Kevin Trahan
By (@k_trahan)
Jun 20, 2013

After Nathan Hall’s commitment on Monday, Northwestern has just three spots left for the class of 2014. The Wildcats have a lot of offers out, but the primary focus now shifts to defensive end and the secondary, and it’s likely that the last three players in this class will be from those positions. We’ll give you a rundown of who remains an option for NU, plus our prediction of who the final three will be. As always, stay updated with our 2014 football recruiting board.

Our Predicted Final Three

Ron Robinson, S: As first reported by Wildcat Report, Robinson was offered earlier this month and appears likely to take the Wildcats up on the offer. He was reportedly going to visit in June, and according to another potential NU recruit, the Wildcats’ coaches are waiting on a player who recently visited to commit sometime in June. That’s likely Robinson, and if he does commit, it can probably be expected within the next couple weeks.

Ladarius Wiley, S: Wiley has listed Northwestern as his top school for awhile now, and he reiterated to us this week that nothing has changed — NU is still his No. 1. Wiley originally said that he could potentially commit when he visits, and that possibility still stands. He’s trying to arrange a visit during the recruiting dead period, and that trip could come as early as next week.

Noah Westerfield, DE: Westerfield was high on Northwestern even before he received an offer — he reached out to NU — and while he hasn’t put out a formal “top 5″ or anything, he considers the Wildcats one of this favorites. He originally had some reservations because NU wants him at defensive end, not outside linebacker, but he cleared up his role in the defense with Pat Fitzgerald and the rest of the coaching staff, and NU is still one of his favorites. He’s visiting the first week of July, so there’s the possibility of a commitment then.

Others to Consider

Bobby Okereke, DE: Okereke recently put NU in his top six, according to Wildcat Report (subscriber only), and he remains very interested in the Wildcats. He told us that he plans to visit campus, but considering how few spots NU has left, he may not be ready to make a decision by the time all the spots are gone.

Grant Blankenship, DE: Blankenship hasn’t been very open about his recruitment to anyone, so he’s a bit of a mystery. It’s clear that he likes NU, but he also has a number of other solid offers and doesn’t loom likely to commit somewhere anytime soon. Like Okereke, he’s another guy that the Wildcats would have continued recruiting hard into the fall in any other year. This year, they might run out of time.

Parrker Westphal, CB: Westphal would be a big get for Northwestern, considering he’s a four-star player who has offers from Florida, Ohio State and Michigan. He would also help fill a need at cornerback. He considers NU one his his favorite schools, and while he will likely decide before his senior season, that might not be early enough to get a spot with the Wildcats if he wants it.

Garrett Dickerson, DE: Northwestern made it into Dickerson’s top three, beating out Alabama and Ohio State for that spot, but this one is pretty unlikely for a couple reasons: 1. The Wildcats are third in that top three, behind Michigan and Stanford, and 2. Dickerson likely won’t make a decision for awhile. There’s still a chance for NU, but it’s not likely that Dickerson will end up in purple.

Noah Furbush, OLB/DE: Furbush is being recruited by most schools as an outside linebacker, but as one of our commenters pointed out, he does have the potential to be a defensive end, so we’ll keep him on here. However, NU has some tough competition for Furbush — Michigan and Michigan State stand out — and there’s no evidence that he’s more likely to land with the Wildcats than anyone else on this list, except for maybe Dickerson.

Brandon Lee, OLB: While NU has technically filled its linebacker quota for this class, it wouldn’t say no to Lee. The four-star linebacker recently cut his list to nine and kept the Wildcats in play. He said he wants to visit Evanston again, so he’s clearly high on NU. However, the Wildcats have some tough competition for Lee, and he also isn’t likely to make a decision for awhile, which means NU could be at 15 before Lee decides.

  • algoncat

    That scenario is conservative…and it’s probably the highest probability of any other scenario of occurring.

    I sure hope that NU gets their DB and DE recruits and leaves one spot open for the big guys. It would be unfortunate if the list grows to 15 by mid-July before Dickerson or Westphal had the chance to review their options and commit. I would hate if NU was disregarded by default for these guys just because there are no spots left. Its for that reason that I could see two of the three being Wiley/Robinson and Westerfield but the other spot held until these other guys have the chance to commit.

