Defense: Where Are We Now?

Take off the graduating Seniors, and add in Northwestern's commits on defense so far, and you get a picture of just how young the Wildcat Defense was during the 2005 season. Right now it looks like NU loses 4 players [3 starters] to graduation. Here's our Recruiting Chart showing who should be playing D for the Cats in 2006

So the NU D finished at the bottom of the NCAA Stat Sheet
you can talk about players, coaches, recruiting, but if you look at just how many underclassmen were on the defense, you get a slightly different picture.

The bad news is the graduation of 4 seniors from the chart - DT Barry Cofield, MLB Tim McGarigle, Safety/CB Herschel Henderson, and Safety Frederic Tarver have all played their last games for NU.

Of the 3, Henderson might have been the most valuable, as he was able to shift back and forth between safety and cornerback as NU's lost starters at both positions.

But you can't diminish the 4 year contribution of both Tim McGarigle and Barry Cofield. We saw Cofield's effect on a game early in the Sun Bowl, and UCLA went out of their way to take Tim McGarigle out of the action.

Frederic Tarver also stepped in, playing nickel back, and safety when Henderson moved back up to corner.
So what do the Cats appear to have out of the recruiting class of 2006?
As of today, January 5th, NU has commits from two safeties and a linebacker.

Franklin Regional HS's Brad Phillips was an early commit to NU, then went on to take his team to the Pennsylvania state championships, playing both QB and Safety. You read the news stories, and its all about his offensive production, but insiders tell us he's another good Safety to add to D-Back coach Jerry Brown's stable.

Another "stealth" prospect for the defensive backfield is Justan Vaughn, who comes from Pearland HS - the place that gave us Trevor Rees and Brandon Roberson. That's enough of a pedigree for me, but he'll probably redshirt as he learns the NU defense.

The third defender joining NU is Central Catholic HS [Pittsburgh] Nate Williams. Williams was the leading tackler for his Vikings, he also rushed for 242 yards [58 carries]. Lots of honors, but he was on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Fab 22 team this year. He's considered another "throwback" - the kind of LB prospect appealing to LB Coach Pat Fitzgerald.
What do we still need?
Because it takes a year or two to develop into a Big 10 Defensive lineman, another Tackle and End would be nice. Right now the only Tackle on our board is Jesse Trejo [6-2 285] out of Baytown, Texas.

Chicago St. Rita's Bernard Cooper [6-1 265] is the top DE, but none of the prospects on the board list NU top of the list.

The full list of defensive prospects is here: DT DE
In any case, the Cats's D - in terms of returning players - looks OK for 2006.
The big question mark is Corey Wootton's neck injury and Trevor Schultz' and Deante Battle's academic issues.

Yes there are a couple of folks who might decide enough is enough and quit, but Kevin Mims, David Ngene and Mark Koehn, along with Wootton, give the Cats an improving pass rush. In the middle, I'd like to see DT Matt Clark get through the spring without any injury and show us why he got offered so fast two years ago.

Adam Hahn is another kid who should gain from time in the weight room and Desmond Taylor should come off his redshirt year bigger and stronger.

In the final analysis:
So far the class of 2006 is thin, but looks fine.

I'd like another big body or two up front, and maybe an outside linebacker type, and a cover corner, but Christmas is past. We'll just have to wait for this weekend to see what happens next.

On the visit list are two d-backs - both with over 6 foot, 4.5 speed.

Northwestern Wildcat Defense
2006 - 2011
 
D-Line - 14
2006 2007 2008 2009 20102011
DE
03**
58 Warren Anderson 58 Warren Anderson+



DE
03**
72 David Ngene 72 David Ngene+



DE
03**
91 Mark Koehn 91 Mark Koehn+



DE
W04
61 David Harper 61 David Harper 61 David Harper+


DE
04**
95 Kevin Mims 95 Kevin Mims 95 Kevin Mims+


DE
05**
99 Corey Wootton 99 Corey Wootton 99 Corey Wootton


DT
03**
53 Trevor Schultz




DT
02*
68 Ronald Bardwell




DT
04**
57 Matt Clark 57 Matt Clark 57 Matt Clark+


DT
05**

70 John Gill70 John Gill70 John Gill


DT
05***
79 Adam Hahn 79 Adam Hahn 79 Adam Hahn 79 Adam Hahn

DT
05**
92 Keegan Kennedy 92 Keegan Kennedy 92 Keegan Kennedy


DT
05*
76 Desmond Taylor 76 Desmond Taylor 76 Desmond Taylor 76 Desmond Taylor

DL
W05 *

71 Tanner Highlen 71 Tanner Highlen 71 Tanner Highlen 71 Tanner Highlen

LB - 13
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
OLB
03**
43 Adam Kadela




MLB
02* [RB]
42 Demetrious Eaton




LB
02*
37 Campbell Black




LB
03**
38 Nick Roach




LB
03**
40 Eddie Simpson 40 Eddie Simpson



MLB
03**
55 Kyle Wagner 55 Kyle Wagner



LB
W04
15 Phil Brunner15 Phil Brunner15 Phil Brunner


LB
04***
48 Rajaie Johnson 48 Rajaie Johnson 48 Rajaie Johnson


LB
05***
31 Mike Dinard 31 Mike Dinard 31 Mike Dinard


LB
05***
51 Chris Jeske 51 Chris Jeske 51 Chris Jeske 51 Chris Jeske

LB
05**
36 Prince Kwateng 36 Prince Kwateng 36 Prince Kwateng


LB
05***
46 Malcolm Arrington 46 Malcolm Arrington 46 Malcolm Arrington


LB
06 **
Nate Williams Nate Williams Nate Williams Nate Williams Nate Williams
D-Backs-15
2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
CB
02*
20 Marquice Cole




CB
02*
6 Cory Dious+




CB
03**
35 Ryan Black 35 Ryan Black



CB
03****

22 Deante Battle 22 Deante Battle



CB
W03
47 Chaz Richart 47 Chaz Richart 47 Chaz Richart


CB
W03
49 Tim Downing 49 Tim Downing 49 Tim Downing


SAF
W02
21 Bryan Heinz




SAF
03**
27 Reggie McPherson 27 Reggie McPherson



SAF
W03
45 Ben Rothrauff 45 Ben Rothrauff



SAF/CB
04**
39 David Oredugba 39 David Oredugba 39 David Oredugba


SAF
04*
34 Andre Butler 34 Andre Butler 34 Andre Butler


SAF
05**
39 Brendan Smith 39 Brendan Smith 39 Brendan Smith


SAF
06**
Brad Phillips Brad Phillips Brad Phillips Brad Phillips Brad Phillips
SAF
06**

Justan Vaughn Justan Vaughn Justan Vaughn Justan Vaughn Justan Vaughn
SAF/LB
W05

44 Todd Dockery 44 Todd Dockery 44 Todd Dockery 44 Todd Dockery


This chart is based on the official NU Roster on NUSports, and represents the best guess estimate by Purple Reign of the status of the players on the Northwestern Football Defensive Team.
Colors and symbols represent the following:
Red - Possible Redshirt Year
Bold Red - Commits/Redshirt year?
"*" After year is # of Stars on Scout.com [Original Recruited Position in brackets]
W = Walkon


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[or comment on the Purple Boards]
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