And on Wednesday night, he expressed his gratitude with the best possible reward: a commitment.
First he called offensive coordinator Mick McCall, then coach Fitz. And with that came a happy end to a dizzying recruitment."They've been with me through the whole process and I feel like they've wanted me more than any other school," said Colter, a three-star prospect. "They've shown a lot of interest and really tried to get me."
Colter, rated by Scout as the No. 46 quarterback in the nation, becomes the Wildcats' 16th commit of the 2010 class and one of the most highly-rated NU pledges. And right up there with education and Evanston and the spread offense, Colter said that Northwestern's recruiting style played a big role in his decision.
But it wasn't just the unbridled interest NU showed at the outset. Just as important, that zealous recruiting stopped when Colter committed to Stanford late last spring, a fact that further impressed the 6-1, 185-pound QB.
And when he decommitted in December, the Wildcats picked up where they left off."They respected my decision to go to Stanford, and once I decommitted I called them and they were there for me," Colter said. "They said weren't going to talk with me any more (after I committed to Stanford), while other schools came in and kept talking to me and tried to persuade me and all that.
"Also, they wanted me to play quarterback. I could have gone to other schools and played other positions. But I'm a quarterback and they wanted me as a quarterback….I really like how they handled everything."Colter bolsters an already solid recruiting class that now features nine three-star recruits; other recruiting services have that number even higher. To put this class in perspective: according to Scout.com, NU had 12 three-star recruits in 2008 and 2009 combined. So this current haul could be NU's best in recent history.
There aren't, however, a bevy of quarterbacks on their way to Evanston. The only other current QB commit is Orlando native Trevor Siemian. And for Colter, that was a boon."Looking at how they're going to lose (senior Mike) Kafka, and then there are only two guys (freshman Evan Watkins and sophomore Dan Persa) coming back, that was a big deal," Colter said. "Its' just going to be me and this other kid from the class (Siemian) competing. I just want to be able to play early and I think I can compete for a spot. You have to compete anywhere, but I feel like I have a good chance of playing early (at Northwestern)."
Colter was planning to take an official visit to Nebraska before making a commitment, but those plans were nixed before he made the trek to Lincoln."They wanted me to come out the 23rd and some things panned out at the end that I wasn't too happy about," Colter said, declining to comment further.
He ultimately chose Northwestern over Nebraska, Arizona State and TCU.The news wasn't all good on Thursday. Three-star running back Adonis Smith gave a verbal commitment to Washington State, which, couple with Shontrelle Johnson's recent decommitment, means that NU still has no running backs for this current class. Ibraheim Campbell, a Philadelphia commit, played running back in high school, but he figures to play defensive back at NU.
Nonetheless, the Wildcats have compiled a stellar cast of offensive weapons. They have commitments from two three-star receivers – Tony Jones and Rashad Lawrence – as well as two-star wideout Jimmy Hall; Siemian is a two-star recruit too. And along the offensive line, tackle Paul Jorgenson and center Brandon Vitabile are also three-star players.As with most NU recruits, education played a role in Colter's decision – "Football's going to end sometime, and honestly you aren't going to get a better education that at Northwestern." – and so, too, did the vibe he got from Evanston and his future teammates.
"I've been up there twice – once on an unofficial and then recently on the official – and just being around the guys and being around the coaches, they're people I feel like I can spend the next four years of my life with. And that's the biggest thing you want: to feel comfortable. Plus Evanston is great and Chicago is right there. That's the place I want to be."With Persa, Watkins and Siemian all in the mix, only time will what sort of impact Colter has on NU's offense. But the offense itself was an enticement.
"We did the spread this year at my high school and I feel I can fit in," Colter said. "And then I watched the Auburn game, and I loved it. They threw it 78 times. Any quarterback would just love that."(Siemian, the other 2010 QB commit, echoed those sentiments in this story.)
Finally, if there is any consternation about another possible decommitment, Colter seemed unequivocal about where he stands."I'm getting kind of sick of this whole recruiting process," he said, "and now having this solidified and knowing that this isn't going to change – its big weight off my shoulders."
And a big arm in NU's 2010 class.
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