No "Games" With NU

In April of 2009, Kain Colter—then a three-star standout from the state of Colorado—was all set on his college decision. He was going to play football at Stanford. Things abruptly changed for the highly-touted quarterback during his senior season. A torn labrum sidelined him for eight games, leaving questions of his future health. Suddenly, Stanford began to back off on their once prized prospect.

Fast-forward eight months later to December, 2009. Kain Colter was still waiting. He had sent in his transcripts to Stanford, but never heard back. Colter, who had a 4.2 grade point average and took AP-level classes in high school, was told to wait on admissions.

Finally, enough was enough. Stanford and head coach Jim Harbaugh were not supplying the quarterback with any answers. Just weeks before National Signing Day, Colter was left no choice but to decommit from the Cardinal.

It remains to be seen whether Stanford was concerned about Colter's academic standing or his labrum issue, but either way, he was left hanging. At this point, he had a month to make a big decision.

"Other schools punt on kids and that's disappointing," said NU head coach Pat Fitzgerald. "It goes back to this whole verbal commitment thing, where coaches say it's the kids decommitted, and that's part of it, but it's also coaches who punt on kids when they get hurt, it's pathetic. It's these kid's futures."

Colter's future was in jeopardy as he evaluated other options.

He had begun making visits prior to his Stanford commitment ending. The first visit was Arizona State on December 11th. He began to build a relationship with ASU coach Dennis Erickson. One week later, he visited Northwestern, then later made trips to Nebraska and TCU.

When the trips were over, Colter named his front-runner—Northwestern. The difference was simple.

"Not only do they have the best education, but their football program is coming up," Colter told on January 5th, 2010.

Just a few days later, Colter was sold—again. He was set to be a Wildcat.

Another positive which Northwestern offered him was the chance to play quarterback—something which other schools were not willing to consider.

"We felt all along that Kain was going to be a quarterback," Fitzgerald said.

Colter's labrum injury didn't scare away Coach Fitzgerald and Northwestern. He sees it differently than Stanford did.

"We're going to stand by young men that get hurt," Fitzgerald said. "The only reason I'm going to drop a guy is if academically, it doesn't work, or socially, they become a knucklehead."

Things would work out for Colter, but he had to be a first-hand witness to one of the worst sides of the recruiting process. Fortunately for Kain, Northwestern didn't play those games.

"I'm not trying to be on a high horse of be holier than thou," said Fitzgerald, "That's one of the darker sides of college football, when we have coaches trying to play games that way."

Now, the only games Colter is involved with are with Northwestern—at quarterback, just as he always wanted.

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