Northern Solid on Fresno State

Lakewood (Calif.) Mayfair offensive lineman Justin Northern landed his first offer from a Pac-10 program last spring. Air Force and Fresno State followed in the fall, and after mulling his options over, Northern decided to give head coach Pat Hill and the Bulldogs a verbal commitment…

Justin Northern (6-4, 250) received an early offer from Oregon in the spring. But he says he waited to long.

"I was very interested in them," said Northern. "I knew you could lose a scholarship because of grades…they don't let you commit until you take a visit out there…I waited and come August four other guys committed…"

Air Force became his second offer, but the Falcons weren't quite the right fit.

"I was pretty interested in Air Force…Oregon is a great football school and Air Force isn't that bad of program and academically, they set you up for life…but I really didn't picture myself at Air Force."

Nonetheless, Northern found his fit.

"Fresno State offered our fifth game into the season," said Northern. "They liked how I played in the Los Alamitos game…and Coach [Pat] Hill sent me a handwritten letter and official scholarship offer.

While he'd been in contact mostly with only his recruiter, linebacker coach Tim Skipper, Northern was anxious to get to Fresno to check things out.

"At the time, I had only met Coach Skipper…I never met Pat Hill or [OL] Coach [Derek] Frazier…and I didn't want to wait like I did for Oregon.

Northern took an unofficial visit in mid-October when Fresno State hosted New Mexico State. "We got up there around 2-3 p.m. (game kicked off at 7:30 p.m.) and met the players, saw the game, then talked to the coaches.

"I really liked the coaching staff. I liked how the city went around the football team, they play anybody, and it's close to home."

That experience along with some research and talking it over with his family and coaches the next few weeks made it easier for Northern to pull the trigger.

"I called up Coach Skipper and committed to him then I called Coach Frazier and then called Coach Hill.

Northern currently plays left tackle, but he says he can play anything on the line. He takes his official visit to Fresno State this weekend Dec. 10. He has no other official visits scheduled.

"I saw a lot of the athletic facilities," Northern said of his first trip to Fresno. "I want to see the school and the academic advisors [this week]. I'm thinking about majoring in biology."

Despite making his commitment, some schools are continuing to recruit him. But the one school, Northern followed growing up has not made any contact since he camped there last summer.

"Before the whole recruiting process started, UCLA was the school I was looking at," said Northern. "Growing up it was a dream school."

But he says it makes little difference now.

"I love Fresno State and that's the place I'm going."

He reports a 4.0 GPA. He scored a 1540, twice, on the three-part SAT.

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