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    Northwestern Inks 17 New Wildcats on National Signing Day

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Northwestern inked 17 new Wildcats on Wednesday.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Northwestern inked 17 new Wildcats on Wednesday.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    Feb. 2, 2011

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald and the Northwestern University football program announced Wednesday (Feb. 2) the signing of 17 recruits to National Letters of Intent.

    This year's class features 11 offensive players and six defensive players. Northwestern's 17 commits hail from seven states. The Wildcats signed five players from Illinois and four from Ohio. Northwestern also landed players from the football-rich states of Florida, Texas, California, Louisiana and New Jersey.

    "Top to bottom, this might be the deepest class we've brought in to Northwestern in quite some time," said NU Coach Pat Fitzgerald. "They all come from great families and academically, they were all perfect fits for Northwestern and what we stand for. We fully expect them to come in and help us with the goal of achieving a Big Ten championship."

    Northwestern graduated 14 student-athletes from its 2010 bowl squad, seven of them offensive players and the other seven on defense or special teams. The Wildcats are returning 16 starters in 2011.

    "Most importantly, I want to thank our coaching staff and players, who deserve a great deal of credit for attracting our recruiting class this year," said Fitzgerald. "Our coaching staff, led by recruiting coordinator Adam Cushing, did another fantastic job. I also want to thank our talented staff who assisted with the recruitment process: Bill Rees, David Reitz, Cody Cejda and Nolan Jones."

     

     

    Signing Day Notes:
    • The breakdown on NU's signees, by position: offensive line (4), defensive line (3), wide receivers (3), running backs (2), defensive backs (2), quarterback (1), linebacker (1) and superback (1).

    • Northwestern signed five Illinois student-athletes, which gives the Wildcats 28 players presently from the Land of Lincoln, which leads NU's long list of states represented on the Wildcat roster. Northwestern also added four more student-athletes from Ohio, giving the Wildcats a total of 18 players from Ohio, which ranks second behind Illinois.

    • For the second straight year, Northwestern added a pair of players from the same high school -- Geoff Mogus and Deonte Gibson from Ohio state champion St. Edward in suburban Cleveland. Last year, NU snagged Trevor Siemian and Rashad Lawrence from Olympia High School in Orlando.

    • Northwestern's three wide receiver signees all stand 6-foot-3.

    • There are 11 team captains in this class.

    • Northwestern received oral commitments from 11 of its 17 signees prior to the start of their senior football season (before Aug. 15).

    • Facebook played a role in the recruitment in 16 of the 17 signees.

    Player Pos. Ht.Wt.HometownHigh SchoolVideo
    Max ChapmanDL6-3230Ponte Vedra, Fla.NeaseVideo
    Cameron Dickerson WR6-3200New Milford, N.J.Bergen CatholicVideo
    Matt Frazier OL6-4285Bourbonnais, Ill.Bishop McNamaraVideo
    Deonte GibsonDL6-3220Lakewood, Ohio St. EdwardVideo
    Treyvon GreenRB5-10200Mesquite, TexasRowlettVideo
    Christian JonesWR6-3205Houston, Texas WestfieldVideo
    Jack Konopka OL6-5265Inverness, Ill.Palatine FremdVideo
    Shane MertzOL6-8285Hazlet, N.J.RaritanVideo
    Geoff MogusOL6-5285Lorain, OhioSt. EdwardVideo
    Zack OliverQB6-4225Baton Rouge, La. CatholicVideo
    Jordan PerkinsRB6-0180Lodi, Calif.LodiVideo
    C.J. Robbins DL6-5255Peru, Ill.LaSalle-PeruVideo
    Drew Smith LB6-1200Cincinnati, Ohio ColerainVideo
    Mark Szott SB6-4230Naperville, Ill. Waubonsie ValleyVideo
    Nick VanHooseDB6-0170Urbana, OhioGrahamVideo
    Jarrell WilliamsDB5-11170Robbins, Ill.Oak Lawn RichardsVideo
    Pierre Youngblood-Ary WR6-3185Orlando, Fla. Lake BrantleyVideo

    Max Chapman
    6-3 • 230
    Ponte Vedra, Fla. • Nease
    Projected Position: Defensive Line

    Cameron Dickerson
    6-3 • 200
    New Milford, N.J. • Bergen Catholic
    Projected Position: Wide Receiver

    High School: Rivals.com All-Atlantic and SuperPrep All-Northeast Region honoree ... All-Bergen County selection ... Totaled 36 receptions for 701 yards and 8 TD's in 2010 ... Grabbed 31 receptions for 531 yards and 7 TD's as a junior ... Versus prep power Don Bosco Prep, caught eight passes for 122 yards and 3 TD's ... Finished with three receptions for 130 yards and 2 TD's vs. Red Bank Catholic ... Also lettered one year in basketball ... Member of Bergen's President's List and National Honor Society (Spanish) ... Coached by Nunzio Campanile. Personal: Born Cameron Wardell Dickerson ... Son of Michell Merritt and Ralph Dickerson ... Interested in majoring in economics.

