EVANSTON, Ill. -- Head coach Randy Walker and the Northwestern University football program announced today the signing of 17 football recruits to National Letters of Intent.
Three of Northwestern's 17 recruits hail from the state of Illinois, with two coming from the greater Chicagoland area. In all, nine states are represented in this recruiting class, reflecting Northwestern's mission to enroll a diverse and national freshmen class. Once again, the Wildcats have signed multiple players from some football-rich states: Pennsylvania (three), Texas (two), Florida (two) and Missouri (two).
"We're excited about the class of 2010," said Walker. "We believe it's a balanced class and typically we take that approach. We filled virtually every major need that we had as we went into the recruiting year. I'm especially impressed with the skill level of this group as well as their academic backgrounds.
"There will be a few players who have a chance to contribute early, and some that will surprise us."
Northwestern's 2006 recruiting class is smaller than its average signing class due to the fact that the Wildcats carried just 12 seniors on their 2005 team.
"As usual, our coaching staff and players deserve a great deal of credit for attracting this class," said Walker. "Our players represent our institution so well and they really help us make sure we find student-athletes who are a good fit for Northwestern."
This year's class is once again balanced with offensive and defensive players-eight on offense, eight on defense and one place-kicker.
Northwestern is coming off three straight seasons with six-or-more victories and bowl appearances in 2003 and 2005. The Wildcats have posted the fifth-best Big Ten record the past three years (14-10), winning four or more conference games each year-a first in school history.
Signing Day Notes:
* The breakdown on NU's signees, by position: defensive line (3), wide receiver (3), offensive line (2), linebacker (2), defensive back (2), quarterback (1), tight end (1), running back (1), athlete (1) and place-kicker (1).
* Northwestern added two more players from Texas, giving the Wildcats a total of 10 Lone Star state players on their current roster, second most on the team. Illinois continues to lead the way with a total of 21 players.
* With the signing of cornerback Justan Vaughn from Pearland High School (Texas), this marks the third Pearland player to sign with the Wildcats since 2003. Trevor Rees (2003) and Brandon Roberson (2004) were the other two Pearland signees.
* For the second consecutive year, Northwestern signed a player from the Chicago Public League, inking defensive end Corbin Bryant from Morgan Park High School. Last year, Rasheed Ward became the Wildcats' first Public League signee under current head coach Randy Walker.
6-7 * 270 * Havertown, Pa. * St. Joe's Prep/The Hun School (N.J.) * Projected Position: Offensive Line
High School: Lettered three years at St. Joe's Prep in Philadelphia before attending The Hun School in Princeton, N.J., for a post-graduate year ... At St. Joe's, named a first-team All-Philadelphia Catholic League selection and a second-team all-city choice ... At Hun, named first-team All-Prep and a Star-Ledger second-team all-state prep honoree ... First-team academic all-state his junior and senior years at St. Joe's ... In 2005 (at Hun), totaled 48 pancake blocks on offense and 46 tackles and five sacks on defense (end) ... At St. Joe's in 2004, totaled 45 knockdown blocks and also caught the game-winning TD as a tight end vs. Cardinal O'Hara ... Competed in Philadelphia City All-Star game ... Rich Gannon and Victor Hobson are other prominent football alums from St. Joe's ... Four-year member of school's Honor Roll ... Coached by Gil Brooks (St. Joe's) and Dave Dudeck (The Hun School).
Personal: Born Daniel Michael Boyle on 11/27/86 ... Son of Dan Boyle and Schelley Hollyday ... Interested in a business career.
6-4 * 240 * Chicago, Ill. * Morgan Park * Projected Position: Defensive End
High School: Playing just one year of high school football, finished as the No. 27-ranked prospect in the state of Illinois by Rivals.com ... Earned honorable mention all-state and all-area honors ... Played end, tackle and linebacker on defense for the Mustangs, who finished 12-2, won the Chicago City Championship and the 2005 Prep Bowl ... Totaled 105 tackles, which included eight sacks, as well as four pass deflections and two forced fumbles ... Offensively, caught 28 passes for 450 yards and seven TD's as a tight end ... Notched a game-saving tackle in the Mustangs' early-season win over Richards High ... Member of school's Honor Roll ... Coached by Lexie Spurlock.
