McShepard at home with Northwestern

Marcus McShepard came to Northwestern for a weekend visit in which he hoped to grow comfort with the university and its football program. He leaves town with a few souvenirs and as a member of the Wildcats' recruiting class.

Pat Fitzgerald does his best to sell Northwestern's family atmosphere to prospective recruits. It serves as a key draw to the program.

That pitch was made to weekend visitor Marcus McShepard the moment he arrived on Northwestern's campus on Friday.

"It was really close, it's like a small family here in Evanston," said McShepard. "Everybody knows each other. As soon as I got here, I had a handshake with each and every coach, the graduate assistants, trainers, assistants, everybody. It's a pretty good feeling when you know all the coaches and that they're behind you 100 percent." For McShepard and his family, the highlight of his visit was meeting with the team.

"These are the guys I'm going to be with for the next couple years of my life—almost every day," he said. "I felt comfortable around these guys right when I got here. This was home."

The at-home feeling on Northwestern's campus felt very familiar for McShepard, which was one of the factors which led to his decision.

"I made the realization that it's a lot like my high school and my area," he said. "I felt at home with Northwestern. I felt it was my time to make my commitment so I did."

On Sunday, McShepard stopped by a Northwestern team store and picked up a souvenirs to bring home.

"I got a hat, a hoodie, a shirt, and I got a keychain," he said. "I'm sure I'll get more some before I get there."

Chris Emma has covered recruiting, college athletics and professional baseball for FOX Sports Next since 2009. Emma covered the Nebraska Cornhuskers for Big Red Report, and currently covers the Northwestern Wildcats. He resides on Chicago's north side.
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