Northwestern has thrived in two aspects under head coach Pat Fitzgerald: a strong, defensive structure and overall, an academically sound program.
The Wildcats may not have landed another piece to the defensive stable on Wednesday, but a post-football career is something that played a factor for 2017 running back/wide receiver Kyric McGowan verbally committing to the Wildcats.
“What stood out the most to me was how they have such a great balance of great academics and a great football program,” McGowan told Today’s U.
Reverting back to Fitzgerald, who’s scraped up a 70-56 clip in 10 seasons with Northwestern, McGowan also took kindly to the stability of the head coach and his staff.
“They also have a really solid coaching staff that has experience,” he added.
The 5-foot-1o, 183-pound athlete out of Dalton, Ga. (Dalton) took an unofficial visit to Evanston three days prior to offering up a pledge to Northwestern.
“It left an exciting impression on me,” McGowan said. “To be apart of something that special for my college career I can’t wait to go back again. Also getting to hangout with the other 2017 commits was a big plus because I loved that group of guys and I could see myself being around them everyday.
“There was no specific reason for the time. I actually called coach Fitz and committed [the day before] but didn’t announce until [Wednesday]. I was going to wait until later this week but I felt 100% already so I was like, ‘why wait?'”
McGowan is a mainstay for Dalton and brings new meaning to the role as a ‘do-it-all’ player. He’s a quick-hitter out of the backfield, can line up virtually anywhere on the outside at with precise route-running as a wideout, and even plays cornerback for his high school team.
Northwestern has recruited McGowan as a wide receiver, a position that he feels is a perfect match for his collegiate career.
“I feel as if I fit in perfect with Coach Fitz scheme,” McGowan said. “On the visit he showed me multiple ways they could get me the ball in open space to make a big play.”
As large a feat as it as for McGowan, who has a commit locked up prior to stepping foot onto the field as a senior, there are still a few things that he’s willing to improve on. Oddly enough, it’s something outside of his physical skill set.
“I think my biggest adjustment will be getting use to the colder weather up there,” McGowan said. “Being from the south when winter rolls around I hate cold weather but I think it will actually help me in the long run. If I make it to the NFL I will be adapted to playing in cold weather and also warm.”
The achievement of making it to the NFL looms far down the road for the Georgia product. For now, he’s another prized piece in a deep pool of prospects for the 2017 class and the third wide receiver to pledge to the Wildcats, joining Jace James (Glenbard North, Ill.) and Berkeley Holman (St. John Bosco, Ca.).
Thanks to McGowan’s verbal, Northwestern sits in the Top 25 (No. 24) in the latest 247Sports rankings for the 2017 class.