When recruits watched losses, they did not see a failing team. They saw one that was so close. They saw one that could use a few players to get even better.
Last weekend's visit practically sealed the commitments of four-star twins Andrew and David Dowell. It was what happened during the practice that stood out to Andrew, who spoke with PurpleWildcats.com on Sunday night.
Fitzgerald kept yelling: "Finish. Finish. Finish." When you come up just short, you learn to never take plays off. Andrew said that mentality would carry over to his high school season. It's the first of many things Fitzgerald will teach him.
"We're looking to do little things this year," Andrew told PurpleWildcats.com on Sunday night. "I'm glad to be a part of the Northwestern family."
The two called by speakerphone and were left with one little argument: They couldn't decide who became the fourth commit and who was fifth.
But perhaps more so than anyone, the Dowells were thrilled after committing. By midnight, Andrew said he was "still juiced" about it. The entire family, which played a large part in the process, was naturally excited.
"My parents were extremely ecstatic," Andrew said. "My dad has been with us every step of the recruiting process. My mom was very excited about the education … That was a huge standout from all of the other offers. We'll play big-time football and get a big-time education."
Late Sunday night, guys he knew from "first grade" were offering their congratulations. It was as important to the Dowells as it was to Fitzgerald. They were happy to finish the process.