Monday Quick Hits & 2014 Recruiting Mojo
Northwestern football’s 2014 recruiting efforts are in full out blitz mode right now. The ‘Cats hosted several highly ranked targets over the weekend while news of upcoming visits from elite level players continues to roll in. As reported by WildcatReport’s Louie Vaccher, 4-star CB Parrker Westphal was one such prospect to visit Evanston this past weekend. Vaccher noted Northwestern’s approach of hosting a few players as opposed to what many other schools do (hosting 20+ on a weekend) seemed to do the job as Westphal noted the personal nature of the weekend left him with a lot of positives and he rated the experience an “8.5” out of 10.
Tommy Doles, a 6-5 240 pound tackle(Grand Rapids (Christian), Michigan), picked up a scholarship offer on Saturday from Fitz and walked away extremely impressed from the Wildcat program. Doles, according to Vaccher, likely has Michigan in the lead for his services at this time. The junior holds a 3.91 GPA and not surprisingly is very much focused on academics as part of his collegiate experience.
Highly touted TE Nick Weishar (Marist HS) was also in Evanston this weekend as the 6-5 225-pounder begins his rounds which include Michigan and Notre Dame in coming weekends. This upcoming weekend, WildcatReport.com has noted 4-star RB Justin Jackson and “athlete” Dariean Watkins will be spending time in Evanston.
Offers have been reported to WR Braxton Berrios of Leesville Road HS (NC), and WildcatReport also mentioned safety John Bonney of Houston, Texas as one of its top 2014 targets. Finally, WR reported that tackle, Quenton Nelson, a Rivals100 recruit, will be making a visit to Northwestern sometime this spring.
In case you couldn’t tell, there is a theme with the above. The highly rated 2014 players are making treks to Evanston as part of their tours. Our name is in the mix with many of the major programs at this point in time and you can almost feel the momentum churning based on our 10-win season. It should be fascinating to see the level of commitments we’ll be getting this spring and summer as Northwestern may very well be in position to crack the top 40 in recruiting classes, continuing the increase in quality in talent committing to Fitz & co. that has occurred each of the past five seasons.
NU Ticket Campaign
Get your sales tactics ready. We’ll be launching the 2013 NEW season ticket drive starting tomorrow, and the good news is we’re already well on our way. We will also be introducing some minor upgrades to the site starting tomorrow, and we’ll continue to roll out new features in the coming weeks. Last week, we addressed the bundling technique to recruit new fans and several of you have responded with success stories of using this strategy. That is, purchasing a pair of extra season tickets for friends to sample the product and then converting them to buy, knowing they’ll be in your section. Or, if you want them to buy and be assured they are in your section, I highly recommend getting on the phone with your NU ticket agent and walking them through what you’re doing to see if they can accomplish this for you. Our goal, once again this year is 200 NEW season tickets (renewals don’t count). I’ve got to go back and check the archives, but I believe if we do so this year, we’ll cross the 1,000 NEW season ticket mark in LTP history. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with news of your sales and we’ll give you a shout out!
2013 Opponent Alert – Cal Finalizes Deal with Sonny Dykes – 5-year, $9.7 Million
The ‘Cats 2013 season opening opponent is Cal. In what is still one of the less publicized firings I can remember, Jeff Tedford, who boasted an 82-57 career record, was fired after going 3-9 last season. Now, the 43-year-old Sonny Dykes steps in (hired on December 5, 2012) after going 22-15 at Louisiana Tech and this weekend his five year, $9.7 million contract was announced via ESPN.com. Dykes will make a base of $250K that is loaded with all kinds of goodies that gets him to about $1.8 million per year, plus a whole host of bonus options which you can read about here. For comparison sake, Teddy Greenstein has reported in the past that Pat Fitzgerald’s contract is in that same ballpark.
Northwestern lost yesterday on senior day, dropping a 62-45 decision at home to Iowa and left Coach Joe McKeown’s program with a 13-16,5-11 mark. This class marks the first graduating seniors in the Coach McKeown era, as Dannielle Diament, Kendall Hackney, Kate Popovec and Inesha Hale all said goodbye to Welsh-Ryan Arena in their final home game of their careers. McKeown, viewed as somewhat of a coup when he was lured by Jim Phillips to Northwestern from perennial NCAA Tourney entrant George Washington, has failed to get the program to the level that most of us thought he’d be at by year four. While the women’s program unfortunately doesn’t get nearly the attention the men’s program does, you’ve got to believe that next year is a critical one for Coach McKeown and the ‘Cats program. I still believe the NU women’s program is one that should be thriving based on the base of power in the Chicagoland suburbs alone. Perhaps I’m still influenced by my time at school when NU was competing in the NCAA Tournament under Don Perelli and had created some buzz on campus with their high level of play in the Maureen Holohan era.
The ‘Cats, thanks to Amy Letourneau, blanked Cal State Bakersfield 5-0 this weekend to edge their record to 10-9 on the season. Letourneau pitched her third career shutout as Olivia Duehr blasted a 3-run homer in the win. The ‘Cats head to Clearwater, Florida this weekend for the Under Armour Showcase.
Congratulations to NU freshman swimmer, Jordan Wilimovsky, who set the scbool record this past Saturday (B1G Championships) in the 1650 m freestyle with a 15:03:07 time shattering the nine-year old record. Wilimovsky, however, finished eighth overall at the B1G Championships in the event.
LTP N Flag Project
Yes, the N Flag Project is alive and well. This one will put you in a great mood. Laura Retson (’08) and her father Nick Retson (CAS 1971, MS 1975) were in Jinotega, Nicaragua, bringing the purple flag on another medical mission. Their plastic surgery team, lead by Nick, performed 56 operations last week on mostly cleft and cleft palate patients. The photo below is with one of their cleft lip patients (after surgery) and his mother, who even wore purple for the occasion. Bravo Nick and Laura!