4-star OT Newsome visiting NU Thursday

2015 4-star OT Grant Newsome says Northwestern is one of the four schools recruiting him the hardest. The Lawrenceville (N.J.) standout discusses his upcoming visit with PW.

A four-star offensive tackle who holds offers from Alabama, LSU, Michigan and Ohio State will visit, of all places, Northwestern.

Grant Newsome of Lawrenceville (N.J.) is scheduled to attend NU practice on Thursday, part of the Wildcats' continued effort to recruit New Jersey.

"I think they do an amazing job," Newsome said of NU and its growing pipeline. "Coach [Bob] Heffner is an amazing recruiter. It's been a pleasure to work with him."

Heffner, the superbacks coach, has staked his claim among the team's best area recruiters. His work in New Jersey helped to land Garrett Dickerson and Cameron Queiro for the 2014 class.

Now, he's got a realistic chance at another ace recruit—with an important Thursday upcoming. Newsome listed Northwestern as one of the four schools recruiting him the hardest. Penn State, Duke and Maryland are the others.

"I think that obviously, the big part is that you definitely want to go where you're wanted," he said.

The 2015 class began slower than last year's, with no commits yet. Still, the Wildcats appear to be gaining ground on key prospects. Their usual strategy involves an intense pursuit of four or five elite players. Newsome and Tyriq Thompson of Detroit (Mich.) King are among them.

The idea of "history" is part of the major pitch here. NU, after its 5-7 season, wants to persuade recruits that the program can recover. They came off a 10-win season in 2012, before injuries derailed the following campaign. It's come across in interviews, with even top recruits citing the solid reputation.

"They have great academics and great athletics," Newsome said. "They have a whole lot to offer there. It's great football playing in the Big Ten."

This could be a crucial visit for Newsome, though he doesn't plan to commit until the summer. He wants to see the "dynamic" of the team, and how the players interact with the coaching staff.

NU, in the past, has always loved the recruiting challenge. Another comes to town this Thursday.

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