‘Cats Add Pair of ’13 LBs – Anthony Walker Jr. & Brett Walsh

Brett Walsh

July madness is on. Northwestern landed a pair of 2013 commitments on Tuesday and both play linebacker. Anthony Walker Jr., a 6-1, 208 pound OLB from Opa Locka (FL) Monsignor Pace was the first of the pair to be reported by Chris Nee of Rivals.com.  Walker’s commitment came as little surprise as it was widely reported that Northwestern was numero uno on his list that included Purdue, Minnesota and Florida International among others. I almost feel like I could put the microphone out to the crowd on this one and you could sing in chorus the reasons why he chose “the ivy league” education combined with the chance to play Big Ten football, but most of all the feel he got with the coaches and he noted the character of the guys on the team.  It’s a familiar tune these days, in a great way, and the ‘Cats are locking up 3-star talent at an alarming rate this summer. Walker Jr. was commit number 14 for 2013, but the tag of “most recent commit” lasted a mere few hours when I was alerted to this article from a local paper in California.

Brett Walsh an OLB committed to the ‘Cats. The Monrovia, California native is 6-2 and 205 pounds and  chose the ‘Cats over Nevada, Fresno State, UNLV and South Dakota. He had interest from Boise State, Washington, BC, San Diego State and Wake, plus a few Ivy League schools like Harvard and Yale.  He is currently unranked by Rivals but I read on Scout.com last night that national recruiting analyst Brandon Huffman expects the site to bump him to a 3-star in their next ratings update. That should be good news for those in the LTP community who believe that the services have downgraded players after they commit to the ‘Cats (see: Jaren Sina).

Welcome aboard Brett and Anthony! Northwestern’s 15 commitments for 2013 has fans scratching their heads as to how few scholarships remain for this class. It is time to ring up our resident recruiting expert to help us with the math.  Quality always wins over quantity, however just for context of how the ‘Cats have made substantial progress with their aggressive first-to-offer strategy on many of their recruits (which continues to be mentioned by commits as something that was a factor), NU has more commitments than Texas (14) and Ohio State (14) and as many as USC (15) which are all top ten ranked classes. Scout.com has the 2013 class currently ranked 37th in the country. 

Single Game Tickets On Sale July 23 at 9 am ct!

As if the recruiting buzz wasn’t enough to get you stoked for football, well then just look at the www.NUSports.com home page which has the logos of our seven home opponents just enticing you to purchase tickets. Here’s the real reason to step up NOW for season tickets – as of Monday at about 9:05 am the Nebraska game will be soldout as we get crushed by an onslaught of Huskers fans blowing up the phone lines. It’s time to step up, call your friends, email them and let them know to call 1-888-Go-Purple and tell them LTP sent you! When you get those conversions of NEW season ticket holders, let us know and we’ll give you a shout-out and post the tally on our board in the upper right corner. We’re closing in on one-third of our 200 season ticket goal. Let’s get to the 100 mark by Monday, shall we? Who’s got next?

Uh-oh

The Penn State story continues to unravel. As you likely know, ESPN obtained new information regarding the fact Penn State administrators had the opportunity to institute reforms in 2004, but they passed. NCAA president Mark Emmert also weighed in on this and I was surprised at his candor about how unprecedented this is. This thing is just unraveling, but I don’t think any of us are surprised at this point. Take a look here.  He was a guest on PBS’ Tavis Smiley show and offered this:

 

“I’ve never seen anything as egregious as this in terms of just overall conduct and behavior inside a university and hope never to see it again. What the appropriate penalties are, if there are determinations of violations, we’ll have to decide. We’ll hold in abeyance all of those decisions until we’ve actually decided what we want to do with the actual charges should there be any. And I don’t want to take anything off the table.” – NCAA President Mark Emmert on Tavis Smiley Show

 

Oh yeah, and Paternoville has been renamed “NittanyLionVille”. On a related note, the most painful job today in sports media world? Mizzou. It turns out Tigers head coach Gary Pinkel went in to “defending the greatness” of Joe Paterno mode at SEC media days and while I’m writing this late night on Tuesday, I suspect when Wednesday gets cooking so will the ire of fans across many sports at Pinkel’s comments and the sports info staff at Missouri will be thinking “did I sign up for this?”.  You can read one of the many pieces on this here from the hometown angle.

Linsanity’s Purple Connection

The big news in the NBA (and all of sports for that matter) last night was the signing of Jeremy Lin by the Houston Rockets in a bit of salary gamesmanship that has many Knicks fans seething (once again) at James Dolan. One of the crucial players in this deal was Rockets GM, Daryl Morey, a Wildcat alum and passionate ‘Cats fan. You can bet fellow alum and Twitter fiend, Darren Rovell (the two are friends) will be tweeting away some delicious stats on the financial impact this will have to the Rockets franchise. Daryl is on my LTP Purple Mafia hit list and he knows it.

