Northwestern football fired their head coach Pat Fitzgerald on Monday, following an investigation surrounding hazing in the program.
Following the fall out, players now have the opportunity to leave the team, transfer to another, and have immediate eligibility to play in the upcoming 2023 season.
This is a 30-day period window for any player to leave for another program and not have to sit out for the next year, despite it being less than two months from the season opener. West Virginia basketball players recently had this opportunity, after head coach Bob Huggins resigned in June following his arrest for a DUI.
Despite no players currently putting their name in the transfer portal, there would be little surprise to see players leave. Northwestern finished with a 3-9 record in 2021 and a 1-11 record last season.
The combination of two terrible seasons on the field and a toxic hazing culture that led to the firing of Fitzgerald, it seems like only a matter of time before a number of players leave for a different program and hopefully, a better future.
Pitt is currently one school that potentially is looking to offer that option, even with the season so close and practice starting in August.
Panthers defensive coordinator Randy Bates spent the first twelve seasons of Fitzgerald’s tenure as linebackers coach at Northwestern from 2006-17.
He has followed on Twitter, in recent days, three players from the team. This includes redshirt senior defensive back Jeremiah Williams and tight ends in redshirt senior Thomas Gordon and senior Marshall Lang.
Williams spent four seasons at Duke from 2018-21 before transferring to Northwestern last season. He started all 12 games, making 70 tackles (48 solo, 22 assisted), three tackles for loss, four passes defended and one fumble recovery in 2022.
Gordon has been a part of the Wildcats for the past four seasons, 2019-22. He has played in 29 games and hasn’t played much in his career. He made 12 catches for 162 yards in eight games in 2022, prior to which he only had two receptions in his career.
Lang has played in all 24 games the last two seasons and started 13 of them. He made 11 catches for 68 yards and three touchdowns in 2021 and made 15 catches for 192 yards in 2022.
Pitt linebackers coach Ryan Manalac and tight ends coach Tim Salem both follow Northwestern Class of 2024 commit Patrick Schaller.
Schaller plays for Glennbrook North High School in Northbrook, Ill., just 10 miles from Northwestern. Pitt never offered the the three-star recruit, but if he chooses to decommit, don’t be surprised if Pitt tries to acquire his services.
Pittsburgh Sports Now reached out to numerous Northwestern players, but has not received any responses if Pitt has contacted them.