WildcatReport - Cats land a big one in four-star DE Mason Robinson
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Cats land a big one in four-star DE Mason Robinson

Mason Robinson is the second four-star in Northwestern's 2023 class.
Mason Robinson is the second four-star in Northwestern's 2023 class. (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Northwestern continues to reel in commitments from its official visit weekend two weeks ago. On Friday, the Wildcats landed a big one.

Four-star defensive end Mason Robinson, a heavily recruited target with schools like Georgia, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon and Penn State on his offer list, announced his commitment to Northwestern with a video on Instagram to become the 15th member of the Class of 2023.

Northwestern's class rose from No. 9 to No. 6 in the Rivals national rankings after the commitment of Robinson, the second four-star in the group.

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MORE: Northwestern 2023 recruiting class l Northwestern gets commitment from 4-star DE Mason Robinson l Four-star DE Mason Robinson can't wait for NU official

MEET NU'S MAY OFFICIAL VISITOR COMMITMENTS: DT Tyler Gant l DT Dylan Roberts l DE Michael Kilbane l OL Alex Doost l CB Cole Shivers l CB Joshua Fussell l LB Justin Cryer

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The question on many minds will likely be, how does a big-time recruit like Robinson choose a Wildcats program coming off of a 3-9 season over an impressive collection of power programs that included the reigning national champions?

The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder from Owings Mills (Md.) McDonough said it was all about the unique combination of elite academics and Big Ten football that Northwestern offers.

"Northwestern was just the best fit for me, education-wise and football-wise," said Robinson, the No. 4 player in Maryland. "I know they will develop me as a man there to help me reach my potential."

Robinson collected 21 offers in all and visited numerous schools. He said that his decision came down to a final two of Northwestern and Penn State, a school he visited four times and to which he was scheduled to go back for an official on June 24.

While he felt like he couldn't go wrong with either school, Northwestern's academics and a comfort level with coaches and players tipped the scales in its favor.

"I just can't pass up that degree," he said. "Northwestern just felt like home."

Robinson said that the Wildcats' dismal 2021 performance wasn't much of an issue when he weighed the pros and cons. He's confident that head coach Pat Fitzgerald and his staff can get the Wildcats back to their 2020 level, when they won the Big Ten West and finished 10th in the country in the AP poll. Especially with the rapidly rising 2023 class arriving soon.

"I feel like I can be a leader in a class that can change the program," he said.

Northwestern's May 13-15 official visit weekend may well be the program's most successful ever by the time all is said and done. A total of 13 uncommitted prospects visited that weekend; Robinson is the eighth of those 13 to verbally pledge the Wildcats.

And the program isn't done yet. WildcatReport expects a couple more official visitors to commit in the coming days.

The 2023 class has a shot at becoming the best in Fitzgerald's 16 years at the helm in Evanston. Nowhere is the talent more evident than at defensive end.

Northwestern already had one four-star in Michael Kilbane of Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward, another official visitor who committed almost two weeks ago. Now they've added a second four-star in Robinson to bookend him on the other side.