Northwestern is showing the school is not scared of targeting assistant coaches out of the FCS ranks. Now, Pat Fitzgerald’s program is reportedly zeroing in on a rising star at the FCS level for the defensive line coach position with the Wildcats.

According to John Brice with Football Scoop, Northwestern has targeted Christian Smith, and that Smith is on the verge of landing the DL coach position. Smith is currently the DL coach for South Dakota State, the national champs at the FCS level for the 2022 season.

Smith has one season of previous experience in the Power 5, serving as a graduate assistant for Matt Campbell and Iowa State in 2016.

Already, Northwestern has landed one key coaching addition out of the FCS ranks. David Braun — former defensive coordinator at North Dakota State — was tabbed to lead the same role for the Wildcats heading into 2023.

We’ll see how these staff shakeups pan out for the program. The Wildcats went 1-11 in 2022 and are 4-20 over the past two seasons.