June 2, 2008
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern head football coach Pat Fitzgerald announced Monday the addition of seven non-scholarship student-athletes to the Wildcats' 2008 roster.
In recent years, scholarship reductions have increased the importance of attracting quality walk-ons to a football program. In addition, many walk-ons earn full scholarships while attending Northwestern. In the last nine years, the Wildcats have awarded 25 full scholarships to walk-ons.
"Our non-scholarship players make a huge impact on our program and we reward as many as possible," said Fitzgerald. "We're excited to welcome these seven young men to our program."
Northwestern's seven walk-ons for 2008 are wide receiver Brendan Barber (Erie, Pa./Cathedral Prep), linebacker Bo Cisek (Chicago, Ill./Notre Dame), place-kicker Steve Flaherty (Chicago, Ill./St. Rita), linebacker Tyris Jones (Fort Wayne, Ind./Concordia Lutheran), safety James Kurzawski (Evanston, Ill./Loyola Academy), quarterback Harrison Scott (Dalton, Ga./Dalton) and place-kicker Tim Weak (Omaha, Neb./Millard North).
Northwestern begins preseason camp the weekend of Aug. 2 and 3, in preparation for its Aug. 30 home and season opener vs. Syracuse.
The following are the biographies of NU's seven walk-on student-athletes:
Erie, Pa. Cathedral Prep
Projected Position: Wide Receiver
High School: Second-team all-region wide receiver and safety for the Ramblers in 2007 ... Named to Erie's city all-star team ... Caught 15 passes for 253 yards (16.9 ypr) and 4 TD's his senior season ... Totaled 51 tackles and a pair of interceptions as a safety ... Team captain ... Caught a 58-yard TD pass from younger brother Pat on the game's first play vs. Hempfield Area ... As a junior, blocked a punt against Warren Harding to win the game ... Elected to play in City-County All-Star game ... Helped lead the Ramblers to a two-year mark of 20-5 and a pair of District 10 and Region championships ... Cathedral Prep went 11-2 his junior year ... Also lettered three times on the Ramblers' basketball team as a forward ... Averaged 7.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game ... Winner of school's Tyzinski Award (awarded for athletic talent, leadership and sportsmanship), which is voted on by student council, senior class advisors, senior class officer and all varsity head coaches ... Hails from the same school that has produced several college and pro players, including NFL All-Pro safety Bob Sanders (Iowa and Indianapolis Colts) ... Class secretary, National Honor Society, First Honor Roll ... Participated in Prep Scholars program ... Awarded the President's Education Award (must maintain a 3.5 GPA all four years and score in the top 85 percent on SAT) ... Coached by Don Hall.
Personal: Born Brendan Patrick Barber on 11/30/1989 ... Son of John and Bridget Barber ... Fourth of five children.
Chicago, Ill. Notre Dame
Projected Position: Linebacker
High School: Two-time all East Suburban Catholic Conference (ESCC) and two-time Academic All-State linebacker at Notre Dame High ... Also named the Dons' Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year in both 2006 and '07 ... Led team in tackles as a junior with 86 hits, 14 TFL's and two fumble recoveries ... Totaled 84 tackles, 13 TFL's, a fumble recovery and two interceptions his senior season ... Also played offensive line ... In 2006, notched a career-high 14 tackles vs. Benet Academy, which featured current Wildcat Colin Armstrong ... Helped lead the Dons to the IHSA state playoffs both years ... Set a school record for safeties in a season in 2006 ... Member of National Honor Society ... Hesburgh Scholar and Summa Cum Laude honors ... Also lettered in wrestling three years ... Served as a team captain in both football and wrestling ... Coached by Mike Hennesey.
Personal: Born Bo Aloysius Cisek on 8/24/1990 ... Son of Bo Cisek and Theresa Vazquez ... Interested in majoring in economics.
Chicago, Ill. St. Rita
Projected Position: Place-kicker
High School: Two-time special mention kicker on the 2006 and 2007 Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times' all-state teams ... Honored in May 2007 as one of the top 12 kickers (out of 250) at the Chris Sailer Kicking camp ... As a junior, booted 9-of-12 field goals and 57-of-61 PAT's for St. Rita and as a senior, 6-of-7 field goals and 58-of-62 PAT's ... Named the player of the game in the 2006 IHSA state semifinal when he booted the game-winning field goal to send the Mustangs on to the state championship game ... Had two other game-winning kicks during his prep career ... Set an Illinois Class 7A playoff record with a 48-yard field goal in 2006 ... Helped the Mustangs two a two-year record of 23-5, which included a state title in 2006 ... Team was 10-4 his senior year and won the Chicago Prep Bowl ... Also played wide receiver for the Mustangs ... His special teams coach at St. Rita was former NU punter J.J. Standring ... Honor roll every semester at St. Rita ... National Honor Society ... Current NU quarterback Mike Kafka is a St. Rita alum ... Coached by Todd Kuska.
Personal: Born Stephen Patrick Flaherty on 10/17/1989 ... Son of Steve and Mary Flaherty ... His uncle, Tom Flaherty, was a linebacker at Northwestern (1982-86) and drafted by the Bengals ... Another uncle, Michael Flaherty, is the head basketball coach at Chicago Mt. Carmel and a member of the IHSA Coaches' Hall of Fame ... Interested in majoring in journalism.
