Real Football Friday: RS Freshman Update

Steven Goldstein recaps some spring performances of the redshirt freshman class.

Kyle Queiro

Queiro looked sharp as NU's second-string safety this spring, and consistently challenged receivers on deep balls. He went against the first-team offense for part of this month's open practice. We expect him to secure the backup role this summer and prepare for a solid career.

Xavier Menifield

Menifield showed a quick first step during scout-team reps, and broke off a few big runs at the Lakeside practice. While he won't see as many looks with Venric Mark, Stephen Buckley and others returning to the fold, the staff can have some faith in Menifield. He'll offer needed depth this fall and probably contribute down the road.

Marcus McShepard

McShepard was beat a handful of times in scrimmages, but saw more reps as the spring progressed. Pat Fitzgerald praised his scout team play a few times last fall, though he's still at least a year away from serious reps.

Keith Watkins

Watkins didn't see much playing time in a cornerback depth chart loaded with upperclassmen, and he'll remain buried behind Nick VanHoose, Daniel Jones, Matthew Harris and Dwight White this season. Though only 5-11, Watkins makes up for his lack of size with good speed and excellent hands.

Tom Fuessel

Fuessel remains out with an injury, but was one of the standout players from last year's practice squad. At 6-4, Fuessel—a converted high school quarterback—is the Wildcats' second-tallest wideout.

Eric Joraskie

Joraskie took advantage of Northwestern's lack of available defensive linemen, playing end with Dean Lowry during some first-team drills. Joraskie, a product of a 5-2 system in high school, earned praise from Fitzgerald last March. "Eric is really improving," he told "He's learning a lot and doing a good job with it."

Godwin Igwebuike

Like Queiro, Igwebuike was solid as a second-team safety and stepped up when Ibraheim Campbell broke his jaw. Northwestern appears very comfortable with its safety depth, fielding Campbell and Traveon Henry as experienced starters.

Brett Walsh

Walsh looks to be ahead of the curve in his second year, and can play either middle or outside linebacker. He's almost guaranteed a second-team role. He was good in run defense and kept up with superbacks throughout spring.

Macan Wilson

Wilson had a few nice grabs this spring and beat Traveon Henry deep in NU's open scrimmage. He's our long-term sleeper in the receiving corps.

Jayme Taylor

Taylor had a good spring alongside Dan Vitale, and earned our praise in multiple practices. He and Scanlan were the two offensive standouts in this class.

Matt Alviti

Alviti was inconsistent this spring: he overthrew passes and held the ball for too long in early practices, but told PW that he "turned a corner" at the team's open practice earlier this month. He'll be stuck behind Trevor Siemian and Zack Oliver this season, and it's looking more likely that Oliver will start in 2015.

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