EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) Northwestern's offense was the worst in the Big Ten last season, scoring 19.5 points per game. And the 45-6 loss to Tennessee in the Outback Bowl soured some of the good feelings of a 10-3 season.
Coach Pat Fitzgerald's signing-day class, announced Wednesday, could address at least some of the team's offensive shortcomings.
The Wildcats added a pair of promising targets for quarterback Clayton Thorson in receivers Riley Lees from Libertyville, Illinois, and Bennett Skowronek of Fort Wayne, Indiana. At 6-3 and 205 pounds, Skowronek should provide a big, athletic downfield option. In high school, the 6-foot, 185-pound Lees was a dual-threat quarterback.
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Northwestern also added needed depth on defense, where four of the team's top-10 tacklers last season were seniors. The Wildcats were a solid fourth in the Big Ten in scoring defense, giving up 18.5 points a game. Fitzgerald added three defensive backs, three linebackers and three defensive linemen.
Other things to know:
Top 25 Class: No
Best in class: Roderick Campbell Jr., DB, St. Louis.
Best of the rest: Jeremy Larkin, RB, Cincinnati; Riley Lees, WR, Libertyville, Illinois; Bennett Skowronek, WR, Fort Wayne, Indiana; Aidan Smith, QB, Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Late additions: Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman, WR, Minneapolis.
One that got away: Defensive tackle Jovan Swann from Greenwood, Indiana, picked Stanford.
How they'll fit in: With the losses of receivers Miles Shuler and Christian Jones to graduation, Lees, Skowronek and Chiaokhiao-Bowman have the chance to get playing time early.