The top 10 players returning to the Northwestern Wildcats for the 2020 college football season.
Important to note that this list is based upon last year's data and film from on each specific team as well as judgment based upon the player's position both his skill and the level of talent around him at the said position and influential cohorts. Positional value also plays a large factor in these rankings as does the offensive or defensive scheme.
1. Rashawn Slater, T
2. Paddy Fisher, LB
3. JR Pace, S
4. Travis Whillock, S
5. Nik Urban, G
6. Greg Newsome II, CB
7. Earnest Brown IV, DE
8. Riley Lees, WR
9. Gunnar Vogel, T
10. Cameron Ruiz, CB
Honorable Mention: Isaiah Bowser, RB; Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman, WR; Joe Spivak, DI; A.J. Hampton, CB; Adetomiwa Adebawore, Edge
Slater is an NFL-level tackle with great pass sets and a force in the run game. He doesn't lose too many one-on-one battles with tackles and consistently gets to the next level extremely well in the run game. He went toe-to-toe with Chase Young on a few plays against Ohio State a year ago, and fared remarkably well, meaning he can go up against the best of the best with no fear in 2020.
Fisher has been around for what feels like, well, forever. He's a staple on the defense and tackling machine. The thing is, he tackles so many players and yet he misses so few tackles against running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, quarterbacks, you name it.
Then there's the safety duo who went wildly underlooked a year ago. Pace plays high-level coverage while Whillock flies around the field like a missile. They're as talented a duo that you'll find.
Newsome plays a solid brand of coverage and doesn't get beat too often while Brown offers seemingly the most upside on the entire defense, which is saying something. He'll look to fill the loss of Joe Gaziano and the double-digit sacks+hits he had a year ago off the edge.
Lees is talented but needs far better quarterback play to see the ball in more accurate locations, and if he gets that, watch out.