Before the coronavirus pandemic shut down everyday activity, Mac Uihlein was planning to take more college trips.
But with a moratorium imposed on in-person recruiting and no guarantee official visits will resume, the Lake Forest junior decided to cut to the chase.
Uihlein, a four-star inside linebacker from Lake Forest, announced his commitment to Northwestern on Twitter late Friday.
The 6-1, 205-pounder is the No. 2 prospect in Illinois’ junior class behind Michigan-bound quarterback JJ McCarthy of Nazareth, according to Rivals.com. Uihlein also is No. 9 nationally at his position and No. 150 overall in the class of 2021.
“The people is the first thing that stands out (about Northwestern),” Uihlein said, citing both head coach Pat Fitzgerald and linebackers coach Tim McGarigle. “The relationships last a lifetime.”
Uihlein, who plans to study business, also likes NU’s academics, as well its location.
“A ton of my family lives in town,” he said. “That was definitely a part of it. knowing my whole family can come to the games.”
Uihlein is NU’s second four-star commit in a week, following 6-8, 260-pound offensive lineman Caleb Tiernan from Beverly Hills. Mich. Rivals rates Northwestern’s 2021 class 31st in the country.
Rivals Midwest recruiting analyst Josh Helmholdt likes what he’s seen of Uilhlein.
“This is a prospect who checks all of the main boxes for the linebacker position,” Helmholdt said. “Mac flies around the field making plays, and when he hits people they stay down. The intangibles like football IQ and field generalship also look to be there in spades.
“This looks like a future leader of Northwestern’s defense, in the mold of Pat Fitzgerald when he played at NU.”
“I wouldn’t compare myself to coach Fitz,” Uihlein said. “I’ve got a long way to go.”
With his recruiting done, Uihlein is shifting his attention to helping the Scouts earn their 10th straight IHSA playoff berth this fall.
“It’s good to be able to focus on my team,” he said. “We’ve got a great group of guys. Great senior class, great junior class, we’re all in.”
Uihlein joins a pair of class of 2020 players — defensive end Rylie Mills (Notre Dame) and punter Kai Kroeger (South Carolina) — as recent Power Five recruits from Lake Forest.