Wildcats add Louisiana QB to 2011 class

A day after missing out on Illinois' top prep quarterback, Northwestern was rewarded with a commitment from one of Louisiana's best.

Baton Rouge Catholic senior Zack Oliver has committed to the Wildcats, his high school coach Dale Weiner confirmed on Tuesday, helping make up for Northwestern's loss of Wheaton Warrenville South senior quarterback Reilly O'Toole to Illinois on Monday.

Oliver, who is 6-4 and 220 pounds, is considered the 29th best Class of 2011 quarterback by ESPN Scouts, Inc. He led Baton Rouge Catholic to the 5A state semifinals as a junior. He had a 60.4 completion percentage and threw for 2,579 yards, 32 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also rushed for five touchdowns.

Weiner has had his share of college quarterbacks, including former Texas starter Major Applewhite, in his 24 years at Baton Rouge Catholic, but he believes Oliver has the potential to top them all.

"He's the best passer we've had since I've been here," Weiner said. "I think he's going to be sensational. He's very smart. He sees the defense. He reads really well. He goes through his progressions. Some of the kids do that naturally well. Some just have it, and others don't. He just has it.

"Major [Applewhite], of course, is one of the rare guys, mentally. Zack is cut out of the same mold. I would never compare the two of them. Zack is much bigger and has a stronger arm. Major is one of my all-time favorite players. He just willed the team down the field. I put Zack up there at a very high caliber."

Northwestern now has seven commitments in its 2011 recruiting class.

Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at spowers@espnchicago.com.