“Well my family is originally from Chicago and my grandparents live up there,” he said. “I would go up there when I was younger a lot, so I’m familiar with the area.”
Bland, a Portland, Oregon product, will become even more familiar with the Windy City this fall, choosing to walk-on at Northwestern after receiving interest from Holy Cross and a few Ivy League schools.
“They gave me a walk-on spot, which is fine because they treat everyone the same,” he said. “I decided it was the best decision to walk-on.”
Bland has been set on Northwestern since last summer, when he took his first visit to the school.
“I pretty much decided when I went there for a summer camp when I was a junior, turning into a senior, that was the place for me,” he said. “When I went there I worked with the receiver coaches and I saw Coach Fitzgerald.
“I really wanted to go there and play for Northwestern. I was a little late to the recruiting process because I broke my leg as a junior,” he added. “I definitely thought worth the distance and going back to Midwest.”
Bland visited Evanston again in January and discussed his role as a walk-on with the coaches.
“I saw the coaches one more time, saw the facilities, and they talked to us about what I walk-on his. They talked about how they can earn scholarships,” he said.
Bland plans on heading to Evanston in late July or early August for football and then starting school in September. He also hopes that eventually he will receive a scholarship from Coach Fitzgerald
“[Coach Fitzgerald] never specifically told me I was going to get one, but it’s always an option,” he said. “My goal is work hard and do everything that is necessary in order to earn that scholarship.
Bland isn’t overly concerned whether he is a scholarship player or a walk-on, because one of the things that attracted him to Northwestern is that both types of players are treated equally. He is just excited to get on campus and start working on getting better.
“I hope I can make a positive impact on the team as fast as I can by working hard, and that’s what I like to do,” he said.