Sophomore High On Northwestern

Chicago standout sophomore quarterback Shelby Spence has drawn interest from a number of schools, but Northwestern stands out for a variety of reasons. The Wildcats made a nice impression on Spence during his December visit.

Shelby Spence is still a sophomore, but is already looking ahead to college. The De La Salle standout quarterback has received interest from a number of schools already. He's keeping it all in perspective.

"It's great seeing that your hard work is getting noticed," said Spence. "It's humbling at the same time, because I see I need to work harder to get to the next level, to be where I want to be."

Spence, a 6-foot, 180-pound quarterback, has received a lot of interest from Northwestern, and has also heard from Duke, Illinois, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, and a number of others.

Back in December, Spence visited Northwestern's practice as the team prepared for the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas. During the visit, he met with NU's coaches and took in the team's practice.

"It was a really good experience to see how they go through their practices," he said.

During his time on campus, Spence got to meet with Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald and offensive coordinator Mick McCall. He left them with highlights from his sophomore season, and hopes to receive a review of the film. Overall, Spence has a good relationship with the Wildcats' coaches.

"The coaching staff is great, they're really welcoming," Spence said. "Coach McCall, Coach Fitzgerald, they're really great guys, really down to earth."

Spence is looking for a school with strong academic prestige, and sees Northwestern as a potential fit.

"Northwestern is a great school," said Spence. "Even if you don't make it to the NFL, with Northwestern, you're set with a degree from there."

In general, Spence is hoping to find a few characteristics in the right school.

"The relationship with the coaches is also important," he said. "But great academics and a strong football program, those are the two most important things to me."

After a rocky season for De La Salle, Spence gave up playing basketball this year, so he could join his team for offseason workouts. He hopes a strong offseason will help his team to a big season in 2012.

"I want to lead my team in the offseason workouts," Spence said. "We had a bad year last year and we have high expectations for next year."

It's still very early in Spence's recruitment, and he is far from making any decision, or even ranking his options. However, Northwestern is making an early impression on the sophomore quarterback.

"I have great respect for (Northwestern's) program," he said. "They have really strong academics, which is great for me. The coaches are really good guys, you can tell they're genuinely interested in their players success, on and off the field. That sticks out to me about their program."

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