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    Signing Day Has Arrived!

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Pat Fitzgerald announces his 2009 signing class on Wednesday, Feb. 4.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Pat Fitzgerald announces his 2009 signing class on Wednesday, Feb. 4.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    Feb. 4, 2009

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Signing Day has arrived and NUsports.com is set to present complete coverage for Wildcat fans today. Northwestern's web site is your source for official Wildcat Signing Day coverage.

    Video Coverage of Signing Day
    Northwestern's noon (CT) news conference will be broadcast live to all subscribers of NU's All-Access audio/video service. In addition, the popular highlight videos for every new Wildcat also will be released exclusively on NUsports.com. (Please note that ONLY members of the media can attend the news conference.)

    Watch the Signing Day news conference on NUsports.com All-Access

    Official News Release/Bios
    Just prior to the official announcement at noon, Northwestern's official news release will be posted on NUsports.com.

    Signing Day Blog
    7:15 a.m. ET: Good morning and Happy Signing Day! NUsports.com is back to blog again this year after a successful Signing Day blog one year ago. It is 4 degrees this morning in Chicago, and unlike last year when we were leveled with several inches of snow, it is going to be a sunny (but cold!) day in greater Chicagoland.

    We will keep you updated as recruits fax their National Letters of Intent (NLI's) to the football office. NU signees must fax three pages -- an NLI letter, a tender of financial aid document and a terms and condition agreement page -- to the office. Then Aaron Hosman, our director of compliance, must verify the pages (check for signatures, etc.), and then we will let you know, in order of time, who has signed.

    7:22 a.m. ET: Our first NLI's have arrived -- let's see who was first. (We are listing our blog time in Eastern Time, since recruits in each time zone can begin faxing their NLI's at 7 a.m. local time. So that means the earliest a recruit from the West Coast can fax their NLI is 9 a.m. CT.)

    7:40 a.m. ET: OK -- several more have arrived and been verified. Hold tight and we will get you updated! And don't forget -- if you have a question you'd like to ask Coach Fitzgerald today at his noon news conference, please email that to us at mwolf@northwestern.edu and we will get the top questions answered. Or if you have a question that we can answer for you now, we will do that as well.

    7:54 a.m. ET: If you follow the recruiting web sites, you know that Northwestern expects to sign 18 players today. But the Wildcats also expect to add another key member to their family this week. Coach Fitzgerald and his lovely wife Stacy are expecting their third child by the end of the week. So let's plan on 19 new Wildcats this week!

    8:05 a.m. ET: Get ready ... it's just after 7 a.m. in the Central time zone, so let's see who is first from this group.

    8:31 a.m. ET: Just a reminder that you can watch the Wildcats' news conference live at noon CT today on NUsports.com (you must be an All-Access member to watch!). And if you're in Chicago, make sure to sneak away from the office and head to the ESPN Zone downtown where the NGN is hosting its annual Signing Day reception from 1 to 4 p.m. This is third year that the NGN has hosted the event downtown. Thanks to the ESPN Zone for hosting! ... and speaking of ESPN, make sure you check out Adam Rittenberg's Big Ten blog later today on ESPN.com for all your signing day news across the Big Ten. Adam, a proud NU alum, does a fantastic job covering Big Ten football.

    8:58 a.m. ET: In addition to following our Signing Day coverage on NUsports.com, don't forget about the 90-minute special on the Big Ten Network. That show airs at 3:30 p.m. CT/4:30 p.m. ET. An interview with Coach Fitzgerald will be shown. If you can't watch the show live, it will be re-aired at 10:30 p.m. CT tonight.

    9:19 a.m. ET: As any football coach will always tell you, you need to wait three or four years to find out how good a recruiting class really is. Predicting future football stars is similar to predicting the weather! But for what it's worth, this is the Northwestern signing-day analysis from Allen Trieu, the Scout.com North Recruiting analyst:

    "This may be the surprise class not only in the conference, but in the country. The Wildcats used an outstanding season on the field to win several recruiting battles I don't think they would have won a few years back. Glenbard North quarterback Evan Watkins is a big (6'6"), mobile quarterback with a rocket arm and is as talented a signal caller as the Wildcats have signed in recent times. He will have Providence Catholic (Ill.) offensive tackle Patrick Ward protecting him. Ward held double-digit offers from BCS conference schools. Also taking advantage of his presence will be Wheaton North (Ill.) running back Mike Trumpy who has 4.49 speed and has been productive over the past three seasons." ... More from Allen in a bit.

    9:40 a.m. ET: It's break time -- go get some coffee or finish your morning reading. We are just waiting on our West Coast signees now.

