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Northwestern redshirt senior FB James Prather (arm) is an unknown quantity for the team's opener against Purdue on Aug. 30.

Prather (6'4/325) looks like he may have to hit the nitro button on his rehabilitation if he's going to be joining his brothers in Week 1. Should he be forced to sit out that contest, it's not going to take much away from the offense -- he had just one carry a year ago -- though his blocking figures to be missed.
Source: Inside NU
Aug 15 - 4:13 PM

Northwestern redshirt senior QB Clayton Thorson (knee) was an active participant in Tuesday's practice.

Thorson (6'4/220) is still being moved along with caution by Wildcats HC Pat Fitzgerald and staff, but we're beginning to see clear signs that the team is at least attempting to get him in fighting shape for their opener against Purdue on Aug. 30. According to Inside NU's team on-site in Evanston on Tuesday, Thorson "looked comfortable in the pocket," worked the read-option and put in a few scrambles during his drillwork. We'll continue to monitor this situation closely as camp progresses toward its end game. Should Thorson be unable to take the field versus the Boilermakers, the task would fall to one of TJ Green, Aidan Smith or Andrew Marty.
Source: Inside NU
Aug 14 - 3:57 PM

The Athletic's Brian Hamilton writes that Northwestern junior WR Bennett Skowronek as a potential breakout candidate for 2018.

Skowronek was the leading receiver for the Wildcats with 644 yards receiving and five scores, so it won't come out of the blue if he again is among the best receivers on Northwestern. The talent is there for more, however, as the 6-foot-4 wideout gives Clayton Thorson -- or TJ Green if Thorson isn't ready -- a large target who can get downfield as well. The Wildcats will need a top option if they're going to compete in the Big Ten. Skowronek could -- maybe should -- be that player.
Jul 30 - 4:54 PM

Northwestern HC Pat Fitzgerald said that he hopes to know redshirt senior QB Clayton Thorson's medical availability for the season-opener by mid-August.

Thorson is still mending up from a torn right ACL sustained on a trick play in the Music City Bowl against Kentucky over the winter. While the quarterback himself has repeatedly expressed strong optimism toward being ready to rock vs. Purdue on Aug. 30, he still has some rehabilitation hoops he has to jump through before doctors will grant him clearance for that contest. If Thorson can't give it a go, we'll be looking at TJ Green, Aidan Smith or Andrew Marty for that opener. Stay tuned.
Jul 24 - 2:34 PM

Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline writes that Northwestern senior CB Montre Hartage is a "nice-sized cornerback with next level ball skills."

"He’s a solid athlete with good instincts who is very effective facing the action," notes Pauline, whose outlet currently assigns the 6-foot, 195-pound Hartage with a sixth-round grade for next spring's draft. He's started 26 consecutive games for the Wildcats and logged 57 tackles, a pair of interceptions and a forced fumble during the most recent campaign.
Jul 19 - 3:54 PM

Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline write that Northwestern redshirt senior LB Nate Hall "comes with outstanding measurables and makes plays in every direction of the field."

"[Hall]’s a fast defender with ability in pursuit. Like [QB teammate Clayton] Thorson, the opportunity for a big move up draft boards is available to Hall if he has a knockout senior season," Pauline writes. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound redshirt senior is currently graded as a sixth-round prospect on the analyst's outlet. He did not participate in spring practice, as he sustained a knee injury which required surgery in the leadup to the Music City Bowl against Kentucky this past winter and has been rehabbing from that procedure throughout the offseason. Wildcats HC Pat Fitzgerald figures to offer an update on Hall's recovery when Big Ten media sessions boot up on Monday. He's an integral part of the defensive attack, having registered 81 tackles (17.0 for loss), five sacks and a pair of interceptions for the past campaign.
Jul 19 - 2:45 PM

While Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline is intrigued by the arm and size of Northwestern redshirt senior QB Clayton Thorson, he referred to his accuracy as "erratic."

"He can be all over the place with throws and has receivers needlessly leaving their feet or adjusting backwards to grab passes," Pauline writes while explaining that Thorson's accuracy issues -- the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder completed 60.4% of his passes last season -- are what currently have him held down with a fifth-round grade on the Draft Analyst board. Beyond the technical aspects of his pro projection, Thorson is also making his way back from a serious knee injury sustained in Music City Bowl action against Kentucky over the winter, tearing his right ACL while catching a pass on a trick play. The redshirt senior said earlier this summer that he's aiming to be healthy enough to play in the team's opener against Purdue on Aug. 30, though it's far from a guarantee that he'll be cleared by that juncture. Wildcats HC Pat Fitzgerald will put TJ Green, Aidan Smith and Andrew Marty through the paces in camp to see who might be best suited to take on the starting mantle if needed.
Jul 18 - 4:54 PM

Northwestern redshirt senior QB Clayton Thorson (knee) said that he's doing "everything in [his] power" to play in the team's season-opening showdown with Purdue on Aug. 30.

