2014 OL JB Butler considering walk-on status

2014 offensive lineman JB Butler of Joliet Catholic HS (Ill.) was offered by Northwestern as preferred walk-on. If he's accepted early decision, it would be "hard to say no."

Northwestern stayed with J.B. Butler for years, recruiting the Joliet Catholic HS (Ill.) offensive lineman with success. And though Butler failed to earn a scholarship – with the O-line filling up quickly – he kept listening to the coaching staff, which promised another opportunity.

The Wildcats offered Butler as a preferred walk-on, and the 2014 prospect has the chance to be one of Northwestern's best non-scholarship players in recent memory.

Now, he'll have to be patient, just like any normal student. Butler applied early decision to NU and waits to hear back from admissions.

"I'm comfortable with the coaching staff and the school," Butler said. "If I get in, it'd be hard to say no."

After fielding significant interest without any offers, Butler finally carried his search "down to the wire." He's strongly considering Western Illinois and Ivy League schools including Brown and Penn — which must bode well for his impending NU decision letter.

The preferred-walk on hype heightened, with the Illinois coaching staff asking him to take an official visit next weekend. Still, NU's looking like it's among the favorites for a recruit who stuck around.

The situation is similar to those of current players Graham Bullmore and Cole Johnson. Bullmore, also an offensive lineman, turned down Western Michigan and Wyoming. Johnson held several FCS offers and another to Columbia, but excelled in scout team work and may see time on the special teams unit next season.

Butler's about as good a walk-on as you can get, which would provide a nice positive for a program in need of them. Butler – so close to major offers – wants to prove he can compete. That's part of the appeal.

"They told me that you have a chance to earn a scholarship," Butler said. "I'd go in there with a lot of pride. I'd bust my butt every day."

He won't be lining up any hats prior to making his decision. He'll be opening a letter from the admission department, and if it's positive, Northwestern might just add a solid walk-on.

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