    9:52 a.m. ET: More from Scout.com's Allen Trieu: "The 'Cats also went out of state and scored huge coups in Columbus DeSales (Ohio) defensive end Davon Custis and Dallas Adamson (Texas) linebacker Roderick Goodlow, both of whom should bolster Pat Fitzgerald's defense. Fitzgerald has this program headed in the right direction and any doubt that he is one of college football's best young coaches should be been eliminated with the season they had followed by their recruiting success."

    10:13 a.m. ET: Make sure you get these dates on your calendar -- NU's Spring Game is set for Saturday, April 25. Prior to the game, NU will hold its second annual "Walk for Randy." Also, May 12 is "Northwestern Night" at Wrigley Field and Coach Fitzgerald will be singing that night.

    10:38 a.m. ET: In addition to football players signing NLI's today, it is also Signing Day for cross country, field hockey, and men's and women's soccer.

    11:05 a.m. ET: The 2009 Northwestern Signing Class is FINISHED! Thanks to Aaron Hosman and our fantastic football staff and coaches for their assistance. I think that's a record, getting all our NLI's in before 10 a.m. CT. Tremendous. Now it's time to sign off and begin preparations for our noon news conference. Hope to see everyone at ESPN Zone this afternoon. And don't forget about tonight's important men's basketball home game with Chicago State (7 p.m.). Go Cats!

    NATIONAL LETTERS OF INTENT RECEIVED

    7:02 a.m. ET -- BRIAN SMITH ... Congrats to Brian! Our first new Wildcat of 2009. And for the second straight year, a Ohio product gets their NLI to the football office first. Brian, a big offensive tackles (6-foot-7, 295 pounds), is from Medina and attended Walsh Jesuit. Welcome Brian!

    7:04 a.m. ET -- TYLER SCOTT ... Another Ohio product -- Tyler is a defensive end from Warren and attended Howland H.S.

    7:15 a.m. ET -- DREW MOULTON ... The only wide receiver in our 2009 class. Drew hails from Freeland, Mich., and played for the Midland Chemics! (You gotta love the high school nicknames from northern Michigan and Wisconsin! Maybe Drew can swap a H.S. t-shirt with Jacob Schmidt, who played for the Hodags in Rhinelander, Wis.!)

    7:16 a.m. ET -- JOHN PLASENCIA ... John is our only signee from Florida and hails from Tampa, site of last Sunday's incredible Super Bowl game. John attended Jesuit H.S. in Tampa -- what former Wildcat went to Jesuit? If you guessed former cornerback Chris Martin, now an esteemed analyst for the Big Ten Network, you are correct! What other famous Chicago sports figure went to Jesuit?? I'll give you a few minutes to think about that one.

    7:30 a.m. ET -- WILL STUDLIEN ... Our first linebacker of the day and our third signee from Ohio, just outside Columbus. And how about that last name? Will pronounces it STUDE-line. I have a feeling, however, he's been called "stud" once or twice in his life, especially since he plays LB. Welcome Will!

    7:40 a.m. ET -- DAVON CUSTIS ... Our fourth and final signee from Ohio and our last one from the Eastern time zone. Davon, a highly touted defensive end from Columbus, orally committed to the Wildcats just a couple weeks ago. He pronounces his first name DAY-vonn. Welcome!

    (Did you guess that other famous Tampa Jesuit H.S. product in Chicago?? If you said Chicago Cubs' manager Lou Piniella, you are right!)

    8:05 a.m. ET -- MIKE TRUMPY ... One of the first players in this class to orally commit (last April!), the nephew of former NFL tight end Bob Trumpy is on board. Mike is a running back from Wheaton North H.S. in the Chicago suburbs.

    8:08 a.m. ET -- EVAN WATKINS ... Our second Chicagoland player and the first player in this class to orally commit to the 'Cats. Evan is a big quarterback (6'6", 235 pounds) who can run. He played at Glenbard North. Welcome Mike and Evan, who played against one another in high school. Their respective schools are both members of the DuPage Valley Conference. (And yes, if you are wondering, Evan's Panthers beat Mike's Falcons in their 2008 regular-season meeting.)

    8:14 a.m. ET -- PATRICK WARD ... Not only is Coach Fitzgerald excited about the football skills of this year's class, but he is also bringing in another outstanding class academically. Patrick, who is a highly touted offensive tackle, scored a 35 on his ACT and the straight-A student owns a ridiculous high school GPA. Welcome Patrick!

    8:22 a.m. ET -- ANTHONY BATTLE ... Our fourth Chicagoland signee! Anthony comes to NU from Mount Carmel High, one of the nation's top prep programs. He is the first Mount Carmel product to head to Evanston since Mike McGrew played here in the mid-1990s. Mount Carmel is also the high school that NU assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Adam Cushing attended. Great to have another Caravan player on board!

