“When we finished camp, they asked me to stay around for a while,” said Dan Vitale. “Coach Fitz wanted to talk to me. I went upstairs. They talked to me, offered me, and I told him this is my dream school and this is where I want to be. I committed right there.”
Vitale (6-2, 205) also held an offer from Central Michigan, and had picked up interest from Duke, Illinois, Indiana, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan, and others.
Committing on the spot to Northwestern was no spur-of-the-moment decision for Dan Vitale. Instead, it was a long time coming for the linebacker. NU was Vitale’s favorite all along, and he had hoped for an offer. After an impressive showing at Northwestern’s camp, Vitale got his wish, and became a Northwestern Wildcat.
“I had a great day at camp, they loved everything they saw,” Vitale said. “It turned out the way I hoped it would.”
For Vitale, the moment in Coach Fitzgerald’s office and the phone calls after were something he will not soon forget.
“It’s unbelievable, I told my parents (about the commitment), and you can’t make your parents any happier when you tell them you’re going to Northwestern,” Vitale said. “I called my grandparents and they were crying. It’s unreal.”
Another person who was equally excited about Vitale’s commitment was Pat Fitzgerald.
“He was excited. Once I told him right there that it was my dream school, he was really excited.”
As a junior, Vitale was a part of Wheaton Warrenville South’s second-consecutive Illinois 7A Championship. The program has produced multiple division-one prospects, and now Vitale will become another addition to that list.
Vitale is satisfied to have his commitment out of the way, so that he can focus on his senior season with the Tigers. Once that is complete, he knows the future is bright at Northwestern.
“It’s a huge relief going into my senior season and being able to focus on my high school season and finish up strong, and then to go into a football program that’s successful and play for a great guy as head coach. I’m really looking forward to it.”
As a junior, Vitale was a part of Wheaton Warrenville South’s Illinois State championship team, the program’s second-consecutive state championship. He carries a 5.38 weighted grade point average, and a 3.68 unweighted grade point average.
Now that Vitale knows he will be attending his dream school, he can carry on with preparations for his senior season. In the meantime, he’s looking forward to sharing this special moment with his family.
“I’m probably going to have some fun with my family and spend some family time,” he said. “It’s going to be a fun experience. I can’t wait for it.”