On Monday night, Pat Fitzgerald–as he always does–watched the Chicago Blackhawks game. Tonight, his beloved team was losing. They were getting demolished, in fact, with no sign of hope.
Then he picked up the phone, and quickly smiled: One day after receiving an offer following his excellent performance at camp, Nathan Hall committed to Northwestern.
"You know: Coach Fitz is always fired up," Hall said.
So, in the most unlikely of circumstances, Coach Fitz finally had reason to be. The Sylvania (Ohio) prospect fills the need at outside linebacker, and marks another recruiting victory for this special class.
The staff didn't jump to this offer. They paused and evaluated Hall at this new position—one where they needed to fill a void. Hall, even with a recovering hamstring, stared down the new position and excelled.
"All of the drills were actually new to me," he said casually. "I've played safety and I'm used to some of the positions ... But the coaches thought I could run faster than most outside linebackers."
After camp, he didn't exactly know what was coming. He stalled around the facilities before being called up to Fitzgerald's office. The head coach offered another Hall.
The first was Jimmy, now a rising junior at NU. The two share the same versatile qualities, and will now be part of the same program. Yesterday marked a special moment.
"When I got the offer, [Jimmy] said: 'Congratulations, man. All of the hard work paid off,'" he said.
Reputation won the day for Northwestern. Hall refused to rush his thought process, but after waking up, he knew. He called his "loved ones," spoke to his parents again and dialed Fitzgerald just more than 24 hours later. With all of the family history, he understands the program's values.
"I've known Coach Fitz and the coaching staff since about the eighth grade," Hall said. "I knew I would be surrounded by good people and great academics."
Yesterday, Northwestern gave Nathan Hall something to cheer for. And tonight, he returned the favor.