Bergen Catholic – an all-male school in Oradell, N.J. – strongly emphasizes the "whole student." They value their successful football team, but understand the importance of life off the field.
In the cutthroat high school game, with the stereotypical top prospect rushing through coursework to attain top scholarships, Bergen Catholic is the rare exception.
It's also become the ideal pipeline for Northwestern football.
Last Wednesday, Purple Wildcats first reported that Cameron Queiro gave his verbal to become the third Bergen Catholic player since 2011 to join Northwestern. Cameron Dickerson, a potential breakout wide receiver, arrived first. Then, Kyle Queiro made the call, and successfully urged his brother to do the same.
Realistically, most parents would love for their children to attend this prestigious university. The Queiros took it to a humorous extreme. Kyle committed to NU in June 2012, and when he continued to receive interest from other schools, his father was unimpressed.
"If a letter comes, my dad throws it away before I can even see it," Kyle told PW in December.
Though it's possible that neither will see the field until 2014, the Queiros figure to form the Wildcats' defensive nucleus in future years. They played with each other for several years in high school—another benefit to the dual commitment. Overall, though, Kyle sold the entire package to his brother.
"It was the communication with the coaches, the program on the rise … it all sold me," Cameron Queiro told Brian Dohn of Scout immediately following his verbal.
On Tuesday, Dickerson outlined the makings of the Bergen Catholic-NU connection. He gave ample credit to Bob Heffner, the NU superbacks coach and New Jersey recruiting specialist. Heffner, who concentrates on the region, established the foundation. He and Pat Fitzgerald have excellent reputations in the area.
"It all starts with Coach Fitz and Coach Heffner," Dickerson said. "[Heffner] has built great relationships. And from Bergen Catholic, I started the pipeline."
The word "academics" naturally enters most Wildcats recruiting profiles. Here, several prospects truly value education, and take advantage of the balance unique to Northwestern.
Dickerson, who posted a 3.7 GPA at Bergen Catholic, said his high school experience pushed him to NU. He, along with the other recent commits, understood this as the perfect fit.
"We went to a high school where education was very important to us," Dickerson said. "Our grades were something important. It stems from that platform."
Now, it's Garrett Dickerson – Cameron's brother – left with the decision. The four-star tight end/defensive end said Cameron will "definitely" influence his final choice.
The ties grow even more interesting, as Garrett and Cameron Queiro are best friends. He holds offers from Michigan, Ohio State, and Florida State among others. If NU went four-for-four at Bergen Catholic, there would be reason for celebration.
And despite the obvious family connections, Cameron Dickerson suggested that the NU program simply matches the preferences of each individual.
"I think it's really the guys making the best decision for themselves," he said. "Northwestern just turns out to be the best decision for a lot of us."
Bergen Catholic football players are accustomed to winning. They reached the state final in 2012, earning an opportunity to play at MetLife Stadium.
Just as important as their winning pedigree, though, is the emphasis on well-rounded players. In this pipeline, Cameron Dickerson said it all makes sense.
"We play the highest level of football [in the Big Ten], but also get an awesome education.
"It attracts a lot of us, and it's obviously working."