‘Cats Ring Cash Register

Well, membership sure has its privileges. The Big Ten/Pac12 announced a new deal for the Rose Bowl with ESPN, which, get this, upped its $30MM per year rights fee to $80 MM PER YEAR for the Granddaddy of ‘em all.  That’s a 167% increase for the rights to broadcast the game (throw in a few more million for all-in production costs that ESPN will ante up).  Obviously when both the B1G and Pac12 are participants (not a given) they will split this. The conferences rake a little off the top and then in the case of NU, they get a 1/12th cut.  That means likely a few million more in the coffers of NU.  HawkeyeNation.com breaks it down for you in much more detail here.

Pizza Pizza!

Little Caesar’s reupped for the sponsorship of the Motor City Bowl all but ensuring we’ll have that  moniker gracing the facade of Ryan Field as our lone win since 1949.  Please, no.

More interesting is the fact that the mojo that was gained by a consensus vote among B1G ADs to go to a 7-5 record to qualify for a bowl game has now lost momentum and B1G commish Jim Delany has conceded it looks like we’re back to a 6-6 model after other conferences weighed in. Fitz was for the 6-6 qualifying record.

 

And Finally…

Oh, Iowa. Our friends at BHGP are going to have their fun continued. The list of challenges Iowa has had at RB due to a combo of injuries, discipline problems, transfers and probably several other items I’m missing continues. I think at last count we’re at 37th on the depth chart and now a walk-on gets caught changing tags to lower the price on a shirt at a Dillard’s and faces 5th degree theft charges. Somehow, a 1000-yard rusher will emerge once again out of thin air.

  • cebpd

    Your comparison to OSU and Texas is folly. OSU has all 4 star recruits but 3, and while I think that “star rankings” are bulls***, the offer list of their recruits is not. Penn St, Nebraska, Bama, LSU, Notre Dame, and obviously OSU.

    Frankly, these are the recruits that I do NOT get excited for. Middling 3 star talent with poor offer lists. Kids like Matt Harris with offers from Illinois, Wisconsin, and BC I get excited for, even with that 3 star tag.

    Kids that have offers from, “Purdue, Minnesota, and FIU” i mean COME ON. We will never get to the next level with guys like that. I’m sure they are nice guys and good character guys, but character does not(though I believe it plays a role) win football games…talent does.

    Also…and this plays into the entire role of LTP in the first place…there is a reason we have SO many recruits this early. It is because the coaches are scared to death to have them come into a gameday experience choosing between us and another B1G school. Our gameday experience is awful comparitively and we’d lose a ton of recruiting battles. the coaches choose 1 game a year(probably Iowa or Neb) to bring in all the recruits (and committed ones) for a game that will likely have a great atmosphere…but bringing in kids everyweek like a michigan or Ohio State would be recruiting suicide.

    Getting better recruits starts with getting a better gameday atmosphere and filling Ryan Field with purple!

    • UVA Cat

      I agree with you that our gameday experience is definitely sub-par in the B1G. I was at NU during the ’94 – ’97 seasons so I know what the experience at Ryan Field at Dyche Stadium has the potential to be. However, let’s keep in mind that we are very unlikely to have radical, sustained change on the field or in the number of people we put in the stands. Rather, I would argue that more wins on the field will raise overall attendance, which will create a better atmosphere, which will help enhance recruiting. It’s a cycle that’s hard to crack, so where do we start? I think it starts with better talent, like you mention. But we’re not all of sudden going to get an influx of 4/5 star recruits. Instead, we’ve definitely raised the bar in terms of the talent that we’re bringing to Evanston. It’s incremental, but significant nonetheless. Alviti, Odenigbo, Kuhar. And then there’s Prater. Those are talents that we would not have seen come to Evanston in a two year span, even just a few years ago. Plus, the number of 3-star recruits (I know, I’m not a fan of the star system either) we’ve attracted has helped bolster the depth of the team. I hope we can coach this breadth and depth of talent into a team that can “break through” and generate the excitement to attract even better talent and more fans to Central Street.

    • calmer than you are

      This isn’t helpful. Walker is a solid pickup in a class that very much needs some defensive talent. There’s not really that big of a difference between Ill/Wisc/BC and Minn/Purdue/FIU in terms of the level of offers.

