Northwestern's struggles in the secondary are well documented and hardly exclusive to the 2011 season. After losing three starters, including first-team All-Big Ten safety Brian Peters, the group is a ginormous area of concern entering the season.
The Wildcats got some help Monday by adding Quinn Evans, a graduate transfer from Stanford, to their roster. Evans, a cornerback for the Cardinal, will be eligible for the 2012 season because he'll complete his sociology degree at Stanford later this month. He has one year of eligibility remaining.
A native of Chandler, Ariz., Evans played just two seasons for the Cardinal. He redshirted in 2009 and missed all of last season because of injury. Evans played mostly on special teams in 2009 and 2010 -- he started one game at cornerback in 2009 -- and recorded a total of 13 tackles and two pass breakups. He'll begin pursuing his master's degree at Northwestern.
"I am extremely excited about the opportunity to finish my college football and academic careers at Northwestern," Evans said in a prepared statement. "My visit to campus and the relationships I've developed with Coach [Pat] Fitzgerald and other members of the Northwestern football program have left no doubt that NU is the right fit for me at this time. I'm looking forward to meeting my new teammates at the start of camp and contributing any way I can to our success this season."
Northwestern obviously needs Evans to stay healthy and contribute more than he did at Stanford, but there's no downside to this move, as the roster lacks experience and many upperclassmen at the cornerback or safety spots. This isn't Danny O'Brien stepping in for Wisconsin, but Northwestern's need in the secondary mirrors that of Wisconsin's at the quarterback spot.
Fitzgerald in April called the graduate transfer rule "one of those rules that doesn't make a lot of sense," but added that if it's there, coaches should use it.
Northwestern is still awaiting word on another Pac-12 transfer, Kyle Prater, the former USC wide receiver who hopes to earn a waiver that would make him eligible for the 2012 season. The NCAA is reviewing Prater's paperwork, and a decision could come anywhere from later this month to sometime in August.