Northwestern received some good news on Tuesday when the NCAA announced that wide receiver Kyle Prater, who transferred from USC earlier this year, will be eligible to compete for the Wildcats when the 2012 season opens Sept. 1.
Prater was given a residence waiver from the NCAA allowing him to bypass the one-year wait period traditionally required of transfers in FBS football.
"Kyle has worked extremely hard since coming to Northwestern to prepare himself for this season and it's great that he will be rewarded for that effort," Wildcats head coach Pat Fitzgerald said in a statement released by the school.
Prater will immediately bolster a Northwestern receiving corps that graduates three of its top five reception leaders from 2011. The 6-5, 220-pounder should make Wildcats quarterback Kain Colter very happy with his soft hands and pterodactyl-like wing span. In time, he'll also provide a physical presence on the perimeter in the run game.
"I'm thankful for this decision from the NCAA and am ready to be on the field with my teammates when this season begins," said Prater, who has three years of eligibility remaining with the Wildcats.
Prater was rated the No. 1 receiver and third amongst all players nationally by Rivals.com coming out of Proviso West High in Hillsdale, Ill., in 2010. His brief USC career was marred by minor injuries, forcing him to redshirt in the fall of 2010. By the time he was healthy again, he found himself buried on the depth chart behind current Trojan All-American Robert Woods and 2011 freshman phenom Marqise Lee. Prater played in 10 games last season, but caught only one pass for six yards.
He was granted his release from USC this past January.