EVANSTON, Ill. – Northwestern’s football family came together Sunday afternoon on the eve of its first training camp practice and head coach Pat Fitzgerald had a special announcement to share with the Wildcats. Senior defensive lineman Max Chapman (Ponte Vedra, Fla./Nease) will wear jersey No. 1 for the ‘Cats during the upcoming campaign.
“The No. 1 jersey, in our program, is used to recognize the young man who truly embodies the values and character of the Northwestern football family,” said Fitzgerald. “It is worn by someone who consistently dedicates himself as a great teammate, an excellent student and an influential member of our community. It is more than a flashy number. Here it represents a way of life.
“Since the day he arrived on campus, Max has been a remarkable example of what it truly means be a Wildcat. His passion and enthusiasm shine through in everything that he does,” said Fitzgerald.
The tradition of awarding the No. 1 jersey began in 2011 when Fitzgerald bestowed the honor upon defensive lineman and special teams standout Bo Cisek. Cisek was on hand again in August 2013 when one of his former teammates, running back and key special teams contributor Tim Hanrahan received the new piece of his uniform. Both Cisek and Hanrahan were in attendance once again on Sunday to welcome Chapman to the prestigious No. 1 club.
NU coaches and players identified a strong group of candidates to wear the number in 2015. Fitzgerald presented that pool of worthy candidates to the player-elected Leadership Council, and that group of 14 Wildcats decided that it was Chapman who should wear No. 1 for Chicago’s Big Ten Team this fall.
“I’m extremely thankful,” said Chapman. “I thank God, I thank the coaches and, of course, the Leadership Council for thinking that I was worthy of this honor. It really means a lot because I’ve been in this program for a while. God has given me the ability to do some special things and I’m filled with gratitude today.”
On the field, Chapman is a key member of Northwestern’s defensive line rotation and special teams units. He has played in 34 games since 2012. The fifth-year senior registered career highs in total tackles (14) and tackles for loss (3.0) in 2014. He made eight starts a year ago and flashed his versatility by occupying both end and tackle spots at different times on the defensive front.
The Ponte Vedra, Fla., native is an exemplary citizen away from the gridiron as well. He currently serves as the Co-President of Wildcats Stand Up and R.O.A.R.R, Northwestern’s anti-bullying program that has been presented at dozens of local elementary and middle schools. In addition, Chapman is a regular visitor to Connections for the Homeless in Evanston where he not only helps with whatever needs to get done; he often recruits teammates to come lend a hand as well. Chapman has been a regular volunteer with Misericordia Candy Days, Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association Special Olympics, and at the Sheil Catholic Center at Northwestern.
In the classroom, Chapman is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree. He graduated from Northwestern in June with a degree in communication studies and he is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in sports administration in the School of Professional Studies at NU.
The Wildcats open the 2015 regular season on Saturday, September 5 when the Stanford Cardinal comes to Evanston for a battle between Big Ten and Pac 12 foes. Kickoff for the opener is set for 11 a.m. and tickets are still available by calling 888-GO-PURPLE (467-8775) or visiting the ticket page on NUsports.com (CLICK HERE).