Brandon Lee keeps NU in contention

Brandon Lee talks about the Northwestern appeal after including the Wildcats on the list of his top five schools.

Brandon Lee returned home late last night—too late to reach Pat Fitzgerald with some good news.

The four-star linebacker announced his top five schools on Saturday, with Northwestern included on the list. The Wildcats could use another linebacker following the transfer of promising backup Eric Wilson. With that spot reserved for Lee, the quiet stretch of football recruiting ended with promising news.

In the past several weeks, Fitzgerald insisted that Lee remains among the top priorities. The Indianapolis (Ind.) Lawrence Central HS target appreciates the attention, and knows that he'd be joining one special recruiting class.

"[Coach Fitzgerald] is happy with the recruiting group that he's brought in," Lee said. "That outside linebacker spot: They're holding it for me in the recruiting process."

Lee said he's built excellent relationships with three coaches in particular. Fitzgerald, Dennis Springer and Randy Bates have sold him on some benefits of the NU program. In his competitive recruitment now whittled down to NU, Oregon, Cal, Louisville and Virginia Tech, they'll need to work even harder during this final stretch to land another four-star recruit.

Of course, the academics stand out. Lee's plan is clearly defined and NU–you would assume–has the edge in the classroom.

"I want to become an orthopedic surgeon," Lee said. "That's my ultimate goal. I'm going pre-med … The academics there, they support that pretty well. It's an attractive point of Northwestern."

The Noah Westerfield situation again comes to mind. Westerfield appeared torn between SMU, Boise State and NU until Fitzgerald compared graduation rates. For players truly focused on academics, Northwestern always stands out.

Louisville suffered from recent Academic Progress Rate struggles, and the others lag behind NU in academic prestige. Here's an educated guess: When Lee visits Evanston, he'll be handed some facts and brochures. With a looser timeframe to fill out the class, Lee hasn't officially planned his campus visit, but should do so in the coming weeks.

"I haven't had it scheduled out necessarily," he said. "But it'll come sometime this fall. I'll get back up there."

Fitzgerald and the NU coaching staff will face another challenge in landing Lee. They dominated on the trail last spring. Now, they have another opportunity before them.

"[Fitzgerald] is pretty excited that they're still in my recruitment," Lee said. "He says I can close out that group and make it even better."

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