Darnold on campus; Battle, Yates next?

An update on the current Northwestern quarterback search.

Travis Waller blew smoke. The 4-star quarterback from Anaheim Servite HS placed Northwestern on several of his "top _" lists but never visited Evanston. He liked the idea of putting NU on his list, along with schools including Alabama and Notre Dame. Still, no sane coach takes a prospect seriously until he visits. Because who knows? Waller, not surprisingly, never got there. He looked at the new, shiny toy like Oregon and will very likely commit there.

That's also entirely relevant, given that Sam Darnold of San Clemente (Calif.) is currently on visit to Northwestern. He might be best served committing today, but even that looks questionable. He's always wanted to play closer to home, and the Oregon offer complicates things. Even if Waller takes that spot, there's another problem: USC spoke with Darnold and might jump with a sudden late offer. Darnold also visits Duke, which has a quarterback. USC has a quarterback. Oregon will get Waller. It's a difficult moment from the three-star QB, but seems irrelevant if he doesn't end up loving his visit to Northwestern.

Aside from Austin Seibert, the Jason Pellerin to Ole Miss saga seems like the most painful loss. The quarterback from New Iberia (La.) was the exact physical prototype for Northwestern. There was a geographical challenge, initially, but they thought they could overcome it. Often, when NU offers a player down South before others do, many schools catch on and the kid "blows up." It never happened with Pellerin, and they still lost out to Ole Miss. I'd guess he was even higher on the board than Darnold was.

Lloyd Yates is an underrated quarterback from local Oak Park River Forest HS. He's also the kind of athlete NU focuses on. It's a great look for them to take local players, and those sleepers can turn into productive guys. I'd bet that if Darnold leaves without committing, Yates could receive an offer shortly after. He's thrown for Mick McCall, and the offensive coordinator had positive words for him. They could stall—and consider other prospects—or they could move immediately. Also watch Brandon Battle of Waldorf (Md.) North Point, who also threw for McCall.


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