I got a dog yesterday! She is the best. But the dog prevented me from realizing that Northwestern got a three commitments on Friday -- four-star defensive back Parrker Westphal, BLANK-star wide receiver/safety/linebacker Hamilton Anoa'i on the football side, and three-star point guard Johnnie Vassar in hoops.
Quite frankly (with Stephen A. Smith) this is tremendously thrilling. Anoa'i and Vassar were completely unexpected, and Westphal is a huge get. Let's start breakin' down.
So, in case y'all ain't heard, Westphal is the bee's knees. Kid's a four-star, the No. 20 DB in the country, and chose Northwestern over Vanderbilt, but also had offers from Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Florida, Ole Miss, Illinois, and everybody else. And he's from Bolingbrook, so we're building that fence.
What's most interesting about Westphal is that he's reporting early to Northwestern, the first player ever to do so since Pat Fitzgerald took over as coach. That means they didn't have to wait until signing day to announces his arrival in the class:
Anoa'i is a bit more mysterious -- he wasn't reported as having an offer from NU, just Idaho and Nevada -- but if the staff saw something in him they liked, that's great.
But let's talk big picture here. As we said the other day, Northwestern had the worst sports season I've ever been a part of as a fan. High expectations, no results, overwhelming sadness and everything else.
However, that did not derail the best recruiting class in Northwestern football history from finishing up strong. As the year deteriorated, the Wildcats lost one four-star commit in Dareian Watkins, but picked up two in Westphal and Garrett Dickerson.
Per 247's composite rankings, the Wildcats have four four-star commits in the class of 2014. They'd had two previous four-star commits in the entire history of their rankings before this year. Despite the suck, this team will have more talent than it's ever had. Now, Coach Fitz has to actually, you know, make something of it.
BasketballJohnnie Vassar's last name is a liberal arts college mainly known for not having dudes for most of its history. He's a 5'11 point guard who has played for schools in four states, ending up in San Juan Capistrano, California after growing up in Chicago. And he's about the same level, if not higher, than the average recruit Northwestern is used to getting: three stars, offers from DePaul, Illinois, SMU, UTEP and USC, per Inside NU.
This caps a monster class from Chris Collins: five players, two YOOOOO-type gets in Vic Law and Bryant McIntosh, a reportedly solid player in Scottie Lindsay, and with Vassar and Gavin Skelly, two players who seem to have flown a tad under the radar but could fit in nicely for NU.
From this aspect, Collins has been damn near perfect. Collins brought the promise of increased recruiting, and he's increased recruiting. The on-court product has lacked thus far, and only time will tell whether that's because of Collins or because of the talent left to him by Bill Carmody. I'd lean towards the latter, but there's no way of knowing for a little while.
Vassar's arrival in the catch means the end of the Michael Turner era, which was to be expected. We won't necessarily miss him -- he seemed a few steps behind what was necessary for Big Ten hoops -- but I hope he left, rather than being forced out. I'm always wary of student-athletes being mistreated by their coaches, and I hope Collins isn't the type to do it.