Northwestern fans are worried. The Wildcats struggled last season without star quarterback Dan Persa. Nine days before the season-opener, Persa is still limping, and questions are being raised of his health. Persa’s teammate Jordan Mabin is not worried at all.
“I’m not concerned,” said Mabin of Dan Persa.
Mabin gets a pretty good look at Persa’s abilities. In practice, Mabin has to defend passes thrown by the nation’s most accurate passer in 2010.
Entering camp, Mabin was unsure of how Persa would look in his return to the field. The Wildcats are now 19 practices in and Mabin has been impressed by Persa’s performance.
"I didn’t know what to expect when I saw him out there the first couple practices,” Mabin said of Persa. “Around practice five or six, he started letting it fly.”
Mabin got his best look at Persa during a drill that matched the first-team offense against the first-team defense. Persa connected with his receiver, even with a defender bringing tight coverage.
“I was like, man that’s a good throw,” said Mabin. “The defender was right there but Dan zipped it in there.”
Last season, Persa completed 73.5 percent of his passes and threw for 2,581 passing yards and 15 touchdowns. He was named First-Team All-Big Ten by the conference media.
Persa has yet to take a snap this season, but Northwestern has already billed him as a Heisman contender and even invested money in the PersaStrong campaign, which included sending seven-pound dumbbells to media members and posting billboards in Chicago and Bristol, CT.
Expectations are high on Persa, who showed his high potential last season. Mabin believes NU’s quarterback is already at his 2010 form.
“I don’t know how his ankle is doing but I know his passing is right where he left off last season,” said Mabin. “Like I said, I’ve been impressed with him.”
So as Persa limps through practice, Mabin knows there is nothing to worry about.
“He said it’s feeling good," said Mabin. "I just know his passes are impressive."