Some schools treat seriously injured players like damaged goods; Wyatt instead felt the embrace of Northwestern's coaching staff throughout his recovery process. They always "checked in," encouraging Wyatt to help his teammates in any capacity and to take his therapy seriously.
Fred Wyatt would miss his entire high school season.
Rather than sulking on the sidelines, he learned the importance of values. His coach at Lawrence Free State HS (Kan.) began referring to him as "Coach Wyatt," a special moment for the 2014 defensive tackle.
"I've learned that you have to be able to play every play like it's your last," Wyatt said. "Over the summer and over the course of the season, I became more of a leader off the field."
Fred Wyatt watched NU go on its seven-game losing streak.
But he and his fellow commits, he said, value togetherness and the Wildcats program. They have bonded through the process and anticipate being part of the group that sets this program back in line.
"It seems like we've only gotten closer," Wyatt said of the 2014 class. "None of us are going to change our minds. We're dead set on coming here."
This past weekend marked one of Northwestern's greatest recruiting segments in recent memory. They rallied up 10 of 12 commits, and then watched four-star tight end Garrett Dickerson of Bergen Catholic HS (N.J.) pledge during the weekend.
Wyatt found out when the group visited Pat Fitzgerald's home. Another commit alerted him to the exciting development ("I was like, ‘Oh man!'") and Wyatt quickly congratulated him.
So despite the loss of Dareian Watkins – who committed to Wisconsin – NU managed to keep an excellent recruiting class together. With immediate impact players, especially on the offensive side, the Wildcats maintained their promising future.
Part of that involves Wyatt. The coaching staff stuck with him. Now, it was his turn to stick with them.