Thorson (6'4/220) tore his right ACL while catching a pass on a trick play in December's Music City Bowl win over Kentucky. He subsequently underwent surgery to repair the serious knee injury, with the renowned Dr. James Andrews performing that procedure. The redshirt senior was more or less kept on the sidelines during spring practice drills as he continued his rehab. We should have a much better idea of just how realistic it will be for Thorson to start that opener against Purdue once August camp starts up. While the team has predictably been relatively mum on Thorson's status, one anecdotal sign of his recovery -- he was married on June 16 and reported back that he was "[j]umping around, moving around, no pain." Should Thorson be held out to open the season, the Wildcats would likely turn to one of TJ Green, Aidan Smith and Andrew Marty in his stead. There's very little experience in that group.
Jul 4 - 11:30 AM

Northwestern announced future home-and-home series with Tulane and Rice.

The Wildcats will play host to the Green Wave on Sept. 12, 2020, with Tulane in turn set to host a few years after that, on Aug. 30, 2025. Tulane is 3-1 all-time in matchups with Northwestern, though the two programs have not squared off since 1956. As for the scheduled games against Rice, you'll have to wait a while. The first of those newly announced contests will not be played until Sept. 8, 2029, the second not until Sept. 6, 2031. The two programs do have an earlier series set for the 2024 and 2025 seasons.
Source: Inside NU
Jun 20 - 4:48 PM

Northwestern hired former Arkansas offensive line coach Kurt Anderson as a quality control analyst.

Anderson, a Chicago native, lost his gig with the Hogs when Bret Bielema's head hit the floor. For the Wildcats, Anderson will help out longtime Wildcats offensive line coach Adam Cushing.
Jun 13 - 6:48 PM

Northwestern redshirt sophomore LB Paddy Fisher recorded the highest run-stop percentage among all FBS linebackers with 15.8 percent.

Fisher also led the Wildcats and all FBS first-year players in tackles with 113. The former three-star recruit is making a name for himself in the Big Ten and was named second-team All-Big Ten by the media and third team by coaches. Fisher will spearhead the Wildcats defensive efforts in 2018 after allowing the 19th-fewest points-per-game allowed in the FBS last season with 20.
Jun 12 - 12:00 PM

Sophomore QB Hunter Johnson is transferring from Clemson to Northwestern.

What a huge get this is for the Wildcats. Johnson announced in May that he would transfer from the Tigers, and had interest from a smorgasbord of big-time schools. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound signal-caller will have to sit out the 2018 season, but he'll have two years of eligibility left after. He was considered one of -- if not the -- top quarterback prospects in the 2017 class, and when given a chance to play this fall he performed well; completing 21-of-27 passes for 234 yards with a couple of touchdowns. Johnson should be considered the heavy favorite to start for Northwestern in 2019, and his upside is palpable. Get excited, Wildcat fans.
Jun 11 - 3:33 PM

Northwestern received a verbal commitment from three-star 2019 WR Bryce Kirtz.

Kirtz may not be a four-or-five star prospect according to recruiting analysts, but he sure has some impressive offers; including Notre Dame, Iowa, Michigan State and Kentucky. He has 25 receiving touchdowns over the last two years, with 14 of them coming during his junior season. Reports indicate he's a playmaker with the ball in his hands, and he could compete for playing time early for Northwestern at both wideout and on special teams.
Jun 3 - 1:00 PM

247Sports' Chris Hummer reports that transferring Clemson sophomore QB Hunter Johnson has been granted a full release from his scholarship, meaning that he can transfer to any program he chooses.

This includes programs in the ACC and programs on Clemson's future schedule. We don't see such freedom of movement generally afforded -- especially to an underclassman -- making this something of a nice parting gift from Tigers HC Dabo Swinney. Johnson (6'3/200) could, of course, weaponize that freedom against Clemson easily enough. In that vain, Hummer is additionally reporting that Duke has "entered the picture" as a candidate to land the former five-star recruit. 247Sports earlier tabbed Northwestern and Purdue as programs to watch in this particular transfer hunt. Johnson will have to sit out the 2018 season to satisfy NCAA transfer regulations, but will have three years eligibility remaining with his home-to-be beginning in 2019.
Source: 247Sports
May 29 - 2:05 PM

Northwestern received a verbal commitment from three-star 2019 DL Duke Olges.

Olges had offers from several big-name schools on top of Northwestern, including Wisconsin, Iowa, Ole Miss and Michigan State. He's considered a two-way prospect that could also play tight end, but he's ranked highest as a defensive end. He ranks 44th among the position in 247 Sports composite rankings, and eighth among prospects rom the state of Illinois.
Source: 247 Sports
May 25 - 6:09 PM


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