Niko Mafuli brings size and speed to the NU D

With eight of the 12 Northwestern Commits apparently slated for the defense, its obvious that the Cats and new Head coach Pat Fitzgerald put a premium on recruiting defenders in 2006. Here's the latest Purple Reign defense recruiting chart and the latest on one of the class of 2007's bigger kids...

Niko Mafuli, a 6-foot-4, 295-pound lineman from University High in St. Louis,Mo. was thrilled to give his verbal pledge to sign with Northwestern.

The Scout.com three-star prospect was considering offers from schools like Wisconsin, Kansas, and Missouri before committing himself to the Wildcats.
"Northwestern has the perfect balance between football and academics," Mafuli said of the main reasoning he pulled the trigger. "Not many schools have that. I looked in to the percentages of every school, and a degree from Northwestern means a whole lot more."

"I went up for camp and got to see a lot of the campus. The campus is everything you would want, and it is a big draw to be so close to Chicago."
A strong relationship with Coach Pat Fitzgerald and a firm belief in his abilities to lead the team to success on the field was another strong selling point to Mafuli
"He is a real good guy, and I think the players really like playing for him. He factored in heavily with where I ultimately wanted to go."

"I am excited to really get a feel for Coach Fitz and see how the team plays under him during his first season."
Mafuli has earned a lot of praise for his play along the offensive line, but the Wildcats are looking to start him off on defense.
"They are most likely bringing me in as a nose tackle," Mafuli explained. "They are going to run a 3-4 and we actually run a 3-4 at my high school, so it will not be a big difference to come in and play in that scheme."
Mafuli had 20 tackles and eight sacks on the defensive side of the football as a junior. Niko carries a 3.0 GPA and scored a 27 on his ACT.

Seven of the present defensive commits typify the move towards speed by the Wildcats - They all boast sub 4.9 :40 times, quite a bit quicker than NU teams a few years ago.

Mafuli's addition to the defensive side of the Wildcats, makes the NU recruiting chart look like this:

Northwestern Wildcat Defense
2006 - 2011

D-Line - 18
2006 2007 2008 2009 20102011
DE
03**
72 David Ngene 72 David Ngene+



DE
03**
91 Mark Koehn 91 Mark Koehn+



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


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


DE
06 **
89 Corbin Bryant
89 Corbin Bryant 89 Corbin Bryant 89 Corbin Bryant 89 Corbin Bryant
DE
07 *

Kevin Watt
Kevin Watt Kevin Watt Kevin Watt Kevgin Watt
DE
07 ***


Vincent Browne
Vincent Browne Vincent Browne Vincent Browne Vincent Browne
DT
03**
58 Warren Anderson 58 Warren Anderson+



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

DT
06 **
61 Kendall Mason
61Kendall Mason 61Kendall Mason 61Kendall Mason 61Kendall Mason
DT
06 **
69 Marshall
Thomas

69 Marshall
Thomas
69 Marshall
Thomas
69 Marshall
Thomas
69 Marshall
Thomas

DT
07 ***


Josh Rooks
Josh Rooks Josh Rooks Josh Rooks Josh Rooks
DT/NT
07 ***

Niko Mafuli
Niko Mafuli Niko Mafuli Niko Mafuli Niko Mafuli
LB - 17
2006 2007 2008 2009 20102011
OLB
03**
43 Adam Kadela




MLB
02* [RB]
42 Demetrius Eaton




LB
02*
37 Campbell Black




LB
03**
38 Nick Roach




LB
03**
40 Eddie Simpson 40 Eddie Simpson



LB
03**
55 Kyle Wagner 55 Kyle Wagner



LB [QB]
03
82 Chris Malleo
82 Chris Malleo



LB
W04
15 Phil Brunner15 Phil Brunner15 Phil Brunner


LB
04***
48 Rejaie 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 **
54 Nate Williams 54 Nate Williams 54 Nate Williams 54 Nate Williams 54 Nate Williams
LB
06 **
41 Quentin Davie
41 Quentin Davie 41 Quentin Davie 41 Quentin Davie 41 Quentin Davie
LB ***
07

Bryce McNaul
Bryce McNaul Bryce McNaul Bryce McNaul Bryce McNaul
LB *
07

Blake Sorensen
Blake Sorensen Blake Sorensen Blake Sorensen Blake Sorensen
D-Backs-22
2006 2007 2008 2009 20102011
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 [RB]
04**
23 Gerard Hamlett 23 Gerard Hamlett 23 Gerard Hamlett



CB
06*

24 Sherrick McManis
24 Sherrick McManis24 Sherrick McManis24 Sherrick McManis24 Sherrick McManis
CB
06**

28 Justan Vaughn28 Justan Vaughn28 Justan Vaughn28 Justan Vaughn28 Justan Vaughn
SAF
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/CB
04*
34 Andre Butler 34 Andre Butler 34 Andre Butler


SAF [RB]
04**
4 Akeem Hunter 4 Akeem Hunter 4 Akeem Hunter



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


SAF/ATH
06**
17 Brad Phillips 17 Brad Phillips 17 Brad Phillips 17 Brad Phillips 17Brad Phillips
SAF/RB **
07

Scott Concannon
Scott Concannon Scott Concannon Scott Concannon Scott Concannon
SAF **
07

Michael Bolden
Michael Bolden Michael Bolden Michael Bolden Michael Bolden
SAF/LB
W05

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

SAF
W06
26 James Nussbaum
26 James Nussbaum 26 James Nussbaum 26 James Nussbaum

DB
W06
83 Rob Brown
83 Rob Brown 83 Rob Brown 83 Rob Brown


This chart 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:
Bold - on last 2 Deep
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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