Northwestern WR Kyle Prater needs to be team’s “star” now

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For Northwestern WR Kyle Prater, “it’s now or never.” (Apologies to Elvis Presley on that)

He had a breakout game Saturday, 87 yards receiving and his first collegiate touchdown. Unfortunately, it came in a very bad loss to a mid-major school, so it was a very bittersweet day for Prater.

“Unfortunately, I had to get my first touchdown with a loss, but like I said I’m humbled,” Prater said.

“I’ve overcome a lot.”

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Indeed he truly has. Multiple injuries have slowed him down, and inhibited his progress. The native of suburban Hillside committed to USC, but had to take a redshirt year due to injury. Then he transferred closer to home so that he could be near his family. This is his final season of college football, and the Proviso West graduate has not produced at a level ever remotely close to the hype with each he graduated high school.

Scout rated him the #4 overall recruit in the nation and the #1 wide receiver nationally in 2009.

Yet it took Kyle Prater this long to score a touchdown and have 80 yards receiving in a game. And it comes when the team is in a deep hole.

“It’s a blessing,” Prater said. “But it’s not about me. It’s about us, the team. There’s no doubt in my mind we can turn it around.”

Pat Fitzgerald on Prater’s big day:

“Frankly it means nothing about me, it means everything about him. I’m really proud of him. I’m incredibly proud of him, he’s persevered and stayed steady through a lot of negativity, a lot of negativity that was out of his control.”

kyle prater

Prater’s big day came only after he moved up the depth chart at WR due to attrition. Top flight wideout Christian Jones is out for the season; WRs Mike McHugh and Tony Jones sat out the NIU loss as well. So Kyle Prater needs to be the main weapon in a depleted receiving corps. With QB Trevor Siemian not being as effective in a primary role as he was in a platoon, and Venric Mark now gone, NU is in dire need of a true offensive star.

Siemian On Prater’s attitude…
“He’s a guy a lot of guys look up to on the team, really positive, really upbeat, easy guy to follow and I’m happy for him. It’s good to see that his work is paying off.”

Prater needs to be that guy for Northwestern now. It’s now or never. They need him badly in order to salvage the spread option offense and make something of this season. You know he has the potential.

A ridiculously good receiver during his high school career, Kyle Prater was named a Parade and Super Prep All-American as well as the Super Prep All-Midwest Offensive MVP in 2009. As a senior, Prater recorded 64 receptions for 1,151 yards (18.0 yards per catch) with 13 touchdowns, building on a junior season in which he caught 60 balls for 948 yards and nine scores.

Paul M. Banks owns and manages The Sports Bank.net, in partnership with Fox Sports and Yahoo. Read his feature stories in the Chicago Tribune RedEye edition. Listen to him Tuesdays on KOZN 1620 The Zone. Follow him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)

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