Jordan Thomas makes another recruit flipped from Northwestern

The recruiting news for Northwestern football in the past few weeks has generally been negative.

Yes, the Wildcats got Parrker Westphal and Garrett Dickerson to complete a stellar class with two big fishes. But the news these past two weeks has not been good for Northwestern as the team has had at least two recruits now break their commitments and be taken out of the class.

Three-star safety Jordan Thomas became the latest commitment to depart Northwestern’s class, flipping his commitment from Northwestern to Oklahoma this weekend. The rumors had already started that the Texas safety was wavering on his commitment and thinking of taking another visit. As Bob Przybylo of Sooners Illustrated reports, Sooners coaches kept tabs on Perkins and stayed in contact with him and his coaches in case Perkins every changed his commitment, made in December of 2012.

Northwestern has moved to try to fill that spot in their class with a few players reportedly in the running. Obviously time is running out before Signing Day — just two weeks — and so Northwestern has been sent scrambling by some of these decommitments.

Judging by the comments from our last recruiting article, there is a growing concern that Northwestern’s “no visit after committing” rule is becoming archaic. Particularly as Northwestern competes for higher level recruits.

The thing is Pat Fitzgerald has stated time and time again he wants to recruit a certain type of person to come to Northwestern. He is not looking to recruit someone or accept the commitment of someone who is unsure that Northwestern is the place for him. The commitment to him is a binding agreement even if it actually is not. Going back on that commitment is akin to rejecting the scholarship outright.

As many of you pointed out, Fitzgerald and Northwestern also like to get their classes completed early. And this hard and fast rule catches kids who might have been pressured into an early commitment who later discover that another school might be their best fit.

The bottom line is that Fitzgerald and Northwestern’s staff needs to continue to impress upon these recruits not to take the commitment step lightly. Once they commit, Northwestern will consider their recruiting closed and taking other visits or otherwise re-opening that recruiting will take NU out of the picture entirely. They need to weigh their options carefully.

That might be asking a lot out of an 18 year old. But Fitzgerald does not want to get strung along himself or get involved in too many “hat dances” where the kid is looking for attention and holding the program’s future in his hands. Inevitably, Northwestern will get involved in those late recruiting battles. That is a natural progression of increasing talent in this day and age of college football.

Ultimately, it appears Thomas handled his decommitment as a mature young man.

He was wavering on his decision (made probably a bit too early) and called Fitzgerald himself to inform him of his decision. This was not, it would appear, a player seeking greener pastures after a bad Northwestern season or at the call of a bigger program. The Wildcats are not recruiting players who are going to hold out for offers from bigger schools. Fitzgerald is good at sniffing those men out.

This is not that scenario at all. It is just unfortunate timing with the previous decommitment that it happened so soon.

Maybe it will cause a quick re-examination of Northwestern’s policies and recruiting tactics on this front.

In any case, best of luck to Jordan in Norman next year.

  • fidel305

    The truth is fitz never wouldve been in the running for these recruits without winning in 2012 and when he failed so miserably and publicly in 2013 they left.
    Win and your recruiting improves. It’s not complicated.
    There are, however, things that can be done to level out the peaks and valleys.
    First and foremost, tie up your base. Texas and California are fine, but make sure you get the pick of illinois and indiana recruits first. and, please tell me why Wilbon’s kid, a highly recruited rb, is now considering nebraska and northwestern is not on his radar? If you cant tie up these kids you cant recruit
    Second, whatever admissions policies stanford uses to get a richard sherman from compton, copy it.

    • cebpd

      because we already have tons of RB talent? Nebraska sucks dude did you watch any of last season?

    • Mark Wheaton

      Funny…………Richard Sherman…………yeah, let’s get some ass-clowns like that moron into NU. I hope you were joking…..

      • Reader

        Do you seriously think he is a moron? Spend some time reading about him.

        • Mark Wheaton

          Did he behave like a moron in the post-game interview? I have zero interest in reading about him, he acted like a fool. Be a professional, Richard.

    • Johnathan Wood

      They got the top RB, top QB, and top CB from Illinois this year. That’s a good start.

    • Wildcatty

      Idiot. It’s a different wilbon. What a moron.

    • gocatsgo2003

      1) Not Mike Wilbon’s kid.
      2) Doesn’t have the grades for NU.

  • NUBobby95

    The kid wanted a Petroleum Engineering Degree. You can’t compare Oklahoma an NU for that type if degree. Look how many OU grads are in that industry versus NU grads. Not even close. He made the right call if that’s what he wants to do. Still think we need to reapproach those Vandy commits. They would be doing the same to us if the situation were reversed.

    • gocatsgo2003

      There is no “reapproach.” Now that Bosnan has flipped to PSU, we hadn’t shown much interest at all in any Vandy commits aside from our renewed interest in Uter.

      • Dohsan

        To be fair, we won pretty much all head-to-head recruiting battles with Vandy this year. Last I checked, no current Vandy commit has an NU outstanding offer.

        I’m curious how that last scholarship spot will be filled. We can’t really recruit transfers, but now’s a good time for players we recruited in the past who may have decided that NU was the better choice after all to reach out to us.

        • gocatsgo2003

          I would guess that it is Kameron Uter or they just roll it over to next year.

  • Johnathan Wood

    Sad to see these kids leave, but sometimes they just have to do what’s best for them. Hopefully Northwestern can replace those spots with decent players.

    In terms of recruiting tactics, I like the way Northwestern does it. Don’t change.

  • JimGoCats93

    This is no fun and I cannot wait February 5th to come – it can’t come soon enough for me.
    But at the end of the day this is evidence of the program’s progress regardless of the 2012 record. We are swimming with the sharks now. Comes with the territory.
    I wouldn’t change a thing: recruiting-wise what we are doing is working.


  • HB

    Many high school athletes and their parents are not aware of NCAA football scholarship rules that place them at risk at many schools. In 1973 NCAA required all schools to only offer one year scholarships instead of the previous 4 years. Coaches were free not to renew scholarships and were not allowed to renew a scholarship in the following year if a student was medically unable to play. After a Dept. of Justice review, NCAA by a slim margin allowed schools to either continue to offer one year scholarships or elect to offer multi-year scholarships up to 5 years. A small number of schools like NU offered the maximum 5 year deal to recruits. This not only guarantees either a NU undergraduate or graduate degree but protects athletes injured during the offered period, i.e. 5 vs 1 year. NCAA limits new scholarships to 25 each year but allows coaches to oversign up to 28 so long as they pull the scholarships they have promised that are over the limit later on. If you do the math, 5 x 25 each year equals 125 total scholarships which is over the 85 maximum per team. This means lots of 1 year scholarships are not being renewed at schools with high paid coaches and rabid fans determined to win even if it means treating students unfairly. NU classes are small because Fitz needs to keep under the 85 limit with the expectation that his players will leave with NU degrees. Fitz should not change his recruiting process because his offer is fantastic compared to most schools.