    Matt Frazier
    6-4 • 285
    Bourbonnais, Ill. • Kankakee Bishop McNamara
    Projected Position: Offensive Line

    High School: ESPN.com three-star selection ... Ranked 32nd overall nationally among all offensive guards by Rivals.com and 20th among all Illinois players by Rivals.com ... Two-time Illinois Coaches Association all-state and two-time Chicago Catholic League all-conference selection (2009 & 2010) ... Named to Tom Lemming's All-Area team as both a junior and senior ... Three-time Daily Journal All-Area selection, garnering first-team honors in both 2009 and 2010 ... Started on both offensive and defensive lines for the Fighting Irish and helping his team to the second round of the Class 4A state playoffs all three years ... 2010 Chicago Tribune honorable mention all-stater ... Recipient of the Chicago Catholic League's 2010 Lawless Award, which honors the conference's MVP ... As a junior, participated in the U.S. Army Combine, earning second-team honors ...Team captain his senior year ... Compiled over 100 hours of community outreach during prep career ... Vice president of Letterman's Club ... Heavily involved in Bishop McNamara's Big Brother/Big Sister program ... Spanish Club and Green Key society ... Board member of the Maternity BVM Youth Group for six years ... Coached by Rich Zinanni. Personal: Born Matthew B. Frazier ... Son of Bret and Joanne Frazier ... Competed against NU offensive tackle Patrick Ward his sophomore year.

    Deonte Gibson (pronounced Dee-ON-tay)
    6-3 • 220
    Lakewood, Ohio • St. Edward
    Projected Position: Defensive Line

    Treyvon Green (pronounced TRAY-vonn)
    5-10 • 200
    Mesquite, Texas • Rowlett
    Projected Position: Running Back

    High School: ESPN.com three-star selection ... Unanimous first-team all-district honoree in 2010 when he rushed for 1,456 yards (5.9 ypc) and 19 TD's ... Ran for 975 yards and 16 TD's as a junior ... Tabbed a second-team all-district running back in 2009 ... Tabbed the CW33 GameDay Player of the Week for his performance in a 66-32 victory over Garland Naaman Forest in their 2010 district opener: 255 rushing yards (23 carries) and two TD's ... Team captain ... Helped the Eagles claim their district championship ... Academic honors (3.5 GPA or higher) two consecutive years ... Also ran track for Rowlett ... Coached by Kiff Hardin. Personal: Born Treyvon Dewayne Green ... Son of Felecia Green ... Interested in a business career.

    Christian Jones
    6-3 • 205
    Houston, Texas • Westfield
    Projected Position: Wide Receiver

    High School: ESPN.com four-star (ESPNU Top-150 recruit), SuperPrep All-Southwest and Rivals.com All-Midlands selection ... Ranked 72nd among all Texas players by SuperPrep and 78th among all Texas players by Rivals.com ... Ranked 69th among all wide receivers nationally by Rivals.com ... Was widely regarded as one of the top wide receivers in Texas and all of the southwest prior to tearing his ACL during spring practice in 2010 ... Came back to see limited action his senior season, making 10 catches (220 yards) in three games ... Three of his 10 receptions went for TD's ... As a junior, totaled 37 receptions for 812 yards and 12 TD's ... Touchdown Club of Houston 2010 Preseason High School honoree and 2010 Tom Lemming's Preseason All-American ... First-team all-district player ... First-team academic all-district selection ... Touchdown Club of Houston 2010 Scholar-Athlete of the Year finalist ... Mustangs' Most Valuable Receiver ... Scored three touchdowns in 2009 playoff game vs. Cypress Woods ... Totaled 100-plus receiving yards vs. Tomball in 2009 playoff game ... Helped the Mustangs go 15-7 his junior and senior seasons and make their fifth and sixth straight consecutive postseason appearances ... School has produced 94 scholarship football players in the past six years ... NHS, National Society of High School Scholars, graduated in top six percent of class ... Texas High School Coaches Association honorable mention All-State Academic honoree ... Also lettered in basketball and track ... Coached by Corby Meekins. Personal: Born Christian Kearney Jones ... Son of Tammye Curtis-Jones and Donnell Jones ... Marcello Simmons (SMU alum) and Roger Vick (Texas A&M alum) are cousins who played in the NFL ... Interested in biomedical engineering.

