Walsh, who is rated by Scout as the nation's No. 2 guard in the 2011 class, talked with Purple Reign about his myriad recruiting options. And when asked to name some of the factors that he is mulling over, coaching stability was a paramount consideration."I am looking for a good education and I want to have a good relationship with the coaches," said Walsh, who plans a March 28 visit to Evanston. "I know nowadays – well, maybe not ‘nowadays,' but recently – a lot of coaches have been leaving and switching schools or going to the pros. I know that's going to happen a lot, but for right now I am looking for a coach that I'll be comfortable with and who will be there for the next four or five years."
The 6-foot-4, 270-pound Walsh said that Northwestern was the fourth school to offer him a scholarship; some other schools to officially offer are Arizona, Purdue, Indiana, Illinois and Duke. He is also being recruited by Notre Dame and more than half the schools in the Big Ten – Iowa, Michigan State, Wisconsin and among them.Walsh's emphasis on coaching stability could bode well for the Wildcats. Pat Fitzgerald, who took over as NU's head coach in 2006, is one of the longest-tenured coaches in the conference. Illinois' Ron Zook (2005), Ohio State's Jim Tressel (2001), Iowa's Kirk Ferentz (1999) and Penn State's Joe Paterno (1884) are the only Big Ten coaches who have been at their universities longer than Fitz.
And between Zook's recent struggles, the NFL that have swirled around Ferentz and Paterno's age – he's 83 years-old – Fitz seems one of the best bets around to stay put for years to come. What's more, Fitz signed a seven-year contract extension last summer, through 2015, so he figures to be roaming Ryan Field for years to come."I like that because, you know, he could be a coach who I can look up to who can be my mentor for years, call him, ask him questions, talk to him," Walsh said. "But that should be a big factor – not a real big factor, but a strong factor in my decision."
A native of Glen Ellyn, Ill., the same hometown as Northwestern basketball star John Shurna, Walsh said that he is planning to attend spring practices at numerous schools, such as Notre Dame, Indiana, Ohio State. He added that he could see himself staying close to home in college."I'm really open to going wherever," said Walsh, who has received interest from such geographically diverse locales as Arizona and Syracuse. "But I have thought about it a lot and I think it's an appealing situation (to be close to home). Then I could always go home and see my family."
He's going to pay a visit to a different family, the Northwestern Football Family, here in a few weeks. And while in Evanston, he figures to put in some time with Fitz, the presumed patriarch for years to come."I think it's really cool that coach Fitzgerald went to school there," Walsh said of Fitz, who was a two-time All-American linebacker for the Cats from 1993-96. "That's really cool that he knows where everything is already and knows everything about Northwestern. He's a really good guy."
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