Personal: Born Corbin Bryant on 1/4/88 ... Son of Calvin and Priscilla Bryant ... Major is undecided.
6-0 * 170 * Gainesville, Ga. * East Hall * Projected Position: Wide Receiver
High School: Three-time team MVP and the Vikings' Offensive Player of the Year in 2005 ... First-team all-area and first-team all-conference honoree ... Played quarterback and defensive back at East Hall ... Threw for 1,963 yards (124-of-245 passing, 16 TD's) and ran for another 696 yards (5.7 ypc, 6 TD's) at QB ... Added four interceptions on the defensive side and averaged a whopping 36.0 yards per punt return ... For his career, totaled 4,763 passing yards, 44 passing TD's, 1,348 rushing yards, 12 rushing TD's and 10 interceptions ... Guided the Vikings to the state playoffs as a sophomore and senior ... Three-time Academic Award and Viking Award (perfect practice attendance) recipient ... Also lettered in basketball (point guard) and baseball (shortstop, center fielder) ... Helped lead the Vikings to the state basketball championship his freshman and junior years ... Holds the school's single-game assists record with 20 ... Named the basketball team's Rookie of the Year in 2002-03 ... Pepsi Spirit Award as a sophomore and Leadership and Most Improved awards as a junior ... Member of school's Honor Roll, Math Club and Mu Alpha Theta ... Coached by Tim Marchman.
Personal: Born Randy Lee Coleman on 4/21/88 ... Son of April Richie and Randy Coleman ... Interested in a sports medicine career.
High School: Ranked 14th in Missouri and 57th nationally among outside linebackers by Rivals.com ... SuperPrep All-Midlands Region linebacker ... Ranked 47th by SuperPrep among Midlands (11 states) players and 12th in Missouri ... Two-time all-state linebacker (first team in 2004, second team in 2005), as well as a two-time all-conference and Post-Dispatch all-metro honoree ... Two-time team MVP ... 2005 finalist for the U.S. Army All-American game ... Also played quarterback and tight end on offense ... Team captain that led Cardinal Ritter to the state semifinal round in 2005, where they won a pair of postseason games for the first time ... Completed 52-of-115 passes for 1,214 yards (third-most passing yards in school history) and 13 TD's, and rushed for 567 yards ... Defensively, totaled 94 tackles (7 TFL's), an interception and fumble recovery ... Had 74 tackles and six sacks as a junior ... Recorded a pair of defensive touchdowns his junior season-fumble returns of 70 and 80 yards ... Also lettered in basketball and track ... NBA players Jahidi White and Loren Woods also attended Cardinal Ritter ... Who's Who and senior year First Honors ... Coached by Ron Villars.
Personal: Born Quentin R. Davie on 2/15/88 ... Son of Mary Younger and Alvin Davie ... Interested in an engineering career.
High School: All-state place-kicker and punter for Horizon High ... Ranked ninth nationally among place-kickers by Rivals.com ... Three-time all-region and all-Northeast Valley kicker ... Named to Arizona Football Coaches Association first-team all-star squad ... Converted 13-of-16 field goals in 2005, with a 51-yarder being his long ... Kicked off the ground his entire senior season, as well ... Averaged 45 yards per punt, with a long of 66 ... Boomed 58 of 69 kickoffs into the end zone for touchbacks ... Booted one kickoff 80 yards ... Selected as the starting place-kicker for the 2006 AZFCA All-Star game in June ... Helped the Huskies go 10-2 in 2005 with a quarterfinal state appearance ... Kicked a 44-yard field goal with 12.8 seconds remaining to record a 27-24 win over Chandler ... Also lettered three years on the Huskies' soccer team, and was named all-Arizona, as well as all-Northeast Valley and all-region for three years ... Ranked No. 6 nationally by Chris Sailer Kicking ... One of Chris Sailer's top-12 camp winners ... Played against NU's Keegan Kennedy ... Coached by Keith Brown (two years) and Steve Casey (two years).
Personal: Born Marc Stefan Demos on 12/18/87 ... Son of Fran and Harry Demos ... Father played football and soccer at Santa Clara ... Brother, Jordan, is a soccer player at San Diego ... Interested in a business career.
