Northwestern hasn't gotten any new commitments in the last couple weeks, but the Wildcats have still been busy on the recruiting front. There are still five spots left in this class, and NU appears to be making a strong case with some of its top remaining targets. We'll break down this week's recruiting news, and as always, check out our 2014 recruiting board for the latest recruiting picture.
Parrker Westphal has NU among his favorites
Westphal isn't one of those top recruits that the Northwestern of old could expect to steal despite other top offers. However, the NU of 2013 is considered one of this favorites. What's his criteria?
“I just want to go to a school that’s ready to win,” he said in a recent interview.
Well, does Northwestern classify?
“Yeah, for sure. They’re on the rise,” he said.
Westphal lists NU as one of this favorites, and he holds offers from Florida, Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Ole Miss and many others. On Sunday, the Wildcats may have gotten some help. Top cornerback Jabrill Peppers committed to Michigan, which means the Wolverines have one less cornerback spot available and presumably makes them less attractive. Of course, the Wolverines are still an option and NU still has some stiff competition, but the Wildcats are in a pretty good place with Westphal right now. He plans to commit somewhere before his senior season.
Noah Westerfield talks things over with Pat Fitzgerald
Noah Westerfield is one of a number of players who have Northwestern near the top of his list. He has a unique story, too. He initiated contact with the Wildcats, and when the NU coaches saw his tape, they offered him a scholarship. Right now, NU and SMU are his top two schools, with Boise State close behind.
Westerfield has been high on NU for awhile, but recently, he began to question how he would fit in with the Wildcats:
“I want to play outside ‘backer,” he said in a text message. “And I think they want me as a DE, so I need to talk to the coaches about my fit in the defense.”
However, he cleared things up after a talk with Fitzgerald:
“It’s pretty clear now,” Westerfield said. “I just want to rush the passer, and now I know I’ll be able to do that here.”
Westerfield is still gaining interest from other schools and plans on visiting NU in early July, so don't expect a decision anytime soon.
NU makes Derek Kief's top five
Northwestern already has pretty good company in some 2014 top 5 lists. Garrett Dickerson lists NU in his top five, along with Michigan, Alabama, Stanford and Ohio State. Westphal doesn't have an official top five, but lists the Wildcats as one of his favorites among offers from Florida, Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Ole Miss. Now add Derek Kief to that list.
Kief originally had NU in his top five but after adding offers from some impressive programs (i.e. Alabama and Notre Dame) he decided to scrap that list, take a step back and reevaluate. The Wildcats made the cut for his new top five, too, along with Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Kentucky, and he announced it in the most unique way I've seen yet: a piece of art.
Obviously it's great news for NU to be in Kief's top five, and it's impressive that the Wildcats keep being grouped with top programs. But on a lighter note, that "art" is kind of awesome. How will he announce his commitment? A Vine? A baby animal? A double hat trick? Ohh, the possibilities.
Tori Millender strives for offer
Tori Millender has an offer from Purdue, but he has plenty of other interest, including Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa State, Cal and Stanford. He's also hoping to pick up an offer from Northwestern when he goes to Evanston for camp in June. While he needs an offer before anything can happen, he did have some interesting quotes. On what he's looking for in a school:
“Academics are number one for me,” Millender said of his decision criteria. “When you start looking at BCS schools, all the lights and flashes and the weight rooms are the same to me. Academics comes before all of that.”
On what an NU offer would mean:
“I would definitely be pretty happy,” he said. “I know I would have to make a decision quickly, because they’re hot. That spot can get taken fast.”
Brad North recruiting Tay Evans
Northwestern is getting some help from 2013 commit Brad North in its recruitment of 2014 OLB recruit Tay Evans. North and Evans are high school teammates in Allen, TX, and North has done his best to put a positive spin on NU.
“He’s been telling me about Northwestern ever since I got my first offer,” Evans said Wednesday. “He talks a lot about it.”
Evans doesn't have an NU offer yet, but he expects one to come once he can give the coaches his semester grades. Right now, Stanford is his favorite school, but the Wildcats are near the top.
“I just have to wait and see,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to visit sometime this summer.”