The big football news Thursday for Northwestern came in a somewhat controversial move from Pat Fitzgerald.
According to several reports, Northwestern withdrew its scholarship offer to Scout 3-star linebacker Ray Davison after he decided to take an official visit to California. Davison had committed to Northwestern back in November, saying then that he knew he wanted to go to Northwestern the moment the team offered him because of its academics.
Unfortunately for him, and for Northwestern, Davison began to waver when California began recruiting him and the California-native wanted to reconsider his commitment and see what California had to offer. The Wildcats though have a strict policy (it would seem) on commitments. The program does not like soft commitments and once they receive a commitment from a recruit, the recruiting is over. Fitzgerald does not want to play that game of trying to flip and fight off flips from other teams.
The idea of a commitment is exactly that at Northwestern.
It seems like Davison understood the decision from Northwestern and understood the ramifications of his choice to take a visit to California. Davison told Chris Emma of Scout that he understood the consequences of his decision to take a visit to California. He said he wished Northwestern did not have such a policy, but he understood what he was doing.
This is perhaps a policy that Northwestern will need to review as it goes after higher profile recruits and enters the sometimes dark and seedy world of college recruiting. For now, this is the policy and the expectation that Pat Fitzgerald puts on his commitments and he stuck to the policy he has. After recruiting is over (if it is ever over) is when Fitzgerald can go back and review the process. Right now, he made the decision to stick to his policies and expect his recruits to honor their commitments the same way he and his program will honor its (i.e. giving four-year scholarships to players).
Best of luck to Roy. Hopefully he still ends up at a fantastic school that fits the educational needs he said he was seeking from Northwestern.
It is unfortunate how this played out for him, but (I assume) he knew what a commitment to Northwestern meant. Davison received an offer from California on Tuesday and also had offers from Boise State, Navy and Iowa State, among others. It would seem since education is important to him, California has the inside track for his commitment.
With signing day coming up Feb. 6, Northwestern has received 19 commitments — including two 4-star recruits in quarterback Matt Alviti and safety Godwin Igwebuike — and Scout ranks NU’s recruiting class as 32nd in the nation. This, as has been said plenty of times before, is Northwestern’s best recruiting class in Pat Fitzgerald’s tenure.
There is at least still one player to keep an eye on too.
The Wildcats are still in the running for Florida 4-star wide receiver James Clark. Clark is looking at Florida, Nebraska, Rutgers and Clemson among others including Northwestern. Clark could very well take his decision down to Signing Day, leaving one last bit of intrigue for Northwestern (something we are not entirely used to).