Jared McGee believes it.
Less than two weeks after first meeting Pat Fitzgerald, the Mansfield (Tex.) safety boarded a flight to Chicago. And to begin his official visit, he was in awe of the city.
"Right after I got off the plane, I was amazed at the size and the different stuff going on in Chicago," McGee told PurpleWildcats.com on Monday, the day after his commitment.
He met the coaching staff, which showed him around the city and around Evanston. Almost immediately, the idea of going to school far from home—and flipping from his commitment to UTSA—explained its appeal.
On a standard recruiting visit to Mansfield Legacy HS, Fitzgerald and Matt MacPherson heard about an intriguing, under-recruited safety prospect. After checking his test scores and film, Fitzgerald met McGee and formed an instant connection with him.
The problem is, they had no scholarship offers available. They proposed a "gray shirt" to McGee, which brought him to campus, and they did the same for 2014 defensive end Xavier Washington.
Washington received a full scholarship offer during his visit, though McGee was still sold on the prospect of gray-shirting. Asked about the "turning point" of his decision, he pointed to his meeting with academic advisers—of all things.
"They explained more about the gray shirt and the school situation I would be in if I did commit to Northwestern," McGee said. "They were just giving me some more details on the academic side of it, and how I would be at the school during the summer, doing strength and conditioning."
Basically, it's a glorified redshirt for McGee, who made the decision to join the class of 2014. More than that, he's ready to prove his "sleeper" status and grow into his position at Northwestern. Clearly, the coaching staff thought he was worth it.
"I want to bring intelligence to the defense," McGee said. "A lot of guys just want to be the biggest or strongest, but I want to be on a defense that thinks and plays smarter. For lack of a better word, the quarterback of the defense."
McGee will sign his Letter of Intent on National Signing Day, the culmination of a quick recruitment that could not have gone better.