The announcement also ended a number of schools’ pursuits for the services of Vault, including Tennessee, which became Vault’s first SEC offer 10 days ago. Others in the hunt included Pittsburgh, Minnesota and Purdue.
On Thursday, Vault said that most schools that offered him over the past six months were “close athletically” to Northwestern.
“But academically? There’s just no match, man. Nothing compared,” Vault said.”After my visit…getting a tour, eating at some of the restaurants, I kind of knew. I could really see myself here.”
Vault added that he will be joining a football program that is best tailored to his skill set. A speedy, electric runner in the open field, Vault (who has rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of the last two seasons at Gaithersburg) will be featured in the Wildcats spread offense in both the backfield and the slot, he said.
He cited the explosive qualities of Wildcats’ running back Venric Mark — who as a junior rushed for 1,366 yards and 12 touchdowns, was first in the Big Ten Conference in all-purpose yards per game with 166.6, and returned two punts for touchdowns in 2012 — as a player who has blossomed in an up-and-coming program that finished 10-3 last year.
“Their offense is very prestigious,” Vault said, adding that he has a number of goals to accomplish in high school before he departs for college, including improving is 40-yard dash time to 4.3 seconds and helping lead his team on a run to the state championship next fall.
“I’m still in a high school. I’m still a high school player, I still want to win a state championship before I leave,” Vault said. “I think now, I can kind of focus on my senior year of high school, focus on my grades, and not have coaches call me at all hours of the night…It’s great because you know where you’re going to be the next four or five years.”
Recruit Watch: Offers, commitments and signings