Five freshmen to watch

Northwestern's 2013 recruiting class is signed and set. Now, the focus is with how each of the 19 newest Wildcats fit with the program. PurpleWildcats takes a look at five freshmen who could make an immediate impact.

Name: Godwin Igwebuike
School: Pickerington North (OH)
Height, Weight: 6-foot, 193 lbs
College Position: Undecided

Analysis— Godwin Igwebuike is likely to be on the field somewhere as a true freshman; the question is where will he play. The Northwestern coaches have told Igwebuike he has the option of what position he'll play—either running back or defensive back—and he has yet to make that decision. The choice will be determined based on playing time, first and foremost. With such great speed and athleticism, he can make an impact at either spot.

Quote to note— "I actually haven't decided just yet. I talked to the coaches about it. They opened up the door and let me know what the depth chart will be like. I'm going to keep praying about it, talking to my parents, my teammates, and figure it out soon." –Godwin Igwebuike, on picking a position.

Name: Eric Joraskie
School: Mount Carmel Area (PA)
Height, Weight: 6-4, 265 lbs
College Position: Defensive End, Defensive Tackle

Anaylsis— With adequate size and great burst off the ball, Northwestern coaches have told Eric Joraskie to be prepared for any position on the defensive line. Joraskie played the role of nose tackle in a 3-4 defense, but feels comfortable taking any of the four spots in Northwestern's defensive line. Joraskie can be compared to Dean Lowry, taken in last year's recruiting class, but enters the program with much better size. Look for Joraskie to make an immediate impact.

Quote to note— "[Coach Long] told me I can definitely get on the field if I come in, work hard, and play well. They feel I can definitely play; it's just about learning the system and working hard." –Eric Joraskie, on the coaches' expectations.

Name: Blake King
School: Minooka (IL)
Height, Weight: 6-4, 285 lbs
College Position: Offensive Tackle

Analysis— There are several options for Northwestern at the blindside tackle position, left open by the graduating Patrick Ward, and Blake King needs to be considered as a candidate. With a Big Ten-ready frame, King needs to prove he has the abilities. At the high-school level, he was dominant. In practice with Northwestern, he'll need to adjust to the speed of a new level.

Quote to note— "It gives me a better chance to play. I want to get on the field as early as I can." –Blake King, on vying for a starting job.

Name: Brett Walsh
School: Monrovia (CA)
Height, Weight: 6-1, 205 lbs
College Position: Outside Linebacker

Analysis— There's a lot to like about Brett Walsh, another classic Northwestern under-the-radar steal. He has great athleticism and is solid in pursuit. The Northwestern coaches see him as a potential fit in the rotation at linebacker. With a strong showing in camp, that could be a possibility.

Quote to note— "They've given me an opportunity. That is a big thing for me. I wouldn't want to go to a school where something is given to me, or it's unfair and I can' have that. I'm going to push myself to the limit." –Brett Walsh, on the opportunity to play.

Name: Keith Watkins
School: Moeller (OH)
Height, Weight: 5-11, 180 lbs
College Position: Cornerback

Analysis— It's no secret that Northwestern has endured some issues at the cornerback position. Newcomer Nick VanHoose won over a starting spot last year, and won't be letting it up. Look for Keith Watkins to do the same. He is a shutdown corner, aggressive at the line of scrimmage, and a tough matchup for opposing receivers. Wildcat fans are on board with that.

Quote to note— "They just said to come up and be ready to play. Perform for us in camp and be ready to go. And I will be ready." –Keith Watkins, on his first camp.

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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