General: Closed his career as the NCAA's all-time leading tackler with 545 hits (the NCAA began keeping official defensive statistics in 2000) ... Recorded double-digit tackle totals in 29 career games ... Notched three career games with 20 or more tackles ... Started 40 career games, his last 34 in succession ... Emotional and physical leader of NU's defense ... Was at his best when things weren't going well and the defense needed a lift ... Coaching staff best described McGarigle as "relentless."
2005: Consensus second-team All-Big Ten selection ... True senior ... Named one of 10 semifinalists for the Dick Butkus Award (nation's top linebacker) and was named one of 12 semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award (nation's top defensive player) ... Also was on the Watch List for: Rotary Lombardi Award (top lineman), Bronko Nagurski (top defensive) and Ronnie Lott IMPACT (top defensive player) ... Co-recipient of NU's Wildcat Warrior Award ... Named to numerous preseason award watch lists: Rotary Lombardi (top lineman/linebacker), Bronko Nagurski (top defensive player), Chuck Bednarik (top defensive player), Dick Butkus (linebacker) and Ronnie Lott (defensive IMPACT) ... Street & Smith's preseason second-team All-America and first-team All-Big Ten ... Sporting News, Lindy's, collegefootballnews.com, Rivals.com and Athlon Sports preseason second-team all-Big Ten ... 11th-ranked outside linebacker on Lindy's player ratings list and 14th on TSN ... Tabbed one of TSN's three "Biggest Hitters" in its "Clutch Players" section ... Designated by Street & Smith's as the Big Ten player with the "Best Instincts" ... Became Northwestern's career tackle leader in the first quarter of the Iowa (Nov. 5) game ... Finished the contest with 13 tackles ... Totaled a game-high 17 tackles (nine solos) vs. UCLA in the Sun Bowl, pushing his NU and NCAA-record-total to 545 (previous NU mark was 503) ... Finished the year second on the Big Ten (fourth nationally) tackle list (13.0 per game) ... After recording a career-best 25 tackles (and a 2005 Division I-A single-game best) on Oct. 8 against Wisconsin, jumped from fourth to first on the Big Ten's tackle list ... Totaled 21 tackles (11 solos), as well as an interception, vs. Michigan ... Tabbed the Walter Camp Football Foundation and Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Wisconsin: 25 tackles (personal-best 15 solo tackles), career-best 3.5 TFL's and a career-best two sacks ... His 21-tackle effort vs. Michigan was tied for sixth-most in 2005 ... Named the Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week for his Wisconsin effort ... It was his third such honor from the Big Ten ... Also earned College Football News Co-Big Ten Player of the Week honors with teammate Tyrell Sutton ... NU's leading tackler in first four games as well: Ohio (9), Northern Illinois (17), Arizona State (10) and Penn State (9) ... Had a forced fumble and quarterback hurry vs. Ohio ... Notched two TFL's and a fumble recovery against NIU ... Registered a pass breakup vs. Arizona State ... Totaled seven solo hits, including a 2-yard TFL as well as a pass breakup and hurry vs. Penn State ... In addition to his nine tackles vs. the Boilermakers, had a fumble recovery and a breakup ... 10 tackles at Illinois.
The McGarigle File
Q: A song that best describes you is...
A: Hells Bells -- AC/DC
Q: If you could dine with anyone from any period in history, who would it be?
A: General Patton
Q: If you could have a starring role in any film already made, which movie would you pick?
A: Gladiator or Braveheart
Q: If you had to choose the best television show ever made, which one would you pick?
A: The Simpsons
Q: My favorite pregame ritual is...
A: Bull in the Ring (a warmup exercise that takes place on the field)
Q: My favorite opposing stadium to play in is...
A: Ohio State
Q: The best book I have ever read is...
A: "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding
Q: My ultimate SportsCenter highlight would be...
A: Blindsiding a quarterback and recovering a fumble for a touchdown
Q: My favorite place to visit is...
A: Acapulco, Mexico
Q: The person that inspires me the most is...
