Northwestern’s incredible recruiting week continued Thursday as Pat Fitzgerald secured his third commitment this week in the form of three-star running back Auston Anderson of Plano, Texas. The symbolism of this commitment is almost as big as the player coming in.
Anderson is a three-star prospect according to the recruiting Web sites, but he had offers from in-state power Texas, UCLA and Nebraska among plenty others. There were a whole ton of good schools going after the speedy, but diminutive running back. There is no denying though that Pat Fitzgerald and Northwestern know how to get the most out of talent regardless of size at the running back position (see: Mark, Venric). Those comparisons have already begun.
The commitment was announced when a Rivals message board user under the name manderson4676, presumed to be a family member, posted this message:
We are proud to announce that Auston committed to Coach Fitz this morning. After many hours of review, discussion and prayer, he has chosen Northwestern for his future. He had the pleasure of meeting with some of the top coaches in the nation throughout this process and we are very grateful to them all for their interest and professionalism.
At the end of the day, the allure of attending an elite academic institution combined with a Top 25 Football program led by men of high character and values was just too much too ignore.
This was not a vote against any of the great schools pursuing Auston but rather a vote for Northwestern and what we believe to be the best fit for Auston and his future.
Our thanks to the entire Wildcat Nation for making Auston feel welcomed and appreciated.
Get ready Wildcat nation….Here we come!
The decision was later confirmed by
Kevin Trahan Chris Johnson of Inside Northwestern and on Anderson’s Twitter account. Kevin Trahan of Inside Northwestern provided a nice scouting report of Anderson.
But beating Texas for a recruit from Texas at a skill position says something about Northwestern’s growing stature in recruiting circles. Northwestern is not afraid to take on and beat the big boys for the players they want and players are not afraid to take whatever perceived risks there are in attending Northwestern. The family theme hinted at in the message board post has been prevalent in several comments from other recruits. These guys are very clearly happy to be part of the family and feel welcomed by the entire community.
Anderson ran for 1,156 yards and 13 touchdowns, averaging 6.88 yards per carry for Plano West last season, splitting carries with junior Sotonye Jamabo, another target of Texas along with Michigan and Ohio State. Anderson is clearly very good to gain the Longhorns’ attention and split time with a junior that is gaining the attention of several big-name programs. Unlike this class’ other running back recruit, Solomon Vault, Anderson is likely to stay at running back whereas Vault is likely to move to slot receiver.
More than that, even before we hit the end of the spring quarter Northwestern has a strong class of eight commitments. That is already more than half of the anticipated 15 the Wildcats are expected to welcome on Signing Day in 2014. This is already considered one of the most talented classes in Northwestern history. And there is still more work for Fitzgerald to do to complete the class.