    Jack Konopka (pronounced ka-NOP-ka)
    6-5 • 265
    Inverness, Ill. • Palatine Fremd
    Projected Position: Offensive Line

    High School: ESPN.com three-star, SuperPrep All-Midwest and Rivals.com All-Midwest offensive lineman ... Ranked 18th among all Illinois players and 69th nationally among all offensive tackles by Rivals.com ... Daily Herald All-Area choice ... Champaign News-Gazette All-State special mention ... Helped the Vikings win 17 games his junior and senior seasons, which included an 11-1 campaign in 2009 when Fremd reached the Class 8A quarterfinals ... Besides playing on the offensive line, also slotted at tight end (14 receptions for 98 yards, 3 TD's) and defensive end (35 tackles, 3 sacks) ... Team won the MSL West Conference title in both his junior and senior seasons ... Tabbed to play in the U.S.A. vs. the The World National Game ... Also lettered in baseball, track and basketball ... School's Honor Roll ... Coached by Mike Donatucci. Personal: Born John Andrew Konopka ... Son of Bernadette and Andrew Konopka ... Interested in an education or business degree.

    Shane Mertz
    6-8 • 285
    Hazlet, N.J. • Raritan
    Projected Position: Offensive Line

    High School: ESPN.com three-star, SuperPrep All-Northeast and Rivals.com All-Atlantic East selection ... Ranked 19th among all New Jersey players by Rivals.com, 21st among all New Jersey players by SuperPrep and 62nd nationally among all offensive tackles by Rivals.com ... MaxPreps All-State, All-County, All-Division and All-Shore Conference honoree ... Ranked as a top-25 offensive tackle by ESPN.com ... Helped lead the Rockets to a two-year record of 14-6, which included a state semifinal appearance in 2009 ... Invited to play in area's Chesapeake Bowl and All-Shore game ... High Honor Roll all four years, Academic All-Shore, NHS, ranked 15th in a class of 275 ... Played against current NU lineman Brandon Vitabile ... Also lettered in track and field (throws) ... Coached by Bob Generelli. Personal: Born Shane Russell Mertz ... Son of Joann and Harold Mertz ... Interested in mechanical engineering.

    Geoff Mogus
    6-5 • 285
    Lorain, Ohio • St. Edward
    Projected Position: Offensive Line

    High School: ESPN.com three-star, SuperPrep All-Midwest and Rivals.com All-Midwest offensive guard ... Ranked 58th among all Ohio players by Rivals.com and 111th among all Midwest players by SuperPrep ... Three-year starting offensive guard for Ohio prep power St. Edward, which won the Ohio Division I state title in 2010 ... Team captain ... First-team AP Northeastern Lakes All-District and third-team AP All-Ohio honoree ... Cleveland Plain Dealer All-Star choice ... First-team Lakewood Sun News All-Star team ... First-team J.J. Huddle All-Ohio team ... Voted one of the top 10 offensive linemen in Ohio by Ohio Varsity ... Selected to play in the Big 33 All-Star game (Ohio vs. Pennsylvania), along with teammate Deonte Gibson, who also signed with Northwestern ... Finished the 2010 season with 96 percent blocking efficiency and 50 knockdowns ... Led the Eagles to a 10-0 regular season and a 15-0 final mark as a senior ... Prep team was ranked in the top 12 nationally by four different outlets, including a No. 2 ranking by MaxPreps ... High Honor Roll every quarter at St. Edward ... 3.9 cumulative GPA ... Ohio All-Academic selection ... Coached by Rick Finotti. Personal: Born Geoff Anthony Mogus ... Son of Annette Mogus and Geoff Mogus ... Interested in a sports medicine career.