High School: SuperPrep All-Midwest Region wide receiver ... Ranked as Illinois' 12th-best player by Rivals.com ... An all-state, all-area and all-conference receiver his senior season ... Earned all-state honors from the Joliet Herald ... Twice named the team's player of the game in 2005 (vs. Bloom Township and Lockport) ... Led the Raiders with 64 receptions for 1,184 yards (18.5 ypr) and 15 TD's in 2005 ... Named Bolingbrook's Offensive Player of the Year in 2004 ... Team captain ... Helped the Raiders to a 9-3 season in 2005, which included quarterfinal appearance in the Class 8A state playoffs ... Also lettered two years each in basketball and track ... Four-time all-academic selection ... Peer leader-group facilitator on teen issues ... Four-year member of Madrigal Choir and Vocal Jazz ... Cast as "Gaston" in high school musical, Beauty and the Beast ... Coached by John Ivlow.
Personal: Born Carl Anthony Fisher II on 11/22/87 ... Son of Marlene and Carl Fisher ... Father, along with another family member, William, played football at Northern Illinois ... Interested in a business or operations management career.
High School: Born and raised in Brazil, moved to south Florida in the fall of 2002 ... Entered high school as a freshman, but was accelerated a year, so ended up playing and starting just three years ... Earned all-region, all-county, all-area and all-conference honors as a defensive tackle ... Totaled 56 tackles, 10 TFL's, six sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries as a senior ... Helped the Bobcats advance to the second round of state playoffs (team qualified for playoffs an eighth straight year) ... Will participate in the Outback All-Star game ... Also lettered in weight lifting and track (shot put) ... Member of school's NHS and Honor Roll ... Coached by Rick Swain.
Personal: Born Kendal C. Mason on 1/13/88 ... Son of Theresa Bennett and Bill Ward ... Interested in a career in business.
High School:Ranked 48th nationally among all quarterbacks by SuperPrep and 26th nationally among dual-threat quarterbacks by Rivals.com ... Two-time all-district selection ... As a senior, completed 99-of-196 passes for 1,364 yards and 14 TD's (14.5 yards per completion) ... 2006 U.S. Army All-American Team finalist ... Invited to 2004 and 2005 Elite 11 Quarterback Competition ... Accounted for six touchdowns (four passing, two rushing) and over 400 yards of total offense (19-of-32 passing for 360 yards) vs. Arlington Bowie (led by Texas quarterback commit Sherrod Harris) in the 2005 season opener ... Academic all-state selection ... Three-year starting quarterback ... Also a two-time all-district selection in basketball ... Was just the second freshman in the Blue Raiders' 50-year history to earn a varsity basketball letter ... Hails from the same high school that produced NFL quarterback Tommy Maddox ... Member of NHS ... Coached by Ross Dodson (first three years) and Gary Olivo (2005).
Personal: Born Joseph Michael Mauro on 11/3/87 ... Son of Joy Christian and Greg Mauro ... Interested in an engineering career.
High School: A versatile performer who earned team MVP and all-state honors (played eight different positions his senior year) ... Earned all-state honors from the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and Illinois Football Coaches Association ... A first-team Peoria Journal Star all-area and all-conference selection, as well, in 2005 ... Helped the Knights earn a berth in the Illinois state playoffs three consecutive years ... Primarily played tailback and defensive back for Richwoods ... Also a dangerous kick and punt returner ... Earned a spot in the IFCA's Shriners All-Star game ... Won the Illinois state long jump his junior year ... One of several Northwestern players to come out of Richwoods High-Dan and Ed Sutter are two other Richwoods' alums ... Coached by Doug Simper.
Personal: Born Sherrick T. McManis on 12/19/87...Son of Cindy and John White ... Interested in a communications career.
6-3 * 240 * Twinsburg, Ohio * Western Reserve Academy * Projected Position: Tight End
High School: SuperPrep All-Midwest Region tight end ... Ranked the 33rd-best tight end nationally by SuperPrep ... Also played defensive end for the Pioneers ... Totaled 17 receptions for 550 yards for a whopping 32.4 ypr ... Eight of his 17 receptions went for touchdowns ... Also registered 25 tackles, including 7 TFL's and 4.5 sacks on defense ... Tabbed the Pioneers' Receiver of the Year ... Akron Beacon-Journal all-defensive team ... Honorable mention all-state selection ... First-team all-region and all-county ... Team captain ... Helped the Pioneers, a prep school, go unbeaten in 2005 and win the Independent Preparatory School League (IPSL) title for the third time in four years ... Had multiple-TD games against Lake Forest (3), Linsly (2) and Culver (2) ... Totaled 100-plus receiving yards in all three games ... Also lettered in basketball and track ... Merit Roll student ... Coached by Pat Smith.
