In 2011, properly into his tenure at Northwestern, Head Mentor Pat Fitzgerald started out a new tradition in which he gifted the No. 1 jersey to the ‘Cat that most continually exhibited the values, attitudes, and character of the football software. The ‘Cat bestowed with this honor in 2021 was fifth 12 months defensive lineman Joe Spivak, and for good rationale.
Spivak, or Spivs as he is referred to by his teammates and friends, is the most energetic and outgoing player on the Wildcat roster as he can singlehandedly hype up the staff for any scenario. Will need to get all set for a significant activity? Spivs will buzz you up. In need of a halftime enhance? Do not fret, Spivs will convey the juice. Require an all all over superior male to support inspire your staff? You guessed it, Spivs is on the way. Through some players’ tenures at Northwestern, it can take time to produce into a vocal chief, but that was not the circumstance for Spivak.
Spivs joined the Wildcat soccer plan in 2017 after having a monster superior faculty vocation at Montini Catholic Superior School in Lombard, Illinois. His accolades off the industry were being extraordinary ample, as he was a workforce captain for 3 many years, four-time academic all-meeting, and two-time educational all-condition. His all-about accomplishment was sufficient to garner presents from the likes of applications this sort of as Michigan State and Nevada, but, in the end, he selected to stroll on to Chicago’s Massive 10 Workforce.
For the duration of his initial time at Northwestern, he amazed coaches with his get the job done ethic, unrelenting travel and good attitude, which led to him becoming a single of only a handful of correct freshmen to see motion 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 just one tackle in five game titles, but his adore for the purple and white was sure to earn about the hearts of numerous from the 2nd he stepped on campus, irrespective of statistical effectiveness.
He immediately adopted the blue collar angle that Coach Fitzgerald continually preaches and even gained defensive practice participant of the 7 days honors during his first-yr campaign. In the 2018, he at the time all over again provided the juice, encouraging to ability the ‘Cats to their first ever very first spot finish in the Massive Ten West. However, he did not see a big amount of money of snaps, which led to him recording no defensive statistics that yr.
The 2019 time was not the most effective of several years for the Wildcat squad for a variety of good reasons: injuries, inconsistent quarterback participate in and, general, a absence of offense. Despite the fact that the team as a whole struggled, Spivak definitely began to acquire into a operate stopper in Mike Hankwitz’s defense. He recorded 8 tackles and .5 sacks in 12 game titles, both equally of which were profession highs. His 5-foot-11, 300 pound frame makes it tricky for offensive gamers to operate by way of him, which created him a reliable piece for Hankwitz to use in the run protection video game.
In typical Spivs manner, he enhanced in the 2020 period, earning new particular bests in sacks at 1.5 and tackles with 14 on the season. But his contributions at NU have not just been limited to the playing industry. When he’s not active on the gridiron, Spivak is a compassionate member of the community, running Northwestern’s chapter of Uplifting Athletes, an organization that aids increase awareness of scarce illnesses and cash to battle them. Without a doubt, Spivak’s passion and delight may be just as apparent off the area as it is on it.
There could not have been a more fantastic participant on the Northwestern roster to dawn the No. 1 this time, as Joe Spivak shows all of the intangible traits that signify the very best of Northwestern’s football software. Anticipate Spivak to bring the juice and the spirit of No. 1 to the gridiron in 2021 with a extended season in advance of NU.