      • cebpd

        Yes there is. Illinois and Wisconsin have both been to the Rose Bowl recently. Wisconsin is a great defensive team and Illinois has a pretty good D too. BC has produced great LB’s and generally has a decent D.

        Minnesota is a horrible team and Purdue isn’t much better. FIU is laughable

        • calmer than you are

          I disagree. And I think you should try to observe the first and only rule about discussing college football recruiting online, which is: Feel free to rip on coaches all you want. But never rip on 17-year-old recruits for any reason. Or else you run the risk of looking like a jackass.

        • http://LakeThePosts DT

          cebpd-
          Why the venom and disrespect about FIU? Last time I checked, they were 8-4 last year, with a loss to Marshall in a bowl game… Nothing laughable about that, with a quality win against Louisville and close losses to Ole Miss and Duke, certainly indicating they can play at NU’s level…

    • Lake The Posts

      @cebpd – really? I specifically pointed out the fact that it’s about quality over quantity and referenced that when mentioning Texas and Ohio State. The point in comparing our 37th-ranked class to the top ten was about the fact that we’re getting more recruits early than we have which is one of the differentiatiors of highly ranked classes. Again, I really don’t care about recruiting class rankings and care much more about results on the field, however I was trying to make a point that our first-to-offer strategy is paying off as more than half of the current ’13 class has referenced that, including the highly-touted including our 4-star Matt Alviti.
      As for gameday experience it is easy to point out the problems. Help come up with solutions. Get 4 friends to buy season tickets and the several thousand daily readers do that we’ve got Ryan Field packed purple.

    • RalphtheDog

      I guess you didn’t care for Tyrell Sutton, Brad Phillips, Sherrick McManis, Corbin Bryant, Drake Dunsmore, Jeremy Ebert, and Pat Fitzgerald as recruits when they signed either.

  • Indycat15

    Cebpd
    That’s a disrespectful post to the future Wildcat recruits.

  • Tom (WCAS 06)

    I hate to say it, but I agree. Offer lists are way more telling than a fickle 3-star rating. Look at Vandy’s recent 3-star recruits: they have offers from UT, Texas AM, Nebraska, Miami (FL), LSU, UNC and Stanford just to name a few.

    I think what cebpd points out here is that not all 3 star recruits are the same. Optimists will look at them and say \Another diamond in the rough from Fitz! We snagged him before he can really shine in his senior season!\ While those of us grounded in reality can see that our recruiting has absolutely plateaued over the past 4 cycles. We’re good for 2 4-star recruits per year and 2 dozen kids who we pry from the likes of powerhouses FIU, Texas State, South Dakota, Army and Tulsa.

    Hate to be a downer but I’m just not seeing the recruiting mojo rising like others here do.

    • calmer than you are

      If you don’t think NU’s “recruiting mojo is rising”, take one minute and go look at our classes from 4 or 5 years ago. The last two years have probably been the best in school history, and this year will probably rank right up there next to them.

  • Galloping Ghost

    I agree 100% with Indycat. Let’s be thankful our recruits are not the “4 star” studs at Bama, Texas, and LSU. NU offers a unique football experience for a type of recruit who would likely turn those programs down if offered. We should be proud of that and not disparage the type of kid who finds NU so special.

  • cece

    welcome aboard, Anthony and Brett!

    you will hear good things and a few bad things about football at NU by bloggers. it’s just like high school, only with some bigger words. we know you are tough and smart enough to pay attention to what is good, and there’s tons of good at NU. tons.

    glad to have you soon at the University by the big lake.

  • Mark

    Welcome aboard Anthony and Brett! You will get a great education and have opportunities related to being Chicago-based that Lafayette, Bloomington, Iowa City, Ann Arbor, East Lansing, etc. can never offer.

    Re criticism about the quality of recruits. Just win, baby! How many stars were Wootton and McManis? Persa? Kafka? Markshausen??? Even Sutton, Mr. Football in Ohio didn’t get high ratings. And one of our two new recruits made 192 tackles last year – last time I checked that doesn’t deserve panning on this blog.

    • cebpd

      Alright. #1 – Making a lot of tackles is not an indicator of a great player, it’s an indicator of a bad defense. Tim Mcgarigle holds the NCAA record for tackles but no one is saying hes even a top 10-20 LB of the decade for 2000-2010.

      #2 – As for your critique of the 6 players you mentioned that were stars for us, I can name Watt, Armstrong, Battle, Fleming, Vaughn, and the list goes on of 2-3 star players that DID NOT pan out. for each 2-3 stars that were all big ten or 2nd team, there are 3-4 who didn’t pan out, and that number increases more looking at the whole NCAA.

      however, if you look at a list of the “rivals 100″, the names are littered with current NCAA stars and NFL players. The odds are much more likely when you get players with offers from big time schools.

