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June 6, 2008

Nagel to transfer to NU

Former Notre Dame linebacker Aaron Nagel will transfer to Northwestern, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The newspaper reported on Thursday that the sophomore-to-be has committed to Northwestern, where he will join brother Brett Nagel, a Class of 2008 Wildcat signee.

WildcatReport's attempts to reach Nagel were unsuccessful, and Northwestern is prohibited from commenting on potential transfers until the student athlete has been admitted to the school.

Nagel's father, Ron Nagel, announced last month that his son had decided to transfer. Aaron did not see any action with the Irish as a freshman in 2007, and he apparently is leaving because he did not see much playing time in his future. He was listed as the No. 3 outside linebacker for Notre Dame this spring and defensive coaches used the first and second units almost exclusively in practice.

Initial reports speculated that Nagel would consider transferring to the same top academic institutions that had recruited him out of high school - Northwestern, Stanford, Boston College, Purdue and Vanderbilt. Boston College, Purdue and Stanford appeared to be out of the running because of Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis's policy of not allowing players to transfer to schools on the Irish schedule.

Nagel was the 41st-ranked outside linebacker in the nation coming out of Lemont (Ill.) in 2007. Northwestern aggressively pursued Nagel and was the first school to offer him a scholarship, in January of 2006.

Nagel's initial Northwestern recruiter was Pat Fitzgerald, who was then the Wildcats' linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator. Fitzgerald assumed the head coaching job at NU in July of 2006, one week after the sudden death of former coach Randy Walker.

Brett Nagel, who will play superback at NU, has said that his brother's close relationship with Fitzgerald was one of the reasons that he was interested in Northwestern from the outset.

Aaron will have to sit out the 2008 season due to NCAA rules, but he will have at least three years of eligibility remaining at Northwestern. He would become eligible for the 2009 season and could compete for playing time that year as Prince Kwateng and Mike Dinard - the top two Will linebackers on the depth chart this season - will have graduated.

The Nagels would become the second set of brothers on the Northwestern roster this season, joining sophomore middle linebacker Nate Williams and incoming freshman outside linebacker Quentin Williams.

Northwestern has become a popular destination for former Notre Dame players in recent years, as Nagel would become the fifth Irish student athlete to transfer to Northwestern in the last decade. Quarterback Zak Kustok (1999-2001 at Northwestern) and guard Jeff Roehl (2000-02) enjoyed stellar careers as Wildcats, while tight end John Cerasani (1999) and wide receiver Jovan Witherspoon (2001) were not able to make much of an impact.


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