Chris Pool: #11 Northwestern Wildcats

Summary - Northwestern will always have to recruit differently from other Big Ten schools. Randy Walker and his staff have to recruit nationally for not only talented football players but also players with the academic background to be able to attend one of the finest institutions in the nation. Northwestern did have a successful year on the gridiron and they did play in a Bowl game but this haul wasn't as good as last year's class.

Quarterback will be unsettled in 2006. There's not clear-cut favorite to win the quarterback derby in Evanston and that's why despite signing two quarterbacks in '05, Northwestern is bringing in another top gunslinger in this class.

Big Fish - QB Joe Mauro, 6-4, 210, 4.6, Hurst (Texas) Bell

Mauro, the No. 48 ranked quarterback prospect, in the nation, according to, camped at Northwestern last summer and fell in love with the campus, the coaches and the facilities at Northwestern. Mauro ran the triple option offense as a junior, which shows just what type of athlete he is but Bell switched to a spread offense this past season and Mauro passed for 1,700 yards. Mauro's game is tailor made for Northwestern's spread attack where the quarterback is not only asked to throw the ball but he also has to tuck the ball and run with it at times. Mauro will definitely be in the mix to win the quarterback job next fall.

Key Players - WR Carl Fisher (Bolingbrook, Ill.), TE Brendan Mitchell (Hudson, Ohio), LB Nate Williams (Pittsburgh, Pa.). Fisher has a lot to prove. He was one of the most talked about football players in Illinois as a sophomore but never took the next step in his development. Carl has the potential to be an outstanding player in Northwestern's offense. Ohio's Brandan Mitchell was one of the most talked about prospects last summer. Mitchell, a "Midwest Hot 100" selection committed in August. Pittsburgh's Nate Williams is a tackling machine that comes from one of the top prep football programs (Central Catholic) in the nation.

One That Got Away - DE Sean McWhirter, 6-4, 275, 4.7, Long Lake (Minn.) Orono.

McWhirter, the No. 9 rated defensive end prospect, in the Midwest, according to, had a Northwestern offer and was scheduled to visit but that visit never happened. Glen Mason made an in-home visit to McWhirter before his Northwestern official visit and Mason was able to seal the deal. Northwestern even had McWhirter's parents on their side but things just didn't work out. Northwestern needs help on the defensive line and McWhirter has the potential to be special defensive end in the Big Ten.

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