Fort Wayne, Ind. Concordia Lutheran
Projected Position: Linebacker
High School: Three-time all-Summit Athletic Conference (SAC) selection for the Cadets ... All-area honoree in 2007 ... Team's leading tackler in 2006 (77 tackles) and 2007 (82 tackles) ... Also notched 13 TFL's (70 yards), 5.5 sacks (29 yards), 4 pass breakups, 3 forced fumbles and 2 blocked punts as a senior ... Three-year letterwinner and 2007 team captain ... Academic all-state honoree ... Gamenight Fantastic 50 and preseason Top-33 selection ... Team's Most Valuable Linebacker ... Racked up 16 tackles, including two TFL's and a sack, in a semi-state game vs. South Bend St. Joseph ... Credited with 14 tackles, including three TFL's, a sack and two forced fumbles vs. Harding ... Helped lead the Cadets to a 9-5 record, along with sectional and regional championships, his senior season ... Team finished as the semi-state runners-up in 2007 ... Four years on school's honor roll ... Honors diploma and class representative ... Also participated in basketball and lettered in track ... Coached by Dean Doeffler.
Personal: Born Tyris Remond Jones on 9/16/1989 ... Son of Edward and Regenia Jones ... Interested in majoring in political science.
Evanston, Ill. Loyola Academy
Projected Position: Safety
High School: Two-time Chicago Catholic League (Blue) All-Conference strong safety ... Played running back and wide receiver on offense ... Earned academic all-state honors as a senior ... Totaled 252 career tackles, including 100 (60 solos, 40 assisted) his senior year ... Credited with a career-high 15 tackles (12 solos) against Fremd in the second round of the 2007 IHSA Class 8A state playoffs ... Also had two TFL's, a pass deflection and a fumble recovery vs. Fremd ... Led team in kickoff return average (21.8 ypr) ... Helped the Ramblers to a 9-4 record, which included a state playoff berth ... Played with fellow NU signee Brian Mulroe ... Also starred in lacrosse, earning all-conference and all-state honors his senior season ... Loyola Scholar, First Honors, Dumbach Scholar, National Society of High School Scholars ... Coached by John Holecek.
Personal: Born James Philip Kurzawski on 9/8/1989 ... Son of Richard "Chico" and Amy Kurzawski ... Father, Richard, played football at Northwestern from 1966-69 ... Fourth-generation family member to attend NU ... Interested in majoring in economics.
Dalton, Ga. Dalton
Projected Position: Quarterback
High School: Georgia Press Association and Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Class 4A all-state quarterback selection in 2007 ... Dalton Daily Citizen 2007 All-Area Football Player of the Year ... Two-time All-Region 7-4A quarterback ... Daily Citizen All-Area quarterback in 2006 and '07 ... Chattanooga Times Free Press Best of Preps in 2007 ... Dalton High's 2008 Male Scholar-Athlete ... Georgia High School Football Magazine Academic All-State selection in 2007 ... Coca-Cola Golden Helmet Award (Offensive MVP) in 2007 ... Named the Comcast Sports South Chevrolet Player of the Game for his performance against Rome ... Combined for 5,700 career passing and rushing yards and 59 career TD's ... Led the Catamounts to a 28-7 record as their starting quarterback, including a 20-2 mark versus region foes ... Started 35 career games and only missed three plays due to injury ... Led Dalton to its first region championship in nine years in 2007 ... Team also made the 2006 4A state playoffs and advanced to the elite eight of the state playoffs in 2005 ... Team captain ... Lettered three years on the Catamounts' baseball team (first baseman) and was Dalton's baseball Scholar Award recipient (2004-07) ... National Honor Society ... Coached by Ronnie McLurg.
Personal: Born Harrison Lee Scott on 12/23/1989 ... Son of Jerry and Abby Scott ... Interested in majoring in chemistry.
Omaha, Neb. Millard North
Projected Position: Place-kicker
High School: Two-time all-state selection (honorable mention in 2006, second team in 2007), two-time Omaha World-Herald All-Metro and two-time all-district place-kicker ... Tabbed the Metro Football Coaches Association Kicker of the Year in both 2006 and '07 ... Booted 55-of-57 PAT's and 7-of-7 field goals (long 48) his senior year ... Concluded prep career 169-of-179 on PAT kicks and 18-of-24 on field goals ... Career long field goal is 52 yards ... As a sophomore, booted a 44-yard field goal to tie a game with 2.7 seconds left ... His 52-yarder came in the state semifinals, tying a school record ... As a senior, his season highlight came when he booted an overtime field goal to send the Mustangs to the state championship ... Helped Millard North compile a 30-8 three-year record and make two state championship appearances (won the state title his sophomore year) ... Attended the same high school as former Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch ... Four-year academic letterwinner, high Honor Roll, National Honor Society, three-time teacher-nominated Spirit Scholar, three-time Man of the Year, two-time academic all-state selection, Ron Parks Scholar-Athlete Award and Greater Omaha Sports Committee Scholar-Athlete Award ... Also lettered one year in soccer ... Coached by Fred Petito.
Personal: Born Timothy Michael Weak on 2/9/1990 ... Son of Lannie and Carol Weak.