4-Star DE/OLB Odenigbo Picks Northwestern over Stanford, Notre Dame

Sylvan LaneContributor IJanuary 7, 2012

From ESPN.com
From ESPN.com

Four-star pass rushing extraordinaire Ifeadi Odenigbo officially committed to Northwestern Saturday, choosing the Wildcats over Stanford and Notre Dame.  

Ranked 50th in ESPNU's top 150 college football recruits, Odenigbo had offers from over 20 BCS schools, including Alabama, Georgia Tech, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma and USC.  

Odenigbo, from Centerville, Ohio, will prove to be an incredible important pick up for the Wildcats for several reasons.

Primarily, his talent alone will help the Wildcats fill in the gaps left by senior DLs Jack DiNardo and Vince Browne, along with senior LB Bryce McNaul. It's no secret that Northwestern struggled mightily on defense last year, and a player as talented and powerful as Odenigbo can help turn the tide of the Wildcats' woes. 

Additionally, the commitment of Odenigbo may also attract other highly ranked recruits to Northwestern, especially since he shunned some of the most competitive football programs in the country to play in Evanston. While Northwestern football has taken significant strides in the past 20 years, they are still far from the level of excellence that has become the trademark of some of their B1G counterparts.

Not only do the Wildcats gain talent with Odenigbo, but prestige as well. Recruits may wonder what made a player who could have gone to a perennial national title contender go to a school that hasn't won a bowl game since the Truman administration, piquing their interest in an underachieving program that has significant upward potential.

The full impact of Odenigbo's commitment won't be seen for a long time, but one thing is for certain: things are slowly but surely starting to look up in Evanston.