football Edit

DT Jordan Butler couldn't wait to flip to Northwestern

Jordan Butler
Jordan Butler (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Three-star defensive tackle Jordan Butler told WildcatReport on Sunday, after returning from his Northwestern official visit, that he would announce his commitment on Monday, Dec. 16.

Apparently, he couldn't wait that long to become a Wildcat. The 6-foot-4, 300-pounder, who had been a Vanderbilt pledge since June, announced on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon that he was flipping his commitment to Northwestern.

Butler rated his Northwestern official visit a "9 or 10" on a scale of 1 to 10, and that was enough to make him a Wildcat two days after returning from Evanston. He told WildcatReport that his relationship with defensive line coach Marty Long and his admiration of head coach Pat Fitzgerald were big reasons that he decided to switch from a Commodore to a Wildcat.

"Being around the defensive linemen, I heard about how Coach Long really is, and what his expectations are for his players," said Butler. "I could really see how much he cared about the education side of things."

While many programs around the country talked a lot about academics, Butler was struck by how "connected" football and academics are at the Walter Athletics Center, where the academic department is located right next to the weight room.

He was also impressed by his one-on-one meeting with Fitzgerald, which focused on the internship program. "He really cares about life after football," said Bulter.

Northwestern's focus on academics and 100% graduation rate resonated with Butler, who carries a 4.03 GPA at Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy and scored a 27 on his ACT. He turned down offers from the likes of Notre Dame, Oregon and USC to commit to Vanderbilt, another elite academic school in a Power Five conference.

Butler had to make up his mind quickly after returning from his official visit because he plans to start classes as an early enrollee at Northwestern in January.

Butler will add a big dose of size and explosiveness to Northwestern's defensive line of the future. He will join fellow 2020 commit TeRah Edwards, a 6-foot-3, 295-pounder, to hold down the middle of Wildcats' line.

Butler had 41 tackles, finished second on the team with 11 TFL and registered five sacks for IMG in his senior season. He spent two seasons at IMG after transferring from Las Vegas (Nev.) Desert Pines as a sophomore.

Both Long and Fitzgerald think that Butler could come in and compete for playing time next season, much like true freshman Jason Gold did for the Wildcats this year. (Gold, not coincidentally, was Butler's host for his visit.)

Northwestern is beginning to build a pipeline to IMG, one of the top prep schools in the country. Former linebacker Jango Glackin (class of 2016) and current starting cornerback Greg Newsome (2018) are both IMG alumni.

Northwestern's 17-member 2020 class is currently ranked 44th in the nation by Rivals.