EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern wide receiver Kyle Prater, a Maywood, Ill., native who transferred to NU from Southern California earlier this year, will be eligible to compete for the Wildcats when the 2012 season opens on Sept. 1, the NCAA announced Tuesday.
Prater received a residence waiver from the NCAA allowing him to bypass the one-year wait period traditionally required of transfers in FBS football.
"Kyle has worked extremely hard since coming to Northwestern to prepare himself for this season and it's great that he will be rewarded for that effort," said Wildcats Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald. "We're happy to see him return to the football field and get the chance to play in front of his friends and family here in Chicago.
"Several members of our athletic department staff also deserve a great deal of credit for facilitating Kyle's eligibility for this season, including athletic director Jim Phillips, director of football operations Cody Cejda and Maureen Harty and Aaron Hosmon in compliance," Fitzgerald said. "This was a team effort and we appreciate all that they do for our football program."
The 6-foot-5 Prater, one of the top-ranked recruits in the nation coming out of Proviso West High School in 2009, will have three seasons of eligibility remaining for Northwestern.
"It's been a long road so first and foremost I want to thank God for the chance to play football and do what I love," Prater said. "I feel blessed for the opportunities I've found at Northwestern and am excited to get back on the field this fall. My family is very important to me so it means a lot for them to be nearby while I play football and earn my degree at Northwestern. I'm thankful for this decision from the NCAA and am ready to be on the field with my teammates when this season begins."
Prater redshirted his freshman season at USC in 2010 and battled injuries in 2011. He was a consensus high school All-American as a senior at Proviso West when he caught 64 passes for 1,151 yards (18.0 average).
The 2012 Wildcats report to campus this weekend and begin fall camp with a 4 p.m. CT practice on Monday, August 6. Northwestern opens the season Saturday, Sept. 1 at Syracuse.