Devin O’Rourke, a 6-foot-6 strongside defensive end, is one of the top Illinois recruits for 2018, and Northwestern convinced him to stay close to home. He committed to the Wildcats in March, which made him the Wildcats’ sixth verbal commitment in the Class of 2018. He is the only 4-star prospect in the group, which since has grown to 15 commitments.
Devin O’Rourke: Stats, bio
Name: Devin O’Rourke
Weight: 240 pounds
School/Team: Lincoln-Way East High School (Frankfort, Ill.)
Devin O’Rourke: Recruiting rankings
National: No. 260
Position: No. 9
State (Ill.): 2
Note: Data according to 247Sports composite rankings
Devin O’Rourke: Commitment
About a week after visiting Northwestern, O’Rourke decided he was ready to make his college decision. O’Rourke, then the top-ranked Illinois prospect for 2018, wanted to play for coach Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats.
Tight end Luke Ford since has overtaken O’Rourke as the state’s best recruit, according to 247Sports. Still, O’Rourke remains the crown jewel of Northwestern’s 2018 recruiting class, which ranks 50th in the country and 12th out of 14 Big Ten teams. Of the Wildcats’ 15 current commits are 14 3-star recruits and O’Rourke, who is also the ninth-best strongside defensive end in the nation, according to 247Sports.
O’Rourke, who played at Lincoln-Way East High School in Frankfort, Ill., chose Northwestern over a slew of other Big Ten schools.
— Devin (@devin_orourke99) March 10, 2017
Before O’Rourke went on his first unofficial visit to Northwestern on Oct. 22, 2016, he received an Indiana offer and visited Wisconsin. Afterward, he visited Illinois and received offers from Nebraska, Minnesota and Penn State. But on March 10, six days after going to Northwestern a second time, O’Rouke ended his recruitment by pledging to the Wildcats. He also had offers from Central Michigan, Iowa State and Purdue.
“Thank you to my family, friends, coaches, teammates, and teachers for all the support,” O’Rourke tweeted when he committed. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. I am now committed to play football at Northwestern University.”
O’Rourke is one of six defensive recruits in Northwestern’s 2018 class and joins 3-star prospect Andrew Leota as the program’s lone defensive end commitments so far.