Personal: Born Brendan Kumar Mitchell on 7/6/88 ... Son of Shoba and Alan Mitchell ... Father played wide receiver at Michigan and in the NFL ... Interested in a communications career.
High School: A first-team Associated Press Class AAA all-state selection ... Played quarterback and cornerback for the Panthers ... Member of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Fab 22" team ... Also earned first-team WPIAL all-conference honors ... Pennsylvania "Platinum 33" member and first-team East "Elite" honoree ... Nominated to play in the Pennsylvania/Ohio Big 33 and Pennsylvania East-West All-Star games ... Team captain who led the Panthers to an 8-1 record in 2005 and the Greater Allegheny Conference championship ... Franklin went on to win the 2005 WPIAL Class 3A conference title and the 2005 PIAA Class 3A state crown (15-1) ... Named team's Player of the Week four times as a senior ... Rushed for 867 yards (8.8 ypc) ... Completed 57-of-109 passes for 1,114 yards ... Accounted for 20 touchdowns ... Defensively, recorded 47 solo tackles and two interceptions ... NHS and Highest Honors with Distinction ... Also lettered in basketball ... Coached by Greg Botta.
Personal: Born Bradley Richard Phillips on 2/28/88 ... Son of Mary and Duane Phillips ... Father is a Northwestern graduate and two-year football letterwinner (1973-74) ... Played against Nate Williams, another 2006 Northwestern signee ... Interested in a career in medicine.
STEPHEN SIMMONS (pronounced STEF-fen)
5-9 * 180 * St. Louis, Mo. * St. Louis University High (SLUH) * Projected Position: Tailback
High School: SuperPrep All-Midlands Region running back ... Ranked the 24th-best player in the Midlands Region (11 states) ... Two-time all-state selection ... A three-time St. Louis Post-Dispatch All-Metro and All-Metro Catholic Conference honoree ... 2004 MCC Player of the Year ... Led the MCC in rushing in both 2004 and 2005 ... Totaled a single-season school record 1,583 rushing yards (6.3 ypg), along with 41 receiving yards, and 17 touchdowns in 2005 ... Piled up 1,270 yards (6.0 ypc), 86 receiving yards and 14 TD's in 2004 ... Also eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in 2003, totaling 1,155 yards (5.3 ypc), 72 receiving yards and 4 TD's ... Rushed for 4,007 career yards, tops in SLUH history ... Helped the Jr. Billikens post respective 6-4, 7-3 and 8-2 marks his final three seasons ... FOX-2 and Post-Dispatch Player of the Week honors ... Rushed for a single-game school record 264 yards (32 carries) and two TD's in second career varsity game (vs. Parkway West) ... Ran for 202 yards (21 carries) and three TD's in final career game (vs. Vianney) ... U.S. Army All-American Combine participant ... Hails from the same prep school that produced NU quarterback Steve Schnur ... Also lettered four years in track, setting school marks in the 100-meters (10.3) and 300-meter hurdles (33.1) ... Honor Roll ... Coached by Gary Kornfeld.
Personal: Born Stephen J. Simmons on 12/8/87 ... Son of Sheila and Charles Simmons ... Father was a track letterwinner at Truman State (formerly Northeast Missouri State University) ... Interested in a communications career.
6-2 * 275 * Canyon Lake, Texas * Smithson Valley * Projected Position: Offensive Line
High School: Unanimous first-team all-district and second-team all-state offensive lineman in 2005 ... Also earned first-team all-city (San Antonio) and all-county honors ... Helped the Rangers finish as the Texas Class 5A state runners-up (13-3) as a junior and finish as a state semifinalist (13-2) in 2005 ... Was not responsible for allowing a sack throughout his high school career ... Member of NHS ... Coached by Larry Hill.
