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What to do with the #1 jersey has been a point of contention for a lot of coaches in the profession for years and years. While some guys could care less what numbers get worn by players, a lot of coaches don’t believe in issuing the #1 jersey at all because, to them, it signifies that one person is bigger than the team.

At Northwestern, they’ve decided to flip the script on the #1 jersey with a unique tradition this season. Instead of giving it to a high school recruit to wear for four (or five) seasons like they had done in the past (from 2008-2014), the staff decided to award it to a young man on the roster that personifies the Northwestern brand of football, on and off the field.

As Pat Fitzgerald explains in the video:

“We decided to start a unique tradition. Instead of granting the #1 jersey to a high school recruit, #1 became symbolic with the young man that represented Northwestern football. The expectations, the attitude, the investment, and everything that we believe in as a Wildcat, at the highest level.”

“This year we took it to the ultimate, from the standpoint of coming up with a pool of names as a coaching staff, and as a leadership council (comprised of players), I looked at the leadership council and they voted on who they believe represents Northwestern football. Not some of the time, but all the time.”

Watch Fitz get the new tradition started by awarding the #1 jersey to Senior defensive lineman Max Chapman below.