Following the second of two spring practices open to the media, Northwestern football head coach Pat Fitzgerald met with the media and spoke about the progression of young players, Anthony Walker’s development into one of the nation’s best linebackers, the running back competition behind Justin Jackson and the NCAA’s recent ban of satellite camps, among other topics.
Fitzgerald referred to the ban as a “knee-jerk reaction” and expressed concerned that high school prospects pursuing full-ride scholarships at Group of 5 schools (AAC, Conf-USA, MAC, Sun Belt, MWC) would not receive enough exposure.
“We started that (Chicagoland Showcase Camps) to try to help the Chicagoland kids, especially those without financial means, to where they didn’t have to try to go to Bowling Green, Miami of Ohio, Kent, Akron. They couldn’t go to all those camps,” Fitzgerald said. “But if we brought all those schools here, then those kids can come to one spot and get evaluated by all those schools. And now because of this ban, that goes away.”
“Part of what I think our job is as college coaches is providing opportunity maybe to those that don’t have the financial means,” Fitzgerald added. “I’m disappointed that it’s gone this way.”
When addressing Northwestern’s spring development, Fitzgerald had some particularly high praise for Walker, who earned All-America Second Team honors from Sports Illustrated last season.
“I think he’s got a chance to be the best we’ve ever had,” Fitzgerald said. “I think he’s a complete linebacker. I think he’s got the skillset to do everything. I think he’s great against the run, I think he’s got a great understanding of pass concepts, I think he’s terrific rushing the passer, and I think the glue that keeps it all together is he’s an outstanding teammate and a great, great leader.”
You can listen to the full audio from Fitzgerald here or use the player below.