    Zack Oliver
    6-4 • 225
    Baton Rouge, La. • Catholic
    Projected Position: Quarterback

    High School: ESPN.com three-star, SuperPrep All-Southwest and Rivals.com All-Southeast selection ... Ranked 21st among all Louisiana players by SuperPrep and 31st among all Louisiana players by Rivals.com ... Ranked 26th nationally among all pro-style quarterbacks by Rivals.com ... Three-year starting quarterback at Catholic High ... In 2010, was tabbed first-team all-district, first-team all-metro and honorable mention all-state ... Tabbed the MVP's of the 2010 Army Red Stick Bowl All-Star and the 2010 Max Emfinger All-American Bowl All-Star games ... Tossed the game-winning TD pass with 13 seconds left in the Army Red Stick game ... Completed 12-of-16 passes for 153 yards and 2 TD's, along with a rushing TD, in the Emfinger All-American Bowl game ... Second-team all-district and honorable mention all-state in 2009 ... Concluded career with 5,411 passing yards, 57 TD passes, 410 completions, 6,154 yards of total offense, 743 rushing yards ... As a junior, led the Bears to an 11-3 record and a state semifinal appearance ... Also competes on the Bears' three-time track state championship team ... Placed fourth in the javelin throw at the state meet ... Hails from the same high school that has produced Warrick Dunn, Travis Miner, Major Applewhite, Donnie Jones and Chris Williams ... Member of school's Honor Roll ... Played against current NU linebacker Collin Ellis ... Coached by Dale Weiner. Personal: Born Zachary Douglas Oliver ... Son of Barbara Oliver and Dennis Oliver ... Brother, Brian, plays football for Henderson State ... Interested in communication studies.

    Jordan Perkins
    6-0 • 180
    Lodi, Calif. • Lodi
    Projected Position: Running Back

    High School: ESPN.com three-star, SuperPrep All-Far West and Rivals.com All-West running back ... Ranked 72nd among all California players by SuperPrep and 70th among all California players by Rivals.com ... Ranked 35th nationally (and seventh in the West) among all running backs by SuperPrep and 40th nationally among all running backs by Rivals.com ... Ranked 31st-best running back by Tom Lemming ... Rushed for 3,738 yards and 34 TD's during his career with Lodi ... Missed first six games of senior season with a broken clavicle .... In team's final seven games, rushed for 1,061 yards (8.9 ypc) and 10 TD's ... Also added 13 receptions for 188 yards (14.5 ypr) ... Earned all-state honors in 2008 and '09 ... 2009 SJAA Offensive Player of the Year ... 2009 Stockton Record All-Area running back ... 2010 All-SJAA first-team offense ... Team captain ... In 2010 first-round playoff game vs. Turlock, rushed for 200 yards (21 carries) and 1 TD ... Ran for 266 yards (21 carries) and 3 TD's in second round of 2010 playoffs vs. Menair ... Had TD runs of 79 and 86 yards in that postseason game ... Helped the Bears reach the semifinals of the Division I playoffs in 2010 ... Honor Roll all four years ... Also played basketball, baseball and track ... Team captain for basketball and track teams, too ... Coached by Todd Dillon. Personal: Born Jordan Michael Perkins ... Son of Joanna and Curtis Perkins ... Mother played basketball at Cal State Fullerton and father played football at Ferris State ... Interested in criminal justice.

    C.J. Robbins
    6-5 • 255
    Peru, Ill. • LaSalle-Peru
    Projected Position: Defensive Line

    High School: ESPN.com three-star selection ... 2010 Illinois All-State honorable mention ... 2010 EdgyTim 5A-8A all-state team ... Two-time News-Tribune first-team all-area (2009 & 2010) ... 2010 Northern Illinois Big 12 West Division All-Conference member ... 2010 WLPO Lineman Award ... 2009 NCIC All-Conference ... Team captain ... Invited to play in the 2011 Shriner All-Star game ... Earned the game-saving tackle vs. United Township when he tackled the QB on a 2-point conversion and LaSalle-Peru leading by just one point, 21-20 ... Registered 49 tackles, 12 TFL's, 3 sacks and 5 fumble recoveries in 2009 & 2010 ... Missed four games his senior season due to an injury ... Cavaliers went 7-3 and reached the 5A playoffs in 2009 ... Four-year Honor Roll member ... 2010 All-Academic team member ... 2009-10 Peer Helper and Big Brother mentor ... Coached by Joe Sassano. Personal: Born Cameron Douglas Robbins Jr. ... Son of Cameron and Stacey Robbins ... Sister, Jazzmyne, plays volleyball at South Florida ... Interested in communications or physical therapy.

    Drew Smith
    6-1 • 200
    Cincinnati, Ohio • Colerain
    Projected Position: Linebacker

    High School: ESPN.com three-star linebacker ... Three-year letterwinner at outside linebacker for Colerain ... Named first-team All-Greater Miami Conference (GMC) and second-team All-Southwest Ohio ... Selected to play in Big 33 All-Star game (Ohio vs. Pennsylvania) ... Named team's defensive MVP ... Team completed undefeated 10-0 regular season in 2010 ... Led the conference with 10 sacks his senior year ... Totaled 58 tackles with 12 sacks and 24 TFL's in his career ... Honor Roll student ... Coached by Tom Bolden. Personal: Born Andrew Ward Smith III ... Son of Andrew Smith and Zenith Strum ... Anticipated major at Northwestern is broadcast journalism.

