football contender, taking them all the way the Big Ten championship game Saturday against Ohio State. In 13 seasons, he has 95 wins and has led Northwestern to eight bowl games."

While the piece is more speculative in nature than anything else, the line about it almost being a lock jumps off the page. Fitzgerald, who's been at Northwestern since 2001 and their head coach since 2006, was recently and unanimously named Big 10 Coach of the Year. 

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