Recruiting Intro: NU with strong early pitch

Despite a rough 2013 season, the Wildcats headed into Junior Day with a strong, clear pitch.

Did 1-7 matter?

It could have, but it won't.

No school screams confidence like Northwestern, which worked on its 2015 recruiting class this weekend at Junior Day.

Through that, the pitch emerged. Through that, several prospects bought in—and many more will this year.

No one's shying away from the poor 2013 season. Instead, the coaching staff said it was a fluke. The Wildcats have an argument, and players chose to believe it.

"It's definitely a program on the rise," local offensive tackle Trevor Ruhland said. "They had a down season last year. But I like how they say they're providing not for the next four years, but for the next 40 years."

Note the segue. At Junior Day, in front of families, NU stuck with its old principles—the ones that never leave. Recruits raved to PW about everything from internship chances to the benefits of a strong degree. And that resonates.

"I feel like they set their players up to succeed," Charlotte (N.C.) center Brian Chaffin said. "They have internships at Fortune 500 companies in Chicago. Northwestern offers an education. That stands out for itself."

Better, the team took advantage of its planned lakefront facility. The $220 million complex was explained to recruits, and most took notice.

"Their new plan to build that lakefront facility, that's cool," defensive end prospect Jacob Robinson said.

"I know they're building a new facility," linebacker visitor Markus Bailey told Dave Berk of "I'm not sure when it's going to be finished. But I know they are putting it on Lake Michigan and hopefully that will be done soon because it would be neat to work out there."

Northwestern, in sum, perfectly combined the old and the new on Junior Day. They placed focus on strong academics, while adding the lakefront touch and building important relationships.

Recruits can be honest at times. And for the most part, 2015 prospects believe NU's latest campaign was nothing more than a blip.

Junior Day was the first chance to gauge where NU stood. After strong reviews from prospects–which included one unified message–the Wildcats stand in good shape heading into this recruiting season.

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