Northwestern will host six prospects this weekend on official visits. The Wildcats have eight verbal commitments right now and may only take four more commitments in this class.
Who will be in Evanston this weekend?
Alex Rucks - OL 6-5, 285, 5.3 Lincolnshire (Ill.) Stevenson
Rucks will visit the ‘Cats this weekend and could get a commitment. Michigan State has dropped Alex and the only other visits he has set up is Bowling Green (12-12) and Western Michigan (1-9).
Northwestern is running short on scholarships. If Rucks does commit to Northwestern, it might be as a "Gray Shirt". If he wants to suit up in 2004, he may have to pledge Bowling Green or Western Michigan.
Ben Rinker - TE/OL/DL 6-4, 235, 4.7 Barrington, Illinois.
Verbally committed to Northwestern. Camped with the ‘Cats this summer. Rinker is a team first player, he never complained about being moved to the offensive line this year from his original tight end position in Barrington. A move that could have hurt his recruitment didn't matter to Rinker, he's a team first individual and Randy Walker has to love that.
Rinker is a solid football player. He's put together extremely well and he could play on either side of the ball for Northwestern. Projects as a tight end.
Ryan Cibulka - WR/TE 6-4, 225, 4.6 Roselle (Ill.) Lake Park
Verbally committed to Northwestern. Best kept secret in Illinois and the Midwest for that matter. Talk to any opposing coach, parent, official or ball boy and they'll tell you that Cibulka was arguably the best high school football player they've seen all year.
Excellent size and equally quick and fast, Cibulka is a competitor that will go up and battle for the football. Ryan also has excellent hand-eye coordination, I've seen him make some spectacular grabs this year.
Cibulka is the teammate of highly touted safety Kwame Agyeman. Most experts around Illinois will tell you that Agyeman is a solid football player and deserving of any honor he receives but Cibulka is a better all-around athlete.
Jerod Arlich - FB/TE 6-4, 245, 4.7 Mahtomedi, Minnesota
Stock began to soar in August. Arlich is a bruising fullback with above average speed and hands. Can catch the football and make something happen with it after the catch. Also a terrific defensive player.
Arlich has always had Northwestern near the top of his wish list. Jerod has already visited Colorado (10-10) and Notre Dame (10-31). He'll visit Minnesota (12-12) next week and has a scheduled visit in January with Navy (1-9).
Joel Belding - OL/DL 6-5, 285, 5.1 Lodi (Ohio) Cloverleaf
You talk about stealth! Belding has flown completely under the radar in 2003. Welcome to the Buckeye State. There are so many good football players in Ohio that sometimes prospects like Belding get overlooked.
Northwestern assistant Jack Glowik is from Ohio and leaves no stone unturned in that state.
Belding does not have an offer from Northwestern yet. Joel will visit Minnesota (12-12) next weekend and he does have a Golden Gophers scholarship offer. Vanderbilt and several MAC schools have also offered.
Gerrard Hamlett - RB 5-10, 180, 4.48 Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas
Mr. Hamlett meet snow – Snow meet Mr. Hamlett. When Hamlett leaves Miami International airport this morning it will be 80-degrees and mostly cloudy. When he arrives at O'Hare International airport, it will be 33-degrees and snowing.
The weather in the Midwest has sometimes made the toughest football players in Florida crumble on official visits. Hamlett says Northwestern is his leader because they run the ball a lot (Illinois game helped cause) and Jason Wright will be graduating.
Purdue and Iowa have both offered and are in the mix. Official visits to those schools have not been set yet. Northwestern can slam the door shut this weekend.
Official Visitors - 12/5
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