Although he lives only 45 minutes from campus, Lemke-Bell visited Evanston once—for a wrestling match.
"It was dark," Lemke-Bell told PurpleWildcats.com on Friday. "I'm just excited to get over there and see what it's like."
Lemke-Bell said he views the offer as an honor: "100 percent." This month, the NU staff—including O-line coach Adam Cushing—evaluated several players.
And the early results were promising: Lemke-Bell and Houston Westfield HS target Cordel Iwuagwu earned offers as the Wildcats hope to add a piece to their offensive line.
Lemke-Bell's wrestling career, though, simply hints at his upside. OPRF won the 3A state title this year, with Lemke-Bell their starting heavyweight.
"The skills I pick up in wrestling carry over to football, for sure," he said. "It's a good way to stay in shape."
Add the recruiting process to his wrestling agenda. Lemke-Bell–a rising talent–holds offers including Minnesota, Iowa State, Syracuse, Yale and Harvard.
Still, NU, with its geography, might have an early advantage. Pat Fitzgerald and staff will finally host him for a campus visit—likely in early June.
Lemke-Bell went over the ideal characteristics.
"Do I like the campus? Is it a labyrinth? What's it like? Do I like the feel of the program?
"I'm not really worried about academics. Every school I'm interested in is a good academic option."
Lemke-Bell told PW he has no timeframe for his commitment. If the right opportunity presents itself, though, he could pull before his anticipated October date. NU has an early shot.
"It's a great program with great coaches," he said. "It's all around a good fit."