Four-star linebacker Jarrett Grace is planning a trip to Evanston, he told Purple Reign on Monday. Northwestern has already offered Grace, who is rated by Scout as the nation's No. 11 outside linebacker and one of the Wildcats' most highly-regarded targets of the 2011 class."My recruiting coach is (assistant) coach (Kevin) Johns," Grace said. "I talk to him about once a week. I haven't actually been able to get to their campus yet, but I plan on going there during the spring practices."
Grace, a Cincinnati native, said it's likely that he'll head to Evanston when he is on spring break; his week-off comes at the outset of April. He's got some other travel plans as well."I'm going to Notre Dame on March 20," said the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Grace. "Other than that, I don't really have anything set in stone. Probably Cincinnati, Kentucky, Indiana. I want to get to as many campuses as I can….
"I just definitely would like to see the coaching styles, how the coaches interact with the players. I just want to see the things coaches say to the players to get them motivated and how the players react and see if it's a system that I could fit in."Grace has a host of options. He already has offers from Notre Dame, Stanford, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Michigan State and others. He's also being recruited by Florida State and Alabama.
One thing that sets Northwestern apart is Pat Fitzgerald's background as an All-American linebacker. As one of the nation's top linebacking recruits, that fact isn't lost on Grace."I think that him playing linebacker is definitely a bonus," Grace said. "It seems like a lot of coaches are offensive-oriented – just having high-powered offense."
That's not to say that NU doesn't have a high-powered offense. The Wildcats, after all, finished first in the Big Ten in passing yards (286.5 yards per game) and fourth in total offense (404.4). Grace, though, likes the balance that Fitz brings."Knowing that he has a defensive mentality and defensive background, that puts my mind at ease knowing that he's a defense-first guy."
With offers from all over the country, Grace said that he won't discriminate based on geography."I'd go wherever is the best fit. It doesn't matter. I grew up watching the Big Ten, but the SEC is good as well. The Big East is improving, Pac 10 has some good teams. I could see myself being anywhere really."
Grace finished his junior season with 95 tackles – including 17 tackles for loss and four sacks – as well as five forced fumbles and two picks. He claims a 300-pound bench press, 550-pound squat and 30-inch vertical. In the classroom, Grace reports a 4.0 GPA; he is scheduled to take the SAT this weekend and the ACT in April.Even though a visit is apparently imminent, don't expect a decision from Grace anytime soon.
"I want to take full advantage of the recruiting process," he said, "and know that I am making the right decision. So it'll probably be sometime during or after my season."A visit, though, is a good start.
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