Football: Northwestern nabs five-star receiver Kyle Prater

Colin Becht

On a day when the Northwestern men’s basketball team’s tournament hopes took another crushing blow with a loss to Purdue, the NU football team scored a major win, securing the transfer of five-star wide receiver Kyle Prater.

Prater, who was ranked third in his recruiting class, elected to transfer to NU from University of Southern California after two years with the Trojans.

“This is one of the best days in my life for me and my family,” Prater said in a statement. “I’m just happy to be back close to home, my family and my support group.”

Prater, who made his official visit to NU this weekend, made proximity to his home in Hillside, Ill. a top priority in his choice of a school and earlier said that NU, Illinois and Wisconsin were his top options.

“We’re extremely excited for Kyle to be able to come home to Chicago and join our Northwestern football family,” coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “Kyle’s decision to attend Northwestern made sense for everyone involved and we’re looking forward to him contributing to our program on and off the field.”

Prater redshirted his first season at USC and caught just one pass for six yards in 2011 while battling injuries. The 6-foot-5 wide receiver was a star for Proviso West High School, catching 64 passes for 1,151 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior and 60 passes for 948 yards and nine scores as a junior. His standout play earned him Parade and Super Prep All-American honors and a five-star recruit ranking from both Rivals and Scout.

With the addition of Prater, who will likely have to sit out the 2012 season in accordance with NCAA rules, the Wildcats will boast a remarkable core of wide receiver for the 2013. Christian Jones, Tony Jones, Venric Mark, Rashad Lawrence and Kain Colter – should he continue to play wide receiver as well as quarterback – will all be seniors in 2013 while Prater will be a junior.