When 2015 offensive tackle Blake Camper of Virginia Beach visited practice Thursday, Fitzgerald showed off his old linebacker skills.
During nine-on-seven drills, with a receiver streaking down the sideline, Camper said Fitzgerald chased the wideout and literally tackled him.
"Coach Fitz really was involved in the practice," Camper said. "He was giving the drill and playing … He's as great as you hear about."
Aggressive in practice, aggressive in recruiting. That day, Fitzgerald continued the busy season by offering Camper.
"I was very, very excited," Camper said. "I really wasn't expecting it. It was a really great experience."
This season—more than ever—recruits are genuinely focused on academics. Several prospects have grade point averages above 4.0, and want to compete at a school with the right balance of school and sports.
"It's basically like an Ivy League school that plays in the Big Ten," he said. "That's really the biggest thing on my radar. I want the best education I can possibly get. It's just a bonus that they happen to play good football."
Camper also appears to have built strong relationships within the coaching staff. Defensive line coach Marty Long began his recruitment by reaching out to him via Facebook. The two started exchanging emails, and then planned this week's visit. He also bonded with Adam Cushing, who he called a "stand-up guy."
"They all give off a great vibe," he said. "They're very personable."
Camper hopes to commit closer to his senior season, after evaluating all of his options. His recruitment has picked up in recent weeks, filing offers from Maryland, Rutgers and Virginia.
But asked how Northwestern could improve its pitch, he barely hesitated.
"They shouldn't change a thing," he said. "They made me feel wanted."