Northwestern recruiting class filled with quality

Northwestern recruiting class filled with quality
February 6, 2014, 3:30 pm
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Northwestern Final National Team Recruiting Ranking: 69

Top ranked recruit: Wheaton North quarterback Clayton Thorson (6-foot-4, 197 pounds) is a four-star ranked recruiting and the 6th best dual-threat quarterback prospect in the nation, according to Thorson is also ranked as the 5th best player in Illinois, according to the final Class of 2014 Top 50 recruit rankings.

Top ranked local recruit: Besides Thorson, the Wildcats also inked Glenbard North four-star ranked running back Justin Jackson (5-foot-11, 180 pounds). He is the back-to-back Gatorade Player of the Year in Illinois.

[MORE: Northwestern's local haul boosts 'Chicago's Big Ten Team']

The one who got away: Northwestern was hit with a rash of decommits and four-star ranked athlete Dareian Watkins flipped to Wisconsin. The Wildcats also lost two players to California in defensive end Noah Westerfield and linebacker Hamilton Anoa'i.

Sleeper of the Class: Defensive end Xavier Washington isn't a combine warrior type. He is a highly active and productive player who could surprise.

[ALSO: Northwestern National Signing Day coverage]

Local breakdown: While the overall team rankings are low, you would be hard pressed to remember the Wildcats landing a better in-state class. Thorson is a big and strong thrower who also has very solid athletic skills. He also played receiver for the Falcons. Jackson was easily one of the most dynamic and toughest runners in the state. Bolingbrook defensive back Parrker Westphal has cornerback cover skills in a safety frame. Jacksonville offensive linemen Blake Hance was a multi-sport athlete who played tight end for the Crimsons. He has the frame to add serious weight and strength. Also, Joliet Catholic offensive center JB Butler was added as a preferred walk-on and he has a chance to earn an eventual offer from the Wildcats.

EDGY's Thoughts: This might be one of the best local classes in the Pat Fitzgerald era. While the Cats didn't have a class filled with quantity, they certain filled it up with quality. Almost every in state recruit that Northwestern signed is highly athletic, and all four could become a part of the Wildcats taking another few steps forward as a program.