A: My grandfather and parents
Q: My favorite food is...
A: Steak or ribs
Q: When I played football as a kid, I pretended to be...
A: Walter Payton
Q: In five words or less describe Coach Walker...
Q: Which current NU football player is the biggest jokester?
A: Frederic Tarver
Q: If you could suddenly possess an extraordinary talent in one of the arts, what would you like it to be?
A: I would like to be able to play the drums
From NFL Draft Countdown:
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT
A two-down defender with a great head for the ball, McGarigle has starting potential at inside linebacker for a 34 defense.
Has excellent instincts...Very tough and durable...Team leader who is like an extra coach on the field...Smart and a hard worker with premier intangibles...Was extremely productive...Has a ton of experience against top Big Ten competition.
Does not have the height and size you look for...Struggles to take on and shed blockers...Lacks great range...Does not appear natural in coverage...Will be too aggressive at times...Speed and quickness are only average...Not much upside.
Started 40 career games...Closed out his career as the NCAA's all-time leading tackler with 545 take downs...A classic overachiever who gets the most out of his ability...Will be a great backup and special teams player at the absolute least.
McGarigle has all the mental tools that you want in a middle linebacker, but he lacks the desired size and athleticism. His instincts enable him to read and react to the play quicker than you expect and his all-out effort on every snap helps him to find a way to make plays. He is consistently around the ball on inside runs, but more often than not, he is unable to finish the play and make the tackle -- he gets bounced around in traffic and struggles to breakdown and tackle in space. He is a tough and aggressive linebacker who consistently fills the hole aggressively and takes on the lead blocker strong at the point of attack, but he does not get free and make the tackle often enough. He does not have the good playing speed to consistently make plays outside of the offensive tackles in the NFL. While he makes a good number of tackles, none are impact plays and nearly all of them are downfield and from the side. He lacks the athleticism to be a good starting middle linebacker, but he would be a great free-agent signing because of his ability to be a very good backup who can also make a physical impact on special teams.
McGarigle is a smart and instinctive linebacker who consistently reads and reacts to the play fast -- he sniffs out the screen pass and gets outside to disrupt it consistently. He is aggressive filling the hole, takes on the lead blocker strong at the point of attack and has flashed the ability to shed and make tackles. When he has a clear path to the ball, he has decent playing speed to chase down plays in pursuit. He does a good job reading the quarterback in short zone coverage, breaks quickly and can use his front arm to break up the pass.
McGarigle is a straight-line athlete who struggles to move through traffic well -- he gets bounced around and chopped to the ground by low blocks/traffic. While he chases down an occasional player in pursuit, he lacks the playing speed to catch NFL ball carriers in pursuit consistently. He is tight in the hips and struggles to adjust and break down and tackle well while on the move. Once a blocker gets ahold of him, he struggles to consistently shed the block and make the tackle.
Tim McGarigle LB 6'1 242 Northwestern
By: Robert Davis
McGarigle became the NCAA's all time tackle leader this past season with 545 career tackles. He began his career in style as a true freshman, racking up 98 tackles on the year. He just kept climbing from that point on, playing with unbelievable consistency. As a sophomore he had 140 tackles, six for loss, one sack, and one interception. As a junior he posted 151/6/1 with another interception. He posted career highs as a senior, going for 156 tackles, seven for loss, two sacks, and a pick.
Tim McGarigle is a football player. That is the best way to describe him. He is smart, tough, and loves to hit people. He is very aggressive on the field, and is always around the ball. His ability to locate the ball and make the tackle is second to none in the draft. McGarigle has shown the ability to make plays sideline to sideline, and loves to attack running plays.
McGarigle lacks ideal height for linebacker and can be engulfed at the point of attack. He does not get off blocks well, and that could hinder his ability to make plays inside. He lacks the natural athleticism to cover people out of the backfield, and the speed to cover down field.
Tim McGarigle has some shortcomings that hinder his potential, but nobody will outwork him or read plays quicker. He may only fit as a two down run stuffer at the top of his game, but he should make a roster and provide depth and special teams help.
