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December 2, 2012
Commitment wraps wild week for Fuessel
Tommy Fuessel.It's been quite a week for new Northwestern commitment
Just consider how the seven days between Saturday, November 24, and Saturday, December 1, unfolded for the 6-foot-3, 180-pound athlete from Frankfort (Ill.) Lincoln-Way East.
He and the Griffins lost a 10-8 heartbreaker to Glenbard West in the Illinois Class 7A championship game on Saturday.
On Tuesday, he decommitted from Northern Illinois, the school he had pledged in June.
By Thursday, he had an offer for Northwestern, a school he had never heard from before during the recruiting process.
On Friday, he took an official visit to Evanston to check out Northwestern.
On Saturday morning, right before a Wildcat practice, he committed to head coach Pat Fitzgerald to become the 19th member of NU's Class of 2013.
"It all happened real fast," said Fuessel (pronounced FEE-zull), in quite an understatement.
Still, he says the decision to become a Wildcat wasn't too difficult.
"I had three days to visit this weekend, and look around and talked to the coaches," he said. "It's a great academic opportunity, a great football team and a great place to be."
Now the question has moved from which school he will play for to which position he will play.
Fuessel was a quarterback at Lincoln-Way East, where he threw for 1,121 yards and ran for 1,519 yards and 21 touchdowns in leading the Griffins to a 13-2. QB is not on the table, however, as he notes that "they have a great player, Matt Alviti, coming in."
So Northwestern coaches have talked to him about playing either wide receiver or safety.
"I'll be happy playing either way," said Fuessel, who posted a 4.46 40-yard dash and a 37-inch vertical leap at an ESPN Combine over the summer. "I haven't played defense since eighth grade, but I liked it a lot."
If Fuessel can anticipate moves on the field as well as he does coaching moves off of it, he will be excel at just about any position. He says that he decided to decommit because he sensed that Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren wasn't likely to stick around DeKalb for very much longer.
"I had a feeling Coach Doeren was going to be leaving," he said. "I really wanted to play for him, but I wanted to open up my options, just like he was opening his."
Fuessel proved to be prescient. Fresh off of a 12-1 season that culminated in the MAC Championship, Doeren accepted the NC State job yesterday, meaning he wouldn't have coached Fuessel for one practice, let alone four or five years.
Once he decommitted, recruiter Adam Cushing contacted the Fuessels and Lincoln-Way coach Rob Zvonar, and the rest is history.
The irony is that it was the first time anyone associated with the NU program had contacted him.
"I think it was my senior tape and everything that interested them," he said.
Fuessel jumped at the opportunity to play Big Ten football and get an elite education. And he's confident that next week will be considerably quieter than this one.
"I haven't really had a chance to relax yet," he said.
Now, he will.