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Prater granted waiver, will play for Northwestern in ’12

Kyle Prater AP

Nearly six months to the day that it was announced he was transferring from USC, Kyle Prater has officially learned he will be playing football in 2012.

In a press release, Northwestern announced that the NCAA had granted a residency waiver to Prater.  That means the wide receiver won’t be forced to sit out the customary transfer season and will instead be eligible to play immediately for the Wildcats.

“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,” NU head coach Pat Fitzgerald said in a statement. “We’re happy to see him return to the football field and get the chance to play in front of his friends and family here in Chicago.”

Prater was a five-star member of USC’s 2010 recruiting class, the No. 1 receiver that year and the No. 3 player in the country at any position according to Rivals.com.  Despite the hype and the athletic promise entering USC, Prater’s brief two-year tenure with the Trojans was marred by both injuries and getting buried in the rotation behind the likes of Robert Woods and Marquise Lee, partly as a result of myriad health issues.

The 6-5, 215-pound receiver was a redshirt as a true freshman in 2010, and caught just one pass for six yards this season.

Now, Prater, who participated in spring practice earlier this year, is ready for the football return to his home state.

“It’s been a long road so first and foremost I want to thank God for the chance to play football and do what I love,” Prater said. “I feel blessed for the opportunities I’ve found at Northwestern and am excited to get back on the field this fall. My family is very important to me so it means a lot for them to be nearby while I play football and earn my degree at Northwestern. I’m thankful for this decision from the NCAA and am ready to be on the field with my teammates when this season begins.”

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