Random Thoughts: Yes, This is a Good Class

From all the hoopla generated in the "local" media about the Illinois Football recruiting class, you'd think that nobody else had commits from anyone of importance, but Coach Roy thinks differently.

On the surface, you would think that Illinois Coach Ron Zook...
had resurrected the Illinois program to heights unknown in the midwest, except for maybe Notre Dame or Ohio State.

Lost in all the excitement over Zook's recruiting efforts is Northwestern Coach Pat Fitzgerald's first class, a group assembled by hard recruiting by assistants, ably led by Fitz and coordinator Kevin Johns.

How good were their efforts?

Once again, the Cats had all of their Letters of Intent in house by 8:40 this morning. Dan Persa was the first, Bryce McNaul's letter cleared the fax machine at 8:37.

This group has several top defensive prospects - CB Jordin Mabin [who can also play RB], S David Arnold and MLB Bryce McNaul. All 3 had their letters in by 8:37 this morning.

There is one Defensive End prospect: Vincent Brown and Kevin Watt. They're joined by DT Jack DiNardo, . What stands out is this group's 40 times - all in the high 4's to be sure, but that's quick for a potential 275 lb DE.

Then there's Niko Mafuli - ranked #14 by Scout as a center, he was recruited by NU to play defensive tackle. He runs a 4.9, but he's already 295 lbs, DT playing weight.

On the offensive side, the "star" of this class appears to be QB Dan Persa, who led Liberty HS to the Pennsylvania State Finals. He's quick - clocked at 4.38 - and could play either QB or defensive back - he does well at either position. He got his letter in to the athletic office at 7:05 ET - first off the fax.

The Cats also filled in some offensive line and wide receiver slots - Charles Brown is considered one of the fastest WRs in Chicago [his letter came in at 8 AM], Scott Concannon is a powerful runner who is slated to play running back, Drake Dunsmore is designated as "super back." NU took a couple of tight ends too, all of them tall and reasonably quick.

When you see a tight end at NU, you automatically see alum Trai Essex, who was a top TE prospect who became a tackle and is now on the Steeler's roster. One of the two tight ends, Josh Rooks is a big kid, so is Cameron Joplin. The rest of the OL candidates are long and quick like Essex - NU's weight program can get them up to Big 10 size.

If you watch the official recruiting videos, I think you'll see why NU watchers consider this a top class, maybe as good as the late Randy Walker's best.

As usual, I'll wait to see three years down the road, but I think we can hand out a "well done" to coach Fitz, Johns and the rest of staff.

NU Football seems to be rolling along right on track..

Even if we're the only guys who notice.
-- da Coach

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