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Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald sticking to commitment policy

By Teddy Greenstein Chicago Tribune (MCT) • Updated Jul 29, 2014 at 9:39 PM

Pat Fitzgerald is not about to alter his policy that might have led to the decommitments of two four-star players.

Scout.com first reported that running back Andrew Dowell and defensive back David Dowell, the twins from Ohio who pledged to Northwestern in April, changed their minds and could be headed to Vanderbilt.

Northwestern officials knew for weeks that the two were wavering, but Fitzgerald apparently made it clear that if they visited other schools, their scholarship offers would be pulled.

Speaking in general terms because he cannot comment on recruits, Fitzgerald said Tuesday: “If we make a commitment, we’re engaged. If you want to date somebody else, we’re no longer engaged and there is no more getting married. Like it or not, that is how we will do business.”

David Dowell, who told the Tribune in April that he committed in part because the Northwestern football program “felt like a genuine family,” did not reply to a text message seeking comment.

After losing the talented pair, Northwestern’s recruiting class of 16 players dropped from 20th to 29th in the 247sports.com composite rankings.

Fitzgerald said he makes his policy “crystal clear” to parents, coaches and family members: “If you want to be a Wildcat, I only want you if you’re 100 percent sure. I don’t just tell it to the kids on a ‘DM’ (direct message) on Twitter. I look at them eye to eye. … I don’t want to coach guys who don’t want to be at Northwestern. Our staff and, most importantly, our players want guys who want to be part of our culture.”


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