Park Thrilled To Be Joined By Friends

Northwestern has landed three verbal commitments in one night. Who is the happiest Wildcat around? Pat Fitzgerald? Surely, he's excited, but someone else tops him. By far the happiest to hear the news is Northwestern's third commit, Ian Park, who saw a longtime friend and two new friends join him as Wildcats.

For Ian Park, it was just another Thursday evening. He was sitting down for dinner when he got a phone call. It was Adam DePietro.

When DePietro was in Pittsburgh to see the Panthers practice, he called up Park—someone who he had become friends with along the recruiting trail. The two went to dinner and Park—Northwestern's third verbal commit for the 2012 recruiting class—told DePietro all about why he picked NU. Apparently, what he said worked.

"He called me tonight around dinner time and he said, oh yeah, me and Eric Olson are going to commit, but don't tell anyone yet," said Park. "I was one of the first people to know so I was very excited."

Park was very excited to hear of DePietro's commitment, but equally excited to hear of Olson's commitment. Park first met Olson at a Northwestern football practice, and was told by NU offensive line coach Matt Cushing, "we got to get this guy to commit." It worked.

Northwestern is likely set for offensive linemen with Park, Olson, DePietro, and the Wildcats' second commit, Kenton Playko.

Needless to say, Park was thrilled to have two friends join him in the 2012 class, but as the old saying goes, the rich get richer.

Park sent Upper Saint Claire High School teammate Jack Schwaba—who also held an offer from NU—a text message saying Northwestern had added two commits. That's when Park received a great surprise.

"He texted me and told me, I'm a Northwestern Wildcat too," Park said. "It was ridiculous; it was really overwhelming and exciting."

Having Schwaba join the class was yet another exciting moment for Park, who now has one of his best friends joining him at Northwestern.

"It's going to be like high school," Park said. "I grew up with him and it's exciting. It'll be just like high school football."

Schwaba is a native of Chicago's north suburbs but moved to Pittsburgh at a young age. Still, the tight end remained a Chicagoan at heart.

With the three additions on Thursday, the Wildcats' 2012 recruiting class is up to 11 members—each one excited about the program's future.

Each of the three Thursday commits mentioned the excitement of potentially competing for Big Ten titles at Northwestern. With a strong recruiting class in place, Ian Park elatedly echoed their statements—Northwestern is set for big things.

"I think we got a great group of guys and we're going to continue to build and hopefully work toward that Big Ten championship and the Rose Bowl," Park said. "That's our goal."

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