In 2011, nicely into his tenure at Northwestern, Head Mentor Pat Fitzgerald began a new custom in which he gifted the No. 1 jersey to the ‘Cat that most persistently displayed the values, attitudes, and character of the soccer system. The ‘Cat bestowed with this honor in 2021 was fifth 12 months defensive lineman Joe Spivak, and for fantastic rationale.
Spivak, or Spivs as he is referred to by his teammates and friends, is the most energetic and outgoing participant on the Wildcat roster as he can singlehandedly hoopla up the workforce for any situation. Want to get prepared for a huge activity? Spivs will hype you up. In need to have of a halftime strengthen? Do not fret, Spivs will bring the juice. Require an all about superior male to aid inspire your crew? You guessed it, Spivs is on the way. Throughout some players’ tenures at Northwestern, it normally takes time to produce into a vocal leader, but that was not the scenario for Spivak.
Spivs joined the Wildcat football software in 2017 following obtaining a monster large college occupation at Montini Catholic Higher University in Lombard, Illinois. His accolades off the area were being amazing plenty of, as he was a staff captain for 3 many years, four-time tutorial all-meeting, and two-time tutorial all-point out. His all-around good results was plenty of to garner gives from the likes of systems this sort of as Michigan State and Nevada, but, eventually, he chose to stroll on to Chicago’s Big Ten Workforce.
In the course of his 1st season at Northwestern, he impressed coaches with his work ethic, unrelenting drive and positive angle, which led to him staying a person of only a handful of accurate freshmen to see action in 2017. Now, Spivak’s studies his freshman year — or any season for that matter — will not blow you out of the h2o, as he recorded one particular tackle in 5 video games, but his like for the purple and white was confident to acquire over the hearts of lots of from the second he stepped on campus, irrespective of statistical overall performance.
He speedily adopted the blue collar mindset that Coach Fitzgerald continually preaches and even attained defensive observe participant of the week honors for the duration of his to start with-12 months campaign. In the 2018, he as soon as all over again supplied the juice, supporting to ability the ‘Cats to their to start with at any time first area finish in the Big Ten West. Having said that, he did not see a big amount of snaps, which led to him recording no defensive studies that yr.
The 2019 period was not the greatest of several years for the Wildcat squad for a range of causes: accidents, inconsistent quarterback participate in and, over-all, a deficiency of offense. Even though the team as a whole struggled, Spivak seriously begun to establish into a run stopper in Mike Hankwitz’s defense. He recorded 8 tackles and .5 sacks in 12 games, both equally of which were profession highs. His 5-foot-11, 300 pound frame would make it difficult for offensive gamers to operate by way of him, which designed him a sound piece for Hankwitz to use in the operate protection match.
In standard Spivs manner, he improved in the 2020 period, earning new personal bests in sacks at 1.5 and tackles with 14 on the time. But his contributions at NU haven’t just been minimal to the participating in industry. When he’s not occupied on the gridiron, Spivak is a compassionate member of the local community, jogging Northwestern’s chapter of Uplifting Athletes, an organization that will help elevate awareness of uncommon conditions and cash to combat them. In fact, Spivak’s enthusiasm and delight may possibly be just as obvious off the field as it is on it.
There could not have been a additional best player on the Northwestern roster to dawn the No. 1 this time, as Joe Spivak displays all of the intangible qualities that characterize the greatest of Northwestern’s football program. Count on Spivak to convey the juice and the spirit of No. 1 to the gridiron in 2021 with a prolonged time in advance of NU.