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InsideNU Q&A: 24/7's Steve Wiltfong Talks NU Recruiting

Last night, we caught up with 24/7 National Insider Steve Wiltfong, who has become an authority on