Northwestern football recruiting: 5 takeaways after Day 1 of the Early Signing Period
Northwestern didn’t produce fireworks on Day 1 of the Early Signing Period. The Wildcats went into the day with 14 high school commits expected to sign, and the program put out a press release announcing the class of 2021 early in the day.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Northwestern checked in at No. 58 nationally in 247Sports’ team rankings and 11th among the B1G’s 14 teams.
The Wildcats did not bring in a 5-star prospect but landed a pair of talented 4-star players and 12 3-star recruits.
Here are 5 takeaways:
Linebacker headlines the class
The biggest get for coach Pat Fitzgerald was inside linebacker Mac Uihlein, one of the two 4-star recruits in the class. He committed to Northwestern in April with offers from fellow B1G West teams Wisconsin, Purdue, Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa. His other Power 5 offers came from Virginia and Louisville.
Uihlein is a 6-1, 215-pound in-state product from Lake Forest, Illinois. He is rated as the No. 16 inside linebacker in the country and the third best prospect from the state of Illinois. Uihlein is joined in the class by 3-star outside linebacker Aidan Hubbard, who also had plenty of Power 5 offers come his way.
Choosing Northwestern over big offers
If you’re looking for a Northwestern signee who was offered by some of the best in college football, look no further than offensive tackle Caleb Tiernan. He is is the other 4-star recruit for Northwestern, and he actually committed to the Wildcats in the same week as Uihlein. Tiernan drew offers from Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State, among others. He ultimately committed to Northwestern in March of this year.
The 6-7, 280-pound Tiernan, from Franklin, Michigan, is the 28th highest rated player at his position and the 10th best prospect overall in the state of Michigan. With the quality of programs looking for Tiernan’s services, Northwestern should be pretty excited it was able to land him.
Wildcats get a QB
The class of 2020 quarterback recruiting was certainly unique for Northwestern. The Wildcats received a commitment from 4-star prospect Aidan Atkinson, but he had legal issues and never signed with Northwestern, which ended up with 3-star Carl Richardson, who had just one Power 5 offer.
In the 2021 class, Northwestern signed 3-star quarterback Brendan Sullivan. Indiana was the only other Power 5 program to offer a scholarship. He is a 6-3, 180-pounder out of Davison, Michigan. Sullivan is a pro-style QB ranked 27th at his position and No. 17 overall in his state.
Northwestern has experimented with the transfer portal for its quarterback position. After Clemson transfer Hunter Johnson didn’t work out in 2019, Peyton Ramsey arrived from Indiana and led the Wildcats to a B1G West title.
Where’d they come from?
Northwestern largely stuck around the Midwest for this recruiting class, but the Wildcats’ 14 recruits are coming from seven states. Northwestern landed just two prospects from inside its home state of Illinois. Here’s the breakdown:
- Michigan: 4
- Ohio: 3
- Illinois: 2
- North Carolina: 2
- Indiana: 1
- Texas: 1
- Massachusetts: 1
Looking ahead to 2022
The recruiting class for 2022 will be very unique as the COVID-19 pandemic is making for a challenge for recruiting across all of college football. With coaches unable to head on the road and recruits unable to make on-campus visits, the evaluation process will undoubtedly take a pretty big hit, and programs will need to get creative as everybody is behind where they would be at this point in a normal recruiting cycle. At this point, Northwestern does not have any kids committed for the class of 2022 in what should be as unique of a recruiting cycle we’ve ever seen.