Conversations with college athletic directors are a new thing for Noah Westerfield. He experienced his first on Northwestern’s campus Friday, when Jim Phillips spoke with Westerfield and encouraged him to become a Wildcat.
“It really meant a lot,” he said Friday while preparing to spend the night in Evanston. “Just the fact that I got to meet the AD, that he took time out of his day, really showed me something.”
From the earliest conversations with Northwestern coaches months ago through his campus visit Friday, Westerfield has propped the Wildcats up near the top of his potential college destinations. The prestigious academics and close distance to some of his close family members have kept the Frisco (Texas) defensive end hooked.
There was some brief hesitation about his fit in Northwestern’s defensive scheme, although an important conversation with Pat Fitzgerald and instructive film work sessions with defensive line coach Marty Long have Westerfield confident he can find a niche in the Wildcats’ defensive line.
The visit answered all the remaining questions he had about Northwestern the campus – the pivotal tangible aspect Westerfield could only experience with a trip to Evanston. He liked what he saw.
“You could say it's the best visit I’ve had,” he said. “It felt comfortable.”
A day spent talking with coaches, eating with players and touring campus – plus the highlight of being subjected to the AD component of Northwestern’s recruiting pitch – confirmed everything Westerfield heard, read and hoped to be true about the Wildcats, who have officially taken the lead in Westerfield’s recruitment.
“I’d say it’s on top,” he said.
Weeks earlier, after a campus visit, Westerfield had indicated SMU was his top choice. His experience Friday forced him to update that ordering.
The next destination on Westerfield’s recruiting itinerary is Boise State, the hope being he can visit sometime in late July. Arizona State and TCU have started to ratchet up their efforts to sway Westerfield, but he has made no plans to visit either school at this point.
When Northwestern appeared to slip in Westerfield’s ranking of schools, he had yet to experience the Wildcats’ campus first-hand. Friday gave him that opportunity.
Campus experienced; list revised.
School: Wakeland (TX)
Other offers: Boise State, Duke, Fresno State, Navy, New Mexico, SMU
Profiles: Scout, Rivals, ESPN
Notes: Received offer on May 4; Reached out to NU and has Wildcats in his top three; Reaffirmed interest to InsideNU on May 21