The academic year may have just started for Northwestern students, but freshmen on the Wildcat football team have been back in Evanston for well over a month. Several freshmen have stood out so far in the team’s three played games, and a number of others will likely make an impact down the road. The Wildcats currently sit at 2-1 with a bye week coming up before their Oct. 1 game at Illinois. Here’s a primer to some of Northwestern’s newest student-athletes:
Christian Jones: The 6′3″, 200 pound wide receiver has shown a lot of potential in his limited action so far. Against Boston College, he caught two passes for 39 yards, including a crucial 27-yard grab on Northwestern’s final scoring drive. At Army, Jones caught one pass for 19 yards. In the small amount of playing time Jones has seen, he has shown a nice mix of speed and size. Jones has the tools to become one of the Big Ten’s best receivers once he matures and fully adapts to the college game.
Treyvon Green: With running backs Mike Trumpy and Adonis Smith already dealing with injuries, Green has seen more action than he probably expected three games into the season. Green had a productive game against Eastern Illinois, rushing for 70 yards on 14 carries. However, in the loss to Army, Green only carried the ball once for one yard. With Trumpy healthy again, Green’s carries will likely continue to hover around zero for now, but expect him to make an impact down the road this season and beyond.
Nick Vanhoose: Although Vanhoose has seen limited on-field action, the two-time second-team All-Ohio star should be a fixture for the Wildcats’ defensive backfield in the near future. At 6′0”, 185 pounds, Vanhoose actually played running back in high school and rushed for 187.7 rushing yards per game as a junior. He originally committed to Indiana, but the firing of Hoosier coach Bill Lynch in November caused Vanhoose to reconsider his options and eventually chose NU.
C.J. Robbins: Like Vanhoose, Robbins backed off a commitment to Indiana after Lynch’s firing and chose Northwestern. At LaSalle-Peru High School last fall, the defensive lineman was listed at 6′5”, 240 pounds. In the offseason, Robbins bulked up to 275 pounds. C.J. Robbins 2.0 will be able to help a Northwestern front line that struggled at times to penetrate the line against Army, and should eventually help out the pass rush late in the Big Ten season.
Deonte Gibson: Last January, the Chicago Tribune labeled Gibson as perhaps the top defensive player in NU’s recruiting class. NU grabbed Gibson after Dave Wannstedt’s December resignation at Pittsburgh. Louis Vaccher of WildcatReport.com told the Tribune “[Gibson] was a monster playing against very good competition with a big burst of the ball” in high school. Gibson’s athleticism will be able to help the defensive front match up against the talented offensive lines in the Big Ten.
Zach Oliver: The 6′4”, 220 pound quarterback was called Northwestern’s quarterback in waiting by Tom Lemming of CBS Sports. Oliver was a highly-touted recruit for both his passing and rushing ability, much like another NU quarterback named Dan Persa five years ago. Oliver probably won’t see any action this year, but once Dan Persa graduates he will surely be in the running to start in 2012.