- Scott Powers, Reporter
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Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald hates recruiting ratings as much as any coach in the country.
Fitzgerald makes a point of saying that every year on Signing Day. He’s bound to do it again on Wednesday.
Despite his despise for the rating system, the Wildcats’ recruits have been garnering favorable reviews among talent evaluators in recent years. Northwestern’s 2013 class could be its best yet.
“I think you can definitely see Northwestern recruiting classes are getting a little better as they’re getting better on the field,” ESPN Midwest recruiting coordinator Jared Shanker said.
“He seems to fit what Northwestern wants from its quarterback,” Shanker said. “He’s similar to (former Northwestern quarterback) Dan Persa, who can beat you both ways.”
Igwebuike, who is 6-foot and 190 pounds, was another highly-touted recruit for the Wildcats. He picked Northwestern over offers from most of the Big Ten. He’s ranked the 55th-best athlete and is expected to play on the defensive side at Northwestern.
"Michigan tried to jump on him late,” Shanker said. “He stuck strong with Northwestern. He just felt like that was the best place for him.”
O-line star: Northwestern has produced a number of quality offensive linemen in recent years, and Plainfield East’s Tyler Lancaster could be another one.
Lancaster, who is 6-foot-4 and 269 pounds, is ranked the No. 10 center in the nation.
“Centers gets lost in the shuffle sometimes,” Shanker said. “He’s one of the best centers in the country. He was invited to The Opening (a national invitational camp), and he really held his own there.”
“They’re both pretty good players,” Shanker said. “I think the defensive back class is shaping pretty nicely for them.”
Nationwide recruiting: As always, Fitzgerald recruited throughout the country. He has five recruits from Illinois, five from Ohio, three from Texas, three from California, one from Florida, one from New Jersey and one from Pennsylvania.
Northwestern's recruiting classes have been on the rise recently.