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Northwestern Football Recruiting Notebook: May 2

It's been awhile since we last did a full recruiting roundup, and while there haven't been any commitments since the last time around, there has still been plenty of news in the recruiting world. Also be sure to check our 2014 football recruiting board for regular updates.

Does a Vanderbilt commitment help NU?

Northwestern and Vanderbilt aren't exactly buddy-buddy, but the Wildcats should be happy that the Commodores won a recent recruiting battle, picking up running back Mikale Wilbon out of Chicago. First of all, just for the puns, how did Northwestern not recruit this kid!? On a more serious note, Wilbon's commitment to Vanderbilt likely helps NU out in its quest to land another running back, Justin Jackson.

Jackson, a four-star recruit from Carol Stream, Ill., pegs NU as his leader, but also has Vanderbilt and Iowa in his top three. Apparently, according to Rivals, the Commodores had made quite the impression recently:

“Northwestern is still my leader but Vanderbilt really have made things more interesting. They also have a lot to offer on and off the field much like Northwestern plus they play in the SEC.”

However, now that Vanderbilt has picked up Wilbon, it seems to make Vanderbilt much less attractive. Of course, Jackson is a good player, and good players don't shy away from competition. However, Wilbon's commitment can't hurt NU's chances.

Another player has NU as his No. 1

Ladarius Wiley hasn't even been to Northwestern yet, but the defensive back from Los Angeles, already has the Wildcats No. 1 on his list. He has offers from California and Fresno State, but said his mom would prefer he go to school out-of-state. If he is to leave California, Chicago could be the perfect location and NU the perfect program.

"Big academically and football-wise,” Wiley said Tuesday night. “They just won a bowl game. The academics and history of the school are great. The location is nice, too.”

Wiley will visit in June, and if all goes well, he could be a Wildcat shortly after.

“I will seriously take it into consideration,” Wiley said of the possibility he may commit while on his visit this summer. “They are my number one.”

Westerfield reaches out to NU

It's not too often that a player receives an offer by reaching out to a school, but DE/OLB Noah Westerfield thinks he could be on the verge of an offer from Northwestern after reaching out to the Wildcats' coaches. Here's how the whole thing went down:

Parsing elite recruits’ school options is, even for the most discerning recruiting folk among us, a disorienting process. 2014 Frisco, Texas, Defensive End Noah Westerfield made the whole ordeal patently obvious. He contacted Northwestern, and no one else.

The response from Wildcats coaches, running backs coach Matt MacPherson in particular, was glowing. MacPherson quickly passed Westerfield’s game tape along to Pat Fitzgerald and the rest of the coaching staff, and before long Northwestern had coach Marty Long was visiting Westerfield at Wakeland High School. Westerfield talked with Long Tuesday and had nothing but positive feedback to report.

Westerfield believes that he'll have an offer if everything works out with his academic transcripts, and he plans to visit NU this summer.

A new superback in the mix?

After whiffing on longshot in-state targets Ian Bunting and Nic Weishar, Northwestern will have to look elsewhere for a new superback. One possible addition is Matt Sokol, who has yet to receive an offer from the Wildcats, but he said Matt MacPherson has shown a lot of interest recently. He also has received interest from Michigan State.

Sokol is a high school quarterback, but he has a big frame — 6-foot-5, 226 pounds — and his combination of size and speed could fit quite well into NU's superback position. He was on campus for NU's spring scrimmage and liked what he saw from that position group.

“They all seemed really athletic,” Sokol said. “They were splitting out, catching lots of routes. They were almost like hybrid of tight ends, running backs and receivers.”

Sokol is still trying to figure out interest and pull in offers from Big Ten schools, but he said NU is very high on his list. There's also this, which Pat Fitzgerald will love:

“I’m going to stick with my commitment. I don’t plan on decommitting, so before I make a decision I want to know I’m 100 percent sure.”