Feb. 2, 2011
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Football Signing Day 2011 is here! Follow along on our NUsports.com blog below as well as on Twitter (@NU_Sports) as we give up-to-minute updates all day long.
Good morning from Evanston!
We are ready to begin our 2011 Signing Day festivities ... not even one of the biggest snowstorms on record (more on that event, being called Snowmageddon around here!) will stop us from letting you know who has faxed (or emailed) their National Letter of Intent to our football office.
On to our NLI's ... our illustrious director of compliance, Aaron Hosman, has arrived (more on his travels to campus shortly) and is once again verifying that the NLI's are properly signed, dated, etc.
6:15 a.m. CT (7:15 a.m. ET) PIERRE YOUNGBLOOD-ARY -- Pierre captures the "first to arrive" honor from our Eastern time zone signees.
Watch Pierre Youngblood-Ary Highlights!
Prospects can begin faxing their NLI's at 7 a.m. local time. Pierre should have had very little trouble getting to a fax machine as he hails from Orlando, which is one of the few places in the nation that can claim to be snow-free! Welcome and congrats Pierre.
6:18 a.m (7:18 a.m. ET) MAX CHAPMAN -- Another Florida native, who has no weather issues, Max hails from Nease H.S., the same school that produced current Wildcat safety Hunter Bates (who is recovering from the broken leg he suffered in the TicketCity bowl) ... Welcome Max!
Max is very athletic defensive end -- he runs the 100 meters for Nease's track program! We hope to have some highlights of Max for you before the morning is over.
6:18 a.m. (7:18 a.m. ET) NICK VanHOOSE -- Nick is from Urbana, Ohio, and recently gave his commitment to the 'Cats after previously committing to that Big Ten school that sports the cream and crimson. Glad that Nick opted for purple!
Watch Nick VanHoose Highlights!
Nick is a great athlete -- a terrific basketball player! -- and adds some athleticism to the Wildcat backfield.
6:26 a.m. (7:26 a.m. ET) CAMERON DICKERSON -- Our second wide receiver has committed. Cameron hails from the Englewood, N.J. area and is another tall (6'3") wideout. Welcome Cameron!
Like Chapman, we are still working on getting Dickerson's highlights off the server from our football office (a little technical glitch), but we will have some highlights for you, along with Chapman, before the morning is over.
6:35 a.m. (7:35 a.m. ET) SHANE MERTZ -- Shane is our second New Jersey product, joining Cameron as one two Garden State players to join our program this year. Shane is a big offensive lineman who is expected to play tackle for the 'Cats.
Welcome Shane -- here are some highlights of NU's newest lineman:
Watch Shane Mertz Highlights!
6:48 a.m. (7:48 a.m. ET) DREW SMITH -- Drew is a linebacker from Colerain High School in Cincinnati, one of the most tradition-rich football programs in southwest Ohio. Drew is the first Cincinnati product to join the Wildcat team since Zach Strief, who now plays for the New Orleans Saints.
Watch Drew Smith Highlights!
That reminds me to wish Trai Essex, another former Wildcat, the best of luck in Sunday's Super Bowl in Dallas. Trai is trying to make it six straight years that an NFL Super Bowl champion team has featured at least one Northwestern product. Zach Strief made it five in a row last year as a member of the Saints.
Back to Drew ... he originally committed to his hometown Cincinnati Bearcats, but decided to give the Purple and Big Ten a try. Good move!
6:51 a.m. (7:51 a.m. ET) DEONTE GIBSON -- From one tradition-rich program in Ohio to another, Deonte hails from St. Edward H.S. in Lakewood, a suburb of Cleveland. St. Ed's won the Ohio Division I state title this past year (15-0!) and Deonte was a major reason why. A defensive end, Deonte wrecked havoc all season long on opposing offenses. He was tabbed the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Defensive Player of the Year for northeast Ohio. Quite an honor!
Watch Deonte Gibson Highlights!
Deonte originally committed to Pitt, but re-opened his recruiting process when the Panthers' decided to make a coaching change.
Before we tell you who the first Central Time Zone student-athlete was to send their NLI to us, check out a few of the behind-the-scenes from National Signing Day. Thanks to our director of new media, Rob Coons, who has helped "code" all the football player videos for us and then shoot some early morning video. It also helped that Rob lives right across the street from Ryan Field, so no issues for him getting to the Nicolet Football Center this morning (other than walking through a lot of snow!).
Here's the video:
Glad to see that most of our coaches, especially Coach Fitz, could make it in to the office this morning. It's been quite a night in the Midwest, with one of our biggest snowstorms on record. It's still snowing and the winds are still howling, but not like it was just a few hours ago. Chicagoland has received anywhere from 12 to 20 inches of snow from this storm, which is being dubbed the Groundhog Day Blizzard of 2011.
Let's move on to our next round of signees, and thanks for your patience.
