Northwestern University football coach Pat Fitzgerald sure does know how to charm a prospective player’s mother.
Hunter Niswander has been drawing interest from several colleges heading into his senior year at Woodridge.
Niswander’s kicking and punting abilities intrigued coaches.
Fitzgerald’s writing abilities sparked the interest of Andree Niswander and brought a smile to her face.
“On Mother’s Day, my mom received a handwritten letter from coach Fitzgerald,” Niswander said. “That won her over.”
Fitzgerald and everything Northwestern has to offer won over Niswander, who orally committed to play for the Wildcats on a scholarship.
“I am very excited to be a part of Northwestern,” Niswander said. “With their academics and football prowess in the Big Ten, I feel very blessed and honored to get a scholarship.
“I really appreciate the time Coach Fitzgerald spent with me, and I think my family really appreciates the care they have for me.”
Niswander made 6-of-10 field goals, converted 36-of-36 points after touchdowns and averaged 41.8 yards per punt last season. His long punt was 80 yards and his longest field goal was 53 yards. He also made two 52-yard field goals, one that counted and one that was called back because of a penalty.
Niswander’s parents, Andree and Scott Niswander, were equally excited for their son, and so is Woodridge coach Eric Ervin.
“Hunter had a lot of options with several schools interested in him,” Ervin said. “He felt that Northwestern fit his needs academically and athletically. It is not very often that a kicker will get a scholarship right out of high school. Usually a college will bring in a couple of guys to battle it out and then they will get a scholarship in a year or two. He has a special leg. He has a gift and he is taking full advantage of it.”
Niswander, 17, said he also received interest from Ohio State, Michigan State, Pittsburgh and other schools in the Big Ten and PAC-12.
“I felt very comfortable with Northwestern and what they have to offer,” Niswander said. “They have treated my family and I very well.”
Ervin praised Niswander, who is 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, for his athleticism.
Niswander will be entering his fourth year as a football starter. He also and started the previous three seasons on the Bulldogs’ soccer team as a midfielder, forward and defender. He also plays basketball and tennis and has a 3.4 grade-point average.