Suburban Chicago got a little taste of Kettering, Ohio, this weekend when three Archbishop Alter juniors took to Evanston, Ill., to check out Northwestern. Alter quarterback Malik Zaire, center Cody Collins and tight end/defensive end Greg Hart all visited Northwestern this past weekend for their game against Penn State.
None of the Alter junior prospects have a Northwestern offer yet, but all three have met coach Pat Fitzgerald and assistant Randy Bates as each visited Alter in the past. So the three returned the favor and traveled to Northwestern.
“It was real neat finally getting to see the facilities and them play was good,” Hart said. “We saw the weight room, the film room. It was a lot better than I thought it would be.”
The academics Northwestern offers was the most intriguing part of the visit, and the Wildcats coaches made sure to emphasize the power of a Northwestern degree.
“The coaches met with the recruits at the beginning to talk about what Northwestern offers and the first thing they touched on besides football was academics,” Zaire said. “You can’t hide in a 300-person filled classroom.
“They stressed an education and that’s important 40 years down the road in life because football doesn’t last forever but your education does.”
The atmosphere at the game left all three a little disappointed, as they have all been to games at places such as Ohio State and Notre Dame, and the Wildcats weren’t able to match that type of scene.
“It was pretty cool, but I mean after going to other games it didn’t seem all that big,” Collins said.
Of the three, Zaire is the only one with an offer as he has one from Cincinnati, Ohio State and Wisconsin.
Collins has been receiving mail from Boston College, Duke, Michigan State, Tennessee and Virginia. His two favorites at this point are Michigan State and Tennessee and hopes to get an offer from both. He visited Michigan State for its camp over the summer.
"I really liked the coaches there. The coach for our recruiting area [Harlon Barnett] is a pretty cool dude, and the facilities are cool, he said.”
He has yet to see Tennessee’s campus, but he plans to visit during the spring.
As for Hart, he said Iowa has been the school he’s heard from the most, but he also hears from Cincinnati and Wisconsin, too. Iowa assistant Rick Kaczenski sends Hart handwritten letters about once a week and the two have talked on the phone a number of times. The Iowa staff wants to see Hart’s junior film and get him to Iowa City for a game before the season ends.
His dream, however, is to play for an ACC school, specifically Miami (Fla.).
“I saw the [ESPN] 30 for 30 on Miami,” Hart joked. “And Malik hates on them because he likes Florida State, so it’s a friendly rivalry between me and him.
“They’re also a rebuilding program. Al Golden is a great guy and a great coach.”