The Reaction: Wyatt fits right in

Fred Wyatt gives Northwestern some much-needed depth on the d-line, writes Steven Goldstein. He also follows an encouraging trend in the class of 2014.

There was no questioning the 10 members of this nascent class of 2014. Littered with four-star recruits and explicitly passionate players, Northwestern's core of commits is perhaps the most encouraging in program history.

What did warrant a few questions, however, was who would play defense. Only three of those 10 incoming Cats project to play on the defensive side of the ball, and of those two, Ben Oxley was originally scouted as an offensive tackle.

Here's an answer. Fred Wyatt committed to NU yesterday, as first reported by Nick Medline.

With Wyatt, Northwestern gets the defensive linemen it so desperately needed, and the depth Pat Fitzgerald continues to stress. Standing at 6-4 and 255 lbs., the 11th member of the class of 2014 will be entering the fold just as Tyler Scott graduates. With Sean McEvilly and Chance Carter set as seniors, Wyatt can afford a redshirt season to bulk up or be toyed with at other spots along the line.

Northwestern's versatile defense relies on pressure from every angle, and adding a tackle makes perfect sense here. After allowing less than 3.8 yards per carry last year, the Cats appear to be committed to keeping the front lines strong.

Finally snagging a defensive lineman is key. But it's not just about what makes Wyatt stand out from the class of 2014. It's about what makes him fit right in.

Wyatt's connection to Northwestern dates back to 1997, when his father Buddy worked on staff with then-graduate assistant Pat Fitzgerald. Immersed in the program since birth, Wyatt's constant contact with Fitzgerald through Twitter and encouraging campus visit this weekend lead to a commitment, one that comes earlier than the original summer timetable he laid out for PW last week.

The kid wants to be here.

Like the rest of his class, Wyatt's desire to join the Wildcats is evident. The offensive half of Northwestern's commits are oozing with excitement and seem on board with everything Fitz and Co. are doing. After Jordan Thomas kicked off the class of 2014 last December, it's reassuring that Wyatt continues this fervor and anchors Northwestern's final five defensive commits.

Fitzgerald has kept an eye on Wyatt for over a decade. Now he's got him. That's big, even by defensive linemen standards.


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