      • Mark

        His running mate at linebacker is going to Colorado so I don’t think it’s an indication of a bad defense. Even if it were a poor defense the kid is getting after it and that can’t be taught.

        Agree that I would rather NU only sign players who are rated 5 stars, are National Merit Scholars, bench 450 and squat 700, run 4.4 40′s, and who do systemic social change work in their off hours. But if not then we have to develop players. I agree that a lot of the 2 and 3 stars will never see the field.

  • Spartycat

    Readers have a right to critique our recruiting strategies, but I would encourage the LTP community to also do what we do best: Welcome two new Wildcats to the fold. Anthony and Brett, you’re coming into the program at a very exciting time. Barely 10 years ago, very few people had any concern about our recruiting and the long term success of our program.

    I’m sure you will contribute greatly to our team and, more importantly, get a top notch education that will help you long after your football days! Congratulations and welcome!

    • http://LakeThePosts DT

      Sparty-
      You have got to be kidding… Your observation about “Barely 10 years ago, very few people had any concern about recruiting and long term success of our program”, is among the most ridiculous statements I’ve ever read on this blog… I’m assuming, you have some lineage in East Lansing that might not have afforded you the proper perspective on just how damned important NU’s recruiting efforts and subsequent “long term success” of this football program has been– certainly since Gary Barnett took over and showed an earnest turnaround taking place circa 94. You might be a “young guy” with no exposure beyond your 12-24 year old demographic perspective or being raised with the internet.. Or, you might be clueless and part of the top spin coming from The Athletic Department about how things are a changin’ so much for the better… Only you know, my friend…

      Either way, save that stuff… It’s offensive to many of us who have been associated with NU Football– and given a shit for many years… Note the word, many…

  • VAWildcat

    Welcome to Anthony and Brett! From all reports, it sounds like you’ll make excellent additions to the Wildcat Family!

    (Wish I could say the same for some of the commenters on this blog.)

  • chartmoose

    Welcome, Anthony & Brett!

    I think it’s much more productive to welcome new recruits than to critique them.

    We should all remember that many of our past recruits — even guys who made it to the next level in the NFL — didn’t have a ton of stars after their name. (Ebert & Dunsmore signed with NFL teams this year & had only 2 stars. Roach had 2 stars. Markshausen was a walkon.)

    I think it’s probably fair to criticize coaches for something that you think is wrong, especially when you have somewhat of a clue of what you’re talking about. (Example: in-game decision making by the coaches)

    But I think it’s pretty questionable to criticize coaches for their player evaluation and recruiting, when you don’t see most of the information that went into their evaluation (extensive reviewing of tape, player performance, discussions with the kid and family and coaches, etc).

    My Northwestern education taught me to give higher weight to facts & evidence, and to give a bit less attention to bravado and baseless charges. Thank goodness Coach Fitz’s Northwestern education taught him to do the same!

    Welcome to the whole recruiting class so far. We’re happy you chose Northwestern :)

  • Purple to Pasadena

    Welcome to the Wildcat family, Anthony and Brett! I’m excited to see some more defensive talent added to the recruiting class.

    There was a stretch there in our recruiting where 3 of the last 4 guys we brought in were Odenigbo, Prater and Alviti. I think some people may have gotten a bit jaded in terms of our recruting. We’ll hopefully continue bringing in a couple of those guys each year, but we cannot expect them to be the norm. I’m excited that the new norm is guys like Anthony and Brett with other Big 10 offers, as opposed to the days when the norm was guys that were MAC-bound before NU swooped in with an offer.

  • Alec

    http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/sports/highschool/recruiting/blog/2012/02/paces_anthony_walker_has_huge.html

    Got this from the Wildcat Report message board, Walker ran a 4.48 40 time this summer. For some of the negativity on about three star players, that’s a very impressive time for any LB.

    • Mark

      +1.

  • aari

    check out.. this video – pretty nice highlights
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gjrYErMh6A

  • RalphtheDog

    These guys have as many or more offers than Brad Phillips, Corbin Bryant, Sherrick McManis, and Jeremy Ebert.

West Division

TeamsW (Overall)L (Overall)W (B1G)L (B1G)
Minnesota0000
Northwestern0000
Wisconsin0000
Nebraska0000
Purdue0000
Iowa0000
Illinois0000

East Division

TeamsW (Overall)L (Overall)W (B1G)L (B1G)
Rutgers1000
Penn State1000
Michigan0000
Michigan State0000
Ohio State0000
Indiana0000
Maryland0000