Brace yourself, Northwestern and Bears football fans. This might be tough to hear.
According to multiple reports, the Packers are expected to request an interview with Northwestern head football coach Pat Fitzgerald for Green Bay's head coaching vacancy. The request is expected to come after Northwestern plays in the Holiday Bowl on Monday, according to ESPN.
As NFL Network's Ian Rapoport noted, a connection exists between Fitzgerald and the Bears' long-time rival. Before becoming CEO of the Packers, Mark Murphy, who was Northwestern's Athletic Director from 2003-07, hired Fitzgerald as a coach.
Fitzgerald signed a contract-extension with Northwestern in April 2017 that runs through 2026 football season. The Packers interviewing Fitzgerald is not a guarantee that they will hire him. However, the thought of the long-time Northwestern coach sporting "rival" colors surely will not rest easy with Chicago football fans.
Northwestern and head coach Pat Fitzgerald added it's second in-state verbal commitment to the Wildcats Class of 2018 tonight when Dunlap three star ranked tight end Charlie Mangieri (6-foot-4, 240 pounds) announced his pledge to Northwestern.
"It's a big weight off my shoulders and I'm really excited about Northwestern," Mangieri said. "The coaches at Northwestern feel like family and it's just a great fit for me at Northwestern so I committed."
Mangieri, who had offers from Ole Miss, Indiana and Northern Illinois pointed towards several important factors in choosing the Wildcats.
"Northwestern is just a great environment. The coaches work hard to develop the players as athletes as well as young men. Everyone knows how strong the academics are at Northwestern and that was no doubt another big factor. Yet Northwestern is also much more than just academics and it just feels like such a great fit for me in so many ways. Another big factor for me was the overall stability at Northwestern with the coaching staff. Between the beautiful campus, the new facilities coming soon along with the people at Northwestern it's just too hard for me to pass up."
Mangieri joins Libertyville offensive linemen Charlie Schmidt (6-foot-4, 270 pounds) as the Wildcats second in-state verbal commitment and the fourth overall verbal commitment in the Class of 2018.
Northwestern and head coach Pat Fitzgerald added it's first in-state verbal commitment to the Wildcats Class of 2018 this morning.
Libertyville three star ranked offensive linemen Charlie Schmidt (6-foot-4, 270 pounds) decided to end his recruiting process and pledged to Northwestern.
"I made an overnight visit to Northwestern this weekend," Schmidt said. "It was a great visit and I was able to get a lot of answers I had about the school and the football program. I just feel that I can't do any better than Northwestern so I talked it over with my family and gave them my commitment."
"Northwestern offers a great experience. They have great academics, play in the Big Ten and have a winning program. Northwestern is also close to home and they just offer everything I was looking for in a school."
So why did Schmidt decided to commit this early in his recruiting process?
"After the overnight visit this weekend I knew that I couldn't do better than Northwestern. I had some good offers from some good schools but I just feel that Northwestern is where I belong. I just felt like it was the right time to commit and why wait when I knew that I was ready to commit to Northwestern?"
Schmidt is the third known verbal commitment in the Class of 2018 for the Wildcats. Schmidt joins Rockford, Michigan QB Jason Whittaker ((6-foot-5, 195 pounds) and Pearland, Texas offensive linemen Payne He'bert (6-foot-4, 280 pounds) as early verbal commitments in the Northwestern Class of 2018.