Northwestern Picks Up Alviti: What it Means for the Wildcats

Kevin Trahan

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Although yesterday’s spring game didn’t end in a win or a loss for Northwestern football, the Wildcats scored off the field, picking up 4-star quarterback Matthew Alviti. reported that Alviti – from Maine South High School in Park Ridge, Ill. – committed to NU after the game, becoming the first commit in the 2013 class. Scout ranks him as the No. 11 quarterback in the country and he reportedly chose NU over Michigan State and Nebraska, after recently cutting Notre Dame from that list.

It’s hard to make a big fuss over recruits, as high star ratings aren’t always an indication of future success and low star ratings don’t doom players to mediocrity, either. But this is a big pickup for NU considering the streak of talent coach Pat Fitzgerald has started to bring in.

For a long time, NU has been viewed as a program that typically has to settle for less talent, and when the Cats go 8-4 or 9-3, they’ve overachieved. However, that is beginning to change.

NU also landed two 4-stars, according to Scout, in its 2012 class, pulling in Ifeadi Odenigbo, the No. 5 linebacker in the country, and Adam DePietro, the No. 10 guard in the country. The 2011 class ranked fifth in the Big Ten, edging out traditional powers Penn State (though the Nittany Lions were affected by a scandal) and Nebraska.

The sudden surge in recruiting is both a blessing and a challenge for Fitzgerald. The Cats will certainly have the talent to make noise in the Big Ten, meaning there is no excuse for mediocrity anymore.

With a rise in recruiting, expectations rise as well, and now NU can no longer claim to be the school that only gets the players nobody else wanted; it’s a legitimate program that can, and should, compete with the rest of the Big Ten.

Nobody knows how well Alviti will fare in college – whether he’ll live up to his 4-star potential. However, his commitment signals a shift in how NU is viewed in recruiting. The talent is coming, now the wins have to follow.

Twitter: @k_trahan