Wootton has high hopes for Northwestern

Wootton has high hopes for Northwestern
September 11, 2013, 8:30 pm
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Vinnie Duber

The Northwestern Wildcats are 2-0, ranked No. 17 in the country, and that has people talking. Even former Wildcats.

Current Bears defensive lineman and former Northwestern star Corey Wootton was very impressed with his alma mater when asked about their hot start Tuesday while attending the Verizon STEM Program at George H. Corliss Early College STEM High School.

"I think the biggest thing is they started out great, 2-0," Wootton said. "I think the biggest thing is just continue the pace they've been going. Offensively, they've been great, so I think they can continue it and hopefully at some point get in the top 10 this season."

[MORE: Northwestern playing like a top-20 team as schedule eases]

Wootton played four years at Northwestern, earning All-Big Ten First Team honors in 2008. He was a member of Pat Fitzgerald's first four teams, including the first two teams Fitzgerald took to bowl games, before being selected by the Bears in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

Wootton was impressed with the offensive fireworks Northwestern has displayed in their first two wins and also with the team's depth after key injuries to running back Venric Mark and quarterback Kain Colter in the season-opener at Cal. Mark remained out for the team's second game against Syracuse.

[RELATED: Northwestern moves up in polls, Illini receive votes]

"I think coach Fitzgerald's done a great job as far as recruiting and getting enough guys in there, so if a starter goes down, it's kind of a next-guy-in philosophy. They've done a great job stepping in in the second game."

It's unknown whether Northwestern will live up to the expectations of Wootton and many others, but the next step comes against Western Michigan at 8 p.m. Saturday in Evanston.