Two More Commits for The Cats & Fitz

Northwestern's recruiting efforts haven't skipped a beat as new head coach Pat Fitzgerald reeled in two new commits early this week, all while appointing a new recruiting coordinator, and hiring a new assistant, who is already getting rave reviews from prospects...

Everyone expected Pat Fitzgerald to hit the ground running...
its just that I don't think anyone realized how fast he'd get going out of the blocks.

First was the hiring of Randy Bates as Linebacker coach. If you read the stories from Louisiana [most on the Sports News Digest], he was considered some kind of a defensive guru - improving the D at Louisiana Tech significantly, while working to get every defender to graduate.

Sounds like NU's kind of guy.

It also doesn't hurt that he's familiar with DC Greg Colby's schemes - he was Colby's LB coach at Kent State - and he's familiar with Randy Walker's methods also. He's a good hire.
But there's more:
Then Fitz added recruiting coordinator to WR Coach Kevin Johns duties. Johns is a long time assistant in the NU program, back to his grad assistant days. When Jeff Genyk left for EMU, Johns was brought back from Richmond where he had been coaching the WRs.

He was also a bit of a Randy Walker protoge. As RB coach last year, he had a hand in Tyrell Sutton's development, while juggling two other backs' appearances. Having a reknowned RB coach as a head coach helps the position, but Johns was the man doing the day to day work with the RBs.
Commits:
The fans knew about Bates last week and some had guessed at Johns' promotion, but yesterday came word of not one, but two commits - one another big D-lineman, and the other a nifty tight end who some project as an offensive lineman some day.

Cameron Joplin carries a 3 stars rating from Scout, and appears to have the size to grow from a Tight End to something even bigger. Indiana and Lousiville offered, Pittsburg was impressed when he attended their camp.

Here is some video of his Junior Season

Vincent Browne presently plays linebacker at David Anderson JR/Sr High, but is projected as a potential Defensive End. He's also a Scout.com 3 star prospect, and lists offers from Colorado, Kansas, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia. He's a tackling machine - 100 last year and runs a 4.3 short shuttle.

This year he's slated to also play fullback in a triple option attack, as well as Middle Linebacker, Tight End and even Defensive End. Last year he also played tackle on the offense. How about that versatility

Here is Vincent Browne's Video Highlight reel

Gary Housteau of Bucknuts had this story about Browne last week...
So who's high on our list of guys to commit next?
This is all based on rumbles and comments from the prospects to our recruiting reporters and is probably way out of wack but here's our best guesses....
  • Bryce McNaul LB 6-4 235 - should make a decision soon.
  • Michael Bolden S 6-1 175 4.5 :40 - loved NU but is getting lots of interest from any school where he camped.
  • Niko Mafuli OL 6-3 295 4.9 :40 - told PR that NU is #1 on his list, probably needs to take a visit.
Guys with a lot of interest in NU, but getting a lot of attention elsewhere:
  • Kevin Rouse LB 6-1 220 - but there sure is a lot of competition for his services and he needs to get to know Bates better.
  • Dave Molk OL  6-1 270 - plans to wait to commit until later this fall so his teammates at Lemont get some recognition from the recruiters.
In any case, Coach Fitz' recruiting talents, legendary in states where he worked, are going to be a big factor in keeping NU on an upward path.

You build a winning team by recruiting top kids, and the team that does that is made up of assistant coaches and the guys in the office. Fitz built that team under Coach Walker's guidance over his 2 years as coordinator, and his persuit of prospects appears to echo what he told the media when he was hired...

Relentless
[Scout.com Midwest Recruiting Coordinator, Bob Lichtenfels contributed to this report]
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