Northwestern commit, ESPN 300 quarterback charged with sexual assault

An ESPN 300 quarterback recruit committed to play for Northwestern was arrested Friday in Colorado on charges that he sexually assaulted multiple girls on a party bus last year.

The Boulder, Colorado, police department issued a news release Friday saying it had arrested a male suspect for sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact. The police did not identify the suspect, who was a juvenile at the time the alleged assaults took place on Sept. 15, 2018. Boulder County Jail records show Aidan Atkinson, 18, was booked Friday morning.

Boulder police said the suspect turned himself in Friday, after a warrant was issued for four felony counts and five misdemeanor counts. Police said the alleged assault involved multiple victims, also juveniles at the time.

Atkinson is the 2018 Gatorade Player of the Year in Colorado, where he set state career records for passing yards and passing touchdowns while playing at Fairview High School in Boulder. He had been set to sign with Northwestern in December. He ranks as ESPN's No. 7 pocket passer and No. 145 overall player in the 2020 class.

"Northwestern is not permitted to comment on any prospective student-athlete until such time as they sign a National Letter of Intent," Paul Kennedy, Northwestern associate athletics director for communications, said in a statement to ESPN.

Atkinson will remain in jail until his first court appearance Monday, The Boulder Daily Camera reported. Atkinson will not play in tonight's 5A playoff game against Cherry Creek. Randy Barber, chief communications officer for the Boulder Valley School District, said students who do not attend school on the same day of an athletic competition are not permitted to play. Barber said the district will cooperate with law enforcement as its investigation of the incident continues.