Personal: Born Connor Davenport Smith on 3/11/88 ÂÂÂÂ? Son of Liz Fitzpatrick and Peter Smith ... Interested in a business career.
6-1 * 170 * Farmington Hills, Mich. * Farmington Harrison * Projected Position: Wide Receiver
High School: Ranked the 17th-best player (third-best receiver) in Michigan by Rivals.com ... SuperPrep All-Midwest Region wide receiver ... Ranked 114th in the Midwest Region (six states) by SuperPrep ... Named a top-25 player in Michigan by Detroit Free Press, Oakland Press and Lansing Journal ... An all-metro, all-district and All-Oakland County selection ... Led the Hawks with a team-best 1,200 all-purpose yards in 2005 ... Caught 40 passes for 600 yards ... Helped lead Harrison to a 10-3 record and the state playoffs ... In a playoff game vs. Center Line, notched five receptions for a single-game best 156 yards (1 TD) and added 70 rushing yards (four carries) and an interception ... Also lettered in track, running hurdle events ... Hails from the same high school that produced Michigan State quarterback Drew Stanton ... Honor roll all four years ... Coached by John Herrington.
Personal: Born Sidney Curtis Stewart on 10/30/88 ... Son of Darcel and Charles Stewart ... His brother, Charles, plays defensive back at Michigan ... Interested in a business career.
High School: A second-team all-state defensive tackle, as voted on by the Florida Sports Writer Association ... Miami Herald Class 3A first-team all-county selection in 2005 and a second-team choice in 2004 ... Selected to compete in the Nike Dade vs. Broward and Dade North vs. South All-Star games ... Helped the Wolverines capture the district championship and finish 10-2 in 2005 ... Lettered three years, playing both offensive and defensive line for Belen Jesuit ... Coached by Richard Stuart.
Personal: Born Marshall Malachi Thomas on 8/22/88 ... Son of Valeria Bland Thomas and Marshall Thomas ... Played against Keegan Kennedy, a 2005-06 Northwestern freshman, in 2004.
High School: Rated one of the nation's top defensive backs by Rivals.com ... Becomes the third Pearland Oiler to join the Wildcats in the last four years (Trevor Rees and Brandon Roberson are the first two) ... 2005 second-team All-Greater Houston and unanimous first-team all-conference defensive back ... Named to 2005 Texas Magazine Super Team (third-team honoree) ... 2005 preseason All-Greater Houston team ... Notched 72 tackles, 11 pass deflections, 2 interceptions and 4 TFL's in 2005 ... Versus Elkins, notched seven tackles, three deflections and one TFL ... Helped lead the Oilers to a 2005 24-5A district championship and a 10-0 record ... Member of Top Teens of America ... Served as an assistant basketball coach for a YMCA team in 2003 and '04 ... Coached by Tony Heath.
Personal: Born Justan B. Vaughn on 8/12/88 ... Son of Debbie and Ron Vaughn ... Father played football at Rice (1972-75) ... Interested in a business career.
High School: SuperPrep All-Northeast Region linebacker ... Rated 36th-best player in Pennsylvania by SuperPrep ... Ranked 43rd in state by Rivals.com (ninth-best linebacker) ... 2005 first-team all-state selection ... Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Fab 22" and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review "Terrific 25" ... Two-time first-team All-WPIAL (2004-05) ... Pennsylvania Football News first-team all-state selection ... Team captain ... Vikings' all-time leading tackler (277) ... Totaled 88 tackles (13 TFL's and 5.5 sacks) in 2005 ... Also compiled 242 rushing yards as a running back/fullback as a senior ... Scored 12 career TD's ... As a junior, filled in at running back and ran for 154 yards on 23 carries and scored all three TD's in a 21-14 win ... Also added 13 tackles and two sacks in that game ... Playing in Ohio/Pennsylvania Big 33 All-Star game ... Helped the Vikings, perennial state powers, win the WPIAL state championship in 2004 and '05 ... Three-time AAAA East champions ... Hails from the same high school that produced NFL stars Dan Marino and Marc Bulger ... High Honor Roll ... Two-time Student of the Week ... Also lettered in wrestling, baseball and track ... Coached by Terry Totten.
Personal: Born Nathan Alexander Williams on 10/2/87 ... Son of Evie (deceased) and Jerry Williams ... Interested in a communications career.