Walker to announce recruiting class of ’04 (Football brief)

Tania Ganguli

Three months ago C.J. Bacher had made up his mind.

The quarterback from Jesuit High School in Sacramento, Calif., was going to go to Oregon State.

He liked the school and the coach, and it was relatively close to home. So he committed in October.

But Bacher had a change of heart about two weeks ago when he visited Northwestern. The trip led him to revoke his commitment to the Beavers and announce he would become a member of the Wildcats.

“The season just ended and they’re already talking about next season,” Bacher said. “They seemed really pumped up about it.”

That enthusiasm along with NU’s academics opportunities, the football team’s offense and a chance to play in the Big Ten lured Bacher away from Corvallis, Oregon, to Evanston.

Bacher is one of 15 recruits NU head coach Randy Walker is expected to announce will sign with the Cats today. The National Signing Day announcement will take place at 6 p.m. at the Nicolet Center.

Bacher is the only quarterback in NU’s class and is ranked No. 14 on Rivals.com.

Unlike last year’s class, which was devoid of Illinois residents, this year’s class is projected to have six — offensive lineman Alex Rucks of Lincolnshire, safety Andre Butler from South Holland, tight ends Ryan Cibulka of Lake Park, Akeem Hunter of Chicago and Ben Rinker of Barrington and wideout Jeff Yarbrough from Richton Park.

Running back Brandon Roberson of Pearland, Texas, will join former high school teammate and current NU center Trevor Rees if he signs today.

Other running backs expected to sign are Gerard Hamlett from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Hunter.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Cats expect to sign Matt Clark from Orlando, Fla., tackle Kevin Mims from The Woodlands, Texas, linebacker Rajaie Johnson from LaMarque, Texas, and safety David Oredugba from Beverly Hills, Calif.

On offense the Cats also expect to sign receiver Ross Lane from Fort Myers, Fla., and offensive lineman Joel Belding from Lodi, Ohio.