7:08 a.m. CT JARRELL WILLIAMS -- Jarrell (pronounced Ja-RELL), who hails from Chicago, battled the blizzard and becomes the first Central Time Zone student-athlete to get their NLI to the NU football office. A talented cornerback, Jarrell played at Oak Lawn Richards H.S. He was the first member of this class to orally commit to Northwestern, nearly a year ago. Welcome Jarrell!
Watch Jarrell Williams Highlights!
7:11 a.m. CT TREYVON GREEN -- Treyvon is the first of two running backs expected to sign with the 'Cats today. Treyvon is from the Dallas area, and had an outstanding senior campaign, rushing for nearly 1,500 yards and 19 TD's. He's a good between-the-tackles runner and should give the Northwestern running attack a boost.
Watch Treyvon Green Highlights!
7:19 a.m. CT ZACK OLIVER -- The only quarterback in this year's class, Zack had a big year for Catholic High in Baton Rouge. If Catholic High sounds familiar, it is -- they've produced some terrific football players over the years: Warrick Dunn, Major Applewhite, Travis Minor, Donnie Jones and Chris Williams. Zack played in a couple postseason all-star games and earned MVP honors in both. He threw for 5,000-plus yards at Catholic. Zack's high school coach feels that he has a stronger and better throwing arm than Applewhite. Welcome aboard Zack!
Watch Zack Oliver Highlights!
7:26 a.m. CT MARK SZOTT -- Our second Chicagoland signee was able to find a fax machine! (Or prospects can email a scanned image of their NLI -- I keep saying this every year, but there has to be an easier way to do this, right??)
Watch Mark Szott Highlights!
Mark plans to play the superback position (tight end in Wildcat vernacular) for Northwestern. He attended Waubonsie Valley H.S. and is an excellent athlete. Mark knew a little bit about Northwestern as his cousin, J.A. Happ, was a star pitcher for the Wildcats. J.A. now plays baseball for the Houston Astros after several years with the Phillies.
7:33 a.m. CT MATT FRAZIER -- Another Chicagoland signee, Matt played at Bishop McNamara H.S. in Kankakee. Impressive to note that he was named their conference's MVP while playing on the offensive and defensive lines. That's a great accomplishment.
Here's a look at Matt's highlights:
Watch Matt Frazier Highlights!
Before we tell you about a few more commitments -- we are nearly done with this class -- let's get another update on what's happening in the Nicolet FB Center this morning. Thanks again to Rob Coons for all his efforts this morning.
Thanks to Doug Meffley, my assistant, for cleaning up our blog page with the different video links -- this should be easier to follow!
7:36 a.m. CT C.J. ROBBINS -- Another previous Indiana commit (like Nick VanHoose), C.J. hails from Peru, Ill., which is roughly 90 minutes outside of the Chicagoland area. C.J. has some good size (6-4, 240) and is expected to play somewhere on the defensive line once he arrives on campus this fall. Congrats to C.J.!
Let's take a look at C.J.:
Watch C.J. Robbins Highlights!
8:10 a.m. CT (9:10 a.m. ET) GEOFF MOGUS -- Geoff, who played at St. Edward H.S. with previous commit Deonte Gibson, is now signed. Geoff gave the Wildcats an oral commitment last July and kept talking up Northwestern to Deonte, his teammate, throughout the process. Thanks to Geoff for his efforts and becoming a Wildcat!
Geoff and Deonte become the second straight high school duo to join the Northwestern family. Last year, Trevor Siemian and Rashad Lawrence from Olympia H.S. in Orlando, committed as a part of the 2010 class.
Geoff had a terrific career at St. Edward. He, along with Deonte, were the team leaders as they capped off a perfect senior season with a state title. Doesn't get any better than that. Here's some highlights of Geoff:
Watch Geoff Mogus Highlights!
8:30 a.m. CT JACK KONOPKA -- The Wildcats' fifth and final Illinois recruit is signed, sealed and delivered. Jack is a talented athlete who figures to play somewhere on the offensive line for Northwestern. He played quite a bit of tight end for Fremd, as well, showcasing his athletic skills as a pass receiver.
Jack's highlights can be found here:
Watch Jack Konopka Highlights!
9:16 a.m. CT (7:16 a.m. PT) JORDAN PERKINS -- Northwestern's 16th commit has signed. Jordan was a late commitment to the Wildcats after originally committing to Stanford. He is the second running back in this class of 2015. Welcome Jordan!
Here's Jordan in action:
Watch Jordan Perkins Highlights!
9:38 a.m. CT CHRISTIAN JONES -- And our final NLI has arrived. Wide receiver Christian (C.J.) Jones from Houston. Welcome Christian! Following his junior season, Christian was one of the most sought-after wide receivers in the southwest region of the country. Unfortunately, in the spring of 2010, he tore his ACL. He rehabbed vigorously and came back to play in a few games last fall. Christian should be close to 100 percent when he reports to camp in August.
Check out these highlights:
Watch Christian Jones Highlights!
That's it for our Signing Day Blog! Thanks for following along on this snowy Groundhog Day. Be sure to check back at 1 p.m. CT when Coach Fitzgerald discusses the 2011 recruiting class and takes questions from reporters about this year's group.