    • Kevin Trahan

      The thing is, Dickerson is not very likely to come to NU (he has them third) and while Westphal likes NU, he also likes Michigan and Florida, so it puts Fitz and company in a tough spot if neither of those guys choose NU. They won’t tell Wiley/Robinson/Westerfield no, and since those three all are high on NU and in a position to commit sooner, that’s why we’ve predicted them to be the final three.

      • algoncat

        I completely understand that. Michigan is in a position where they can take the best available and that might not include Dickerson or even Westphal for that matter–as they are high on the lists of both Hand and Jackson from CA. NU can end up in a position to accept either player based on the fact that Michigan or Stanford takes a player who ends up taking up the DE or DB position and pushes either Dickerson or Westphal out of a scholarship. Also, the closer it gets to commitment day for Dickerson the more he might see that Palo Alto is 2,000 miles from home and he will at least have his brother for a bit at NU. Something for him to consider.

      • willycat

        You may be right Kevin regarding your prediction on the final 3 recruits but I think you might be wrong in thinking that NU won’t have spots available if Dickerson and/or Westphal come calling. Additional scholarships have a way of materializing when needed.

  • Chaddogg

    I’m a bit confused — when did Dickerson list NU as third? I thought he just listed a top 3.

    Again, I’ll caution anyone and everyone that while we THINK 15 is the number, it very well could be more for a variety of reasons (transfers, injuries, guys graduating and just not wanting to do a 5th year, etc.). Also, Fitz and NU admirably like to give walk-ons scholarships, too, but may decide to have less scholarships to give after this season in order to accommodate a (slightly) larger than 15 class.

    • gocatsgo2003

      In every single article written after Dickerson’s tweet, it was clear that it was Stanford, Michigan, and Northwestern in that order.

  • gocatsgo2003

    While these three could very well end up being our last three, I’m not so sure they would all occur over the summer — I still tend to think that the coaches will take the commitment of Robinson or Wiley (just whoever commits first) before calling up Dickerson, Westerphal, Okereke, and others to say “we have a spot for you, but also a kid who wants to take it. We can only hold him off for so long; take or leave it.”
    While the fans may want to see players with higher ratings or longer offer lists, our coaches truly belive that all offered players are created equal and will take any of them… just not without “playing the game” a little along the way.

    • Kevin Trahan

      NU’s not gonna make a kid wait so they can wait on Westphal or others. Plus, all the players you listed have good options, so they won’t be too pressured by an “ultimatum” of sorts from NU. Like we said, those three (and all the others we listed are all in play), but we think the three we predicted as the last three seem like the most likely to commit.

      • gocatsgo2003

        “NU’s not gonna make a kid wait so they can wait on Westphal or others…”
        Don’t be so sure about that. They won’t straight up deny a kid’s commitment, but they will use a dwindling scholarship pool to “squeeze” other players, just like pretty much any staff in the nation.

        • Kevin Trahan

          I think we’re agreeing here: If a kid calls and commits, NU isn’t going to tell him no. Also, the coaches might be willing to reserve a spot for a player they think is really likely to commit, but I don’t think you can call Westphal or Okereke “really likely.” Okereke is just starting to narrow things down and Westphal still really likes Michigan and others.

          • gocatsgo2003

            Not really saying the same thing — I’m saying the coaches may be willing to “reserve” a spot for someone like Dickerson or Westphal for a short amount of time in an effort to get them to accelerate their decision timetable, not because they’re “really likely to commit.” There are a million ways to delay a kid from committing, most of which you can hang on for a couple of weeks, allowing you to “squeeze” other prospects with that scholarship.

          • Kevin Trahan

            But when predicting the most likely commits, though, I feel like Wiley, Robinson and Westerfield are a fair prediction. The others are possible, but we feel Wiley, Robinson and Westerfield are more likely based on our conversations with players and the information that’s out there.

          • gocatsgo2003

            That much is true — those could very well end up being the three and there are many reasons to think that will be the case, I’m just pointing out that the coaches will likely try to get Dickerson (due to family ties) and Westphal (due to being a local kid) before the class fills up.

  • boomcat
  • algoncat

    Kevin, you may want to rethink Ron Robinson as he was just offered by UCLA. I realize that doesn’t mean he will for sure go there but it might be tough to overcome the local school.

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