Last week, we predicted who Northwestern's final three football recruits for the class of 2014 would be, and though there was some heavy debate in the comment section and on Twitter, there was one thing almost everyone could agree on — safety Ron Robinson would be a Wildcat. Robinson had listed NU as his top choice and visited recently, so a commitment appeared to be coming soon. However, Robinson picked up an offer from UCLA on Sunday, and he told Wildcat Report's Aric DiLalla (subscriber only) that the Bruins, his hometown team, are now at the top of his list.
So now, it's back to the drawing board, and this could change out NU's recruitment. The Wildcats are still looking for players in the secondary and at defensive end, but this could allow some more offers to be extended, or it could allow some players who wanted to wait until August to commit to still commit to NU. We're still going to predict that safety Ladarius Wiley and defensive end Noah Westerfield end up in Evanston. However, this opens up some new possibilities. Here's how the picture looks now:
The player every NU fan wants here is Parrker Westphal, and that's a much better possibility now. Westphal considers the Wildcats one of his favorites, and while he still could very well end up at Michigan, Ohio State, Florida or others, his timetable for a commitment — before his senior season, so likely late July or early August — now fits in better with NU's timetable, as well. Before the news about Robinson, there was the possibility that the class would fill up at 15 before Westphal had the chance to commit. This isn't a prediction that Westphal ends up in Evanston — the Wildcats still have steep competition — but it's certainly a greater possibility now.
There's also the potential for Adam Soesman to get an offer. Soesman told us a week ago that if NU receives a commitment from a defensive back who could commit soon (Robinson?), then he won't receive an offer. However, if that player doesn't commit to NU, then he could receive an offer and would have the Wildcats in his top three. He's talking to Pat Fitzgerald on Monday, so keep an eye out. He could receive an offer.
Remember, we have already predicted that Westerfield will end up at NU — he visits the first week of July — and while there's no certainty, that's probably the most likely scenario when it comes to the defensive ends. However, this opens up the possibility for another defensive end with a later timetable to also commit. Those possibilities include Bobby Okereke, Grant Blankenship, Jaylen Johnson, Noah Furbush and, to an extent (though not at all likely) Garrett Dickerson.
There's potential for each one to end up in Evanston, but also reason to believe they'll all go elsewhere. Okereke lists NU as one of his top schools, but he still has a long ways to go with his recruitment and also holds offers from Oregon and USC. Blankenship has been quiet about his recruitment, but it's believed that the Wildcats are near the top of his list. Furbush, who could also play outside linebacker, is high on Michigan and Michigan State, while Dickerson lists NU third behind Stanford and Michigan, respectively. It's tough to say if any of these players will end up at NU, but they're all worth keeping an eye on over the next month or so.
The secondary and defensive end are the Wildcats' two focuses for this class, but there's the potential for some other players to take the final spot. The most notable one is linebacker Brandon Lee. Lee still has a ways to go in his recruitment, but the has the Wildcats in his top nine. Another player to keep an eye on is Antonio Woods. He's listed as an "athlete" and could potentially play defensive back or wide receiver. NU's coaches would probably cool on him if they don't want him in the secondary, and he still has to choose between football and basketball, but he has the Wildcats in his football top five, so he's worth keeping an eye on. There's also the chance that NU could offer someone else, but of the current offers, the players listed in these three sections look like the most likely options, and there doesn't look to be any frontrunner.