With another Big Ten West title and a final ranking in the Top 10, the 2020 Northwestern Football season was one to remember. Now, two players who helped Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats achieve that success have made history.
Offensive lineman Rashawn Slater and cornerback Greg Newsome II both got picked in Thursday night's first round of the NFL Draft, making it the first time in school history that two of the program's players were picked in the first round of the same draft.
The Los Angeles Chargers selected Slater 13th overall, and he'll immediately have the chance to protect budding star quarterback Justin Herbert, who was last season's NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
"All day, just that anticipation of being picked -- I tried not to let it get to me too much," Slater told the Chargers website Thursday night. "I was trying to stay even-keeled throughout the day, but then finally, whenever my phone started buzzing, just pure joy and gratitude for not only my family, who was there, but all the people who helped me get to this spot. I couldn't have chosen a better destination for myself. I'm so thankful. I'm so excited to be a Charger," added Slater.
Newsome II watched from Life Time in Oak Brook with dozens of family and friends by his side. The 20 year old grew up in Carol Stream and went to Glenbard North before finishing his high school career at IMG Academy in Florida. When his name was called, the room erupted in cheers. As the 26th pick, he had to wait three hours to hear his name called, but it was worth the wait.
"Obviously Cleveland picked me for a reason, and everything happens for a reason, so God put me in this place to go to Cleveland," Newsome II told Cleveland media late Thursday. "I'm just ready to give it my all for Cleveland, every single day, and that fan base. So I just can't wait to get to Cleveland and get ready to work."
Prior to this year's Draft, the last time the Wildcats had even one player drafted in the first round was 2005. Defensive lineman Luis Castillo went 28th overall to the Chargers that year.