At age 3, Fred Wyatt worked at Northwestern football summer camps.
His father Buddy was the defensive line coach at NU from 1997-98. To help out, Fred would chase the young graduate assistant up the stairs and help him deliver pizza to the players. Wyatt even called him “pizza man.”
Fifteen years later, Wyatt, now attending Free State HS in Lawrence, Kan., committed to play defensive tackle at Northwestern. “The connection goes way back,” he said.
Every time she sees Pat Fitzgerald, Wyatt’s mom thinks about that connection and just laughs: The pizza man is now her son’s head coach.
Wyatt even woke up to Chicago weather, with more than six inches of snowfall in Lawrence. Because school was cancelled, he faxed his letter of intent from home and made his commitment to NU official.
“I’m looking forward to getting it over with,” Wyatt told PurpleWildcats.com. “It’s been a long road, eight months or something like that since I committed. I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time and now it’s finally here.”
The wait felt extra painful for Wyatt, who tore his ACL in June and missed his senior season. Still, his high school coach nicknamed him “Coach Wyatt” for his focus on helping teammates.
“You have to be able to play every play like it’s your last,” he told PW in December.
Having known Fitzgerald for so long, Wyatt can attest to his character. He’s part of the strong family connection, as this class also welcomes three players with brothers playing at NU.
He’s also an essential part of the team’s future—their lone defensive tackle target for the 2014 class. Listed at 6-4, 255, he’ll probably bulk up even more during a redshirt season before fighting for reps in 2015.
Best of all, he’s part of a family relationship with a storybook ending.
“It’s been fun getting to know [Fitz] and seeing the coach he’s become,” Wyatt said.
From pizza man to head coach, this was the most authentic recruitment possible. You could say Wyatt’s coming back home.