From the Chicago Sun-Times:
Strengths: McGarigle was a very productive college player who consistently recorded a lot of tackles and made a lot of plays. He is an intense, high motor player who always plays hard. Works as hard as anyone both on and off the field and is a leader with plenty of experience. Is aggressive and can deliver hard hits. Has good tackling skills and will rarely let someone get away once he wraps up. Takes good pursuit angles and is instinctive. He is always in the right position and makes smart plays on the field. Has solid upper body strength and plays well in run defense.
Weaknesses: He does not possess the athletic ability of upper tier linebacker prospects. Has adequate at best speed and lacks the quickness and pursuit ability to have sideline to sideline range. Does not change directions well and will get into trouble if he makes any kind of mistake in pursuit because of his athletic limitations. Is not as tall as the ideal NFL linebacker prospect. Does not produce much in pass defense. Is not too effective when rushing the passer and generally struggles in coverage, especially man-to-man, because of his lack of speed and agility.
Overall: McGarigle was a very good college player whose skills do not quite translate into NFL potential. He started for three full years, as well as half of his freshman season, and finished out his career with a strong senior campaign in which he recorded 156 tackles. He works hard, plays with a high level of intensity, and is an intelligent player, but his lack of range and skills in coverage will probably limit him to a run-stuffing linebacker and major contributor on special teams in the NFL. He could easily become a very reliable reserve for many years and is a likely fifth or sixth round selection.
McGarigle tackles leadership role
Aug 30, 2005 by Jennifer Jones
Northwestern coach Randy Walker didn't even pause before coming up with an example of senior middle linebacker Tim McGarigle's passion for the game.
Walker remembers when McGarigle was a freshman, 30 pounds lighter than his current weight of 235 and spending his game days being bounced around like a Ping-Pong ball. McGarigle always was willing to stick his head in there, though, and it showed during a game against Penn State.
McGarigle was under a pile of bodies but managed to reach out his hand and grab the ball carrier's ankle, bringing him down. Walker had to look at the tape several times to figure out what happened, and he was quite impressed when he finally understood.
It would have been easy to say, Oh, I'm blocked, there's a bunch of 300-pounders on me,"' Walker said. He just refuses to accept being blocked. He's relentless, and that defines him."
McGarigle is in position to break Northwestern's career record for total tackles. He enters the season opener Saturday against Ohio (11 a.m., ESPNU, 850-AM) with 389 for his career, including 151 last season, and needs 115 to pass Chuck Kern (1977-80) for the record. He led the nation last fall with 8.5 solo tackles per game and led the Big Ten with 12.6 total tackles per game.
But McGarigle's focus will be on leading a defense that has lots of new faces on the line and in the secondary. Linemen Luis Castillo, Colby Clark and Loren Howard, cornerbacks Jeff Backes and Marvin Ward and safeties Bryan Heinz and Dominique Price all were lost to either graduation or injuries, leaving the linebackers -- Nick Roach and Adam Kadela flank McGarigle -- as the Wildcats' most experienced defensive unit.
Not that McGarigle is thinking about his role any differently than he has in the past.
We have a solid linebacking corps, and with Barry Cofield in front of you, you're very confident out there," McGarigle said. The rest of the D-line is very strong. We'll be fine."
All three starting linebackers dealt with injuries in the preseason, but Walker said they are ready. He believes even Roach, who had hernia surgery in July, will fall into place quickly because of his conditioning work.
He's been building since we got into camp," Walker said. Initially, he worked with trainers and was running pretty quickly. The change of direction is the last thing to come. His conditioning level is good. It's not like a guy who's been on the shelf for a month, and Roach knows how to play."
Walker is pleased with the linebackers' leadership abilities, too, noting that McGarigle has become more vocal in his interactions with his teammates.
We have just advanced now to get Tim to say more than two words at a time," Walker said. Tim didn't like to talk. We have him communicating better. A couple years ago, he was starting as a sophomore, and I said, You're the best player on the team and you have to lead,' and he struggled with that. But he's really matured at being a leader."