Kyle Prater finally got an answer from the NCAA -- and it was the one he wanted.
The USC transfer will suit up for Northwestern this fall after the NCAA on Tuesday approved his waiver request. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound receiver from Proviso West had been in limbo since announcing six months ago that he would return home. Prater appealed to the NCAA based on wanting to be near an ill relative he has not publicly identified.
“My family is very important to me,” Prater said in a news release, “so it means a lot for them to be nearby while I play football and earn my degree at Northwestern.”
Prater expressed confidence in the NCAA ruling in a June interview with the Tribune, saying: “It has been a strange process, but we’re optimistic.”
NU officials liked their chances after the NCAA ruled Amir Carlisle would not have to sit out the 2012 season. Carlisle transferred from USC to Notre Dame after his father left the 49ers to take a job with Purdue, a short drive to South Bend.
“Kyle has worked extremely hard to prepare himself for this season,” NU coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “It’s great that he will be rewarded for that effort.”
Rivals.com rated Prater the nation’s No. 1 receiver in the Class of 2010, but leg injuries contributed to a redshirt season, followed by a one-catch campaign in 2011.
He has three years of eligibility remaining, and his addition will be a boon to one of his apartment mates, NU quarterback Kain Colter.
ESPN.com rated NU’s receiving corps the best in the Big Ten despite the losses of Jeremy Ebert and Drake Dunsmore. Prater joins the likes of Demetrius Fields, Christian Jones, Tony Jones and Venric Mark.
NU’s fall camp opens Monday, and the Wildcats’ Sept. 1 opener is at Syracuse.