    Mark Szott (pronounced ZOTT)
    6-4 • 230
    Naperville, Ill. • Waubonsie Valley
    Projected Position: Superback

    High School: ESPN.com three-star ... Starting tight end for Waubonsie Valley for three years, compiling 47 catches for 528 yards in his career ... 2010 Chicago Tribune honorable mention All-State honoree ... Twice named honorable mention all-conference and academic all-conference ... Set single-game highs with seven catches for 122 yards in a game in 2009 ... Helped the Warriors make the state playoffs four consecutive years ... Warriors captured the 2010 Upstate 8 Conference championship ... Also lettered in basketball and baseball ... Served as team captain in football and baseball ... Honor Roll student ... Coached by Gary Rose. Personal: Born Mark Joseph Szott ... Son of Gary and Rose Szott ... Cousin is former Northwestern and current Houston Astros pitcher J.A. Happ ... Father played basketball at Rockford College ... Competed against NU quarterback Evan Watkins and men's basketball standout Drew Crawford in basketball ... College major is undecided.

    Nick VanHoose
    6-0 • 170
    Urbana, Ohio • Graham
    Projected Position: Defensive Back

    High School: Starred as a running back, defensive back and special teams returner for Graham, twice earning All-Area Player of the Year honors and receiving second-team All-Ohio recognition in junior and senior seasons ... Averaged 187.7 rushing yards per game as a junior and compiled 1,495 yards on the ground with 15 touchdowns as a senior ... Scored four touchdowns in one game on two occasions ... Selected to play in 2011 Ohio North-South football game ... Helped Graham win conference junior season ... Surpassed Graham's previous career rushing record by 560 yards ... Also a four-year letterwinner and two-time All-Area Player of the Year in basketball ... Team captain in football and basketball ... Honor roll student and member of Business Professionals of America organization ... Coached by Nic Black. Personal: Born Nicholas Ray VanHoose ... Son of Roger and Lorrie VanHoose ... College major is undecided.

    Jarrell Williams (pronounced ja-RELL)
    5-11 • 170
    Robbins, Ill. • Oak Lawn Richards
    Projected Position: Defensive Back

    High School: ESPN.com three-star, Rivals.com All-Midwest and SuperPrep All-Midwest cornerback ... Ranked 22nd among Illinois players by Rivals.com and 53rd nationally among cornerbacks by Rivals.com ... Ranked 69th among all Midwest players by SuperPrep ... Versatile athlete and three-year starter who starred as a defensive back, earning South Suburban Red Conference Player of the Year honors ... Recorded 50 tackles, three interceptions, two defensive touchdowns and two forced fumbles as a senior ... Holds Richards career record for turnovers forced (11) ... Also gained 408 yards on 41 carries (9.9 ypc) as a senior with six touchdowns and caught 18 passes for 272 yards (15.1 ypr) ... Named first team all-state by IHSFCA and Chicago Sun-Times and second-team by Chicago Tribune ... Helped Richards win back-to-back conference championships and reach the second round of the IHSA playoffs in 2009 and 2010 ... Coached by Tony Sheehan. Personal: Born Jason Jarrell Williams ... Son of Shiree Jackson and Jason Williams ... Planning on studying sports medicine at Northwestern.

    Pierre Youngblood-Ary
    6-3 • 185
    Orlando, Fla. • Lake Brantley
    Projected Position: Wide Receiver

    High School: Played wide receiver in option offense at Lake Brantley High School, catching nine passes for 296 yards and four touchdowns ... Named to all-conference team in 2010 ... Team's offensive MVP as a freshman and junior ... Invited to compete in Florida's North-South All-Star game ... Team finished as district runner-up in 2009 and 2010 ... Also a four-year letterwinner in track and field, qualifying for regionals in 400-meter and long jump as a junior ... Three-sport captain (football, track and field, basketball) ... Honor roll and National Honors Society student ... Coached by George Clayton. Personal: Born Xavier Pierre Youngblood-Ary ... Son of Kim Youngblood and Kenneth and Sabrina Ary ... Father played football at Northeast Louisiana University ... Completed an internship at Johns Hopkins CSI program ... Planning on entering pre-med program at Northwestern.