    (Thanks to former NU center and NFL player Austin King for reminding me that NU place-kicker David Wasielewski (2001-02) also is a Tampa Jesuit grad. Wasielewski will long be remembered for kicking a last-second game-winning 47-yard field goal against nationally ranked Michigan State in 2001!)

    8:33 a.m. ET -- COOPER GERAMI ... Linebackers coach Randy Bates went back to Lafayette, La., a state that he knows well (he worked at Louisiana Tech for six years) and uncovered Cooper, who will play safety for the Wildcats. Congrats Cooper!

    8:34 a.m. ET -- JEFF BUDZIEN ... Jeff is the only specialist (place-kicker) in this class and a highly touted kicker. He has earned prep All-America honors from a couple organizations. Jeff, who pronounces his last name BUD-ZEEN, is from the Milwaukee area, and is good friends with former NU golfer David Merkow, who was the Big Ten Golfer of the Year in 2006. Welcome Jeff!

    8:38 a.m. ET -- TIM RILEY ... Tim is the fifth Chicagoland area signee in this class. (That gives the Wildcats 16 Chicagoland recruits in the past three years!) Tim had a sensational senior season at Oswego High. His great uncle, Robert Plaskas, was a Big Ten champion wrestler at NU in 1963 and wrestled for NU Hall-of-Famer Ken Kraft. Welcome Tim!

    9:30 a.m. ET -- RODERICK GOODLOW ... Another linebacker and our lone Lone Star state signee. Roderick had the misfortune of missing his senior season due to a knee injury, but we anticipate him being ready to go in August. Welcome Roderick!

    9:34 a.m. ET -- TAYLOR PAXTON ... NU's 15th signee of the day and its third offensive lineman (that gives NU eight offensive linemen in the past two years!). Taylor is from Centennial, Colo., a suburb of Denver. Welcome!

    10:14 a.m. ET -- ARBY FIELDS ... The second running back in this year's class, and this guy reminds us a little of No. 19 -- he's 5'9", 190 pounds and can both run and catch the football. Arby had 2,000-plus all-purpose yards last year, including over 600 receiving yards. Arby also is an outstanding baseball player and plans to play center field for the 'Cats in the spring. He joins Quentin Williams as another football/baseball player.

    10:36 a.m. ET -- DAVION FLEMING ... No. 17 is in. Davion (pronounced DAVEY-on) played in the same conference (Baseline League) that Arby did. Davion's team lost its regular season battle to Los Osos H.S. (Arby's team), but gained revenge when it counted in the state playoffs. He is the Wildcats' second safety in this class. Welcome!

    10:55 a.m. ET -- DAMIEN PROBY ... The Wildcats' final signee! Welcome Damien. He is the first Wildcat player from Nevada since defensive end Kurt Lundergreen (Zephyr Cove, Nev.) was on the NU roster from 1986-88. While we love the nickname for Drew Moulton's high school, the Chemics, you gotta love Cheyenne's nickname as well -- the Desert Shields! Interestingly, Cheyenne opened its new school in 1991, right around the time that Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm began.

    Watch Highlight Videos!
    Battle
    Budzien
    Custis
    Gerami
    Goodlow
    Moulton
    Paxton
    Plasencia
    Riley
    Scott
    Smith
    Studlien
    Trumpy
    Ward
    Watkins

    Email Your Questions to Fitz!
    Email us Wednesday morning (Feb. 4) with a question you'd like to have Coach Fitzgerald answer during his noon news conference. (we will ask the top five fan questions at the news conference!) You can send your questions to mwolf@northwestern.edu

    ESPN Zone Signing Day Reception
    Northwestern's Gridiron Network (NGN) invites NGN members and Wildcat fans to this year's 2009 Signing Day Reception, set for Wednesday at Chicago's ESPN Zone (43 E. Ohio Street). The reception, which is free to NGN members and $20 for guests and non-NGN members (per person), begins at 1 p.m. and runs through 4 p.m. Northwestern Coach Pat Fitzgerald will announce the newest members of the 2009 team at approximately 2 p.m. A bus will depart Ryan Field for ESPN Zone at noon and return to Ryan Field at 4:30 p.m. Please RSVP (yes only) for the event (bus seat, too) by Feb. 2, 2009 to Jean Yale at j-yale@northwestern.edu or 847-491-3694.

    Big Ten Network to Air National Football Signing Day Special
    The Big Ten Network (BTN) will air a 90-minute special beginning at 3:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday with the Football Signing Day Special. The 90-minute program will feature video highlights of top recruits, university press conferences, exclusive interviews with Big Ten coaches and expert recruiting analysis.

    Previous Signing Day Coverage
    2008 Signing Day Coverage
    2007 Signing Day Coverage
    2006 Signing Day Coverage
    2005 Signing Day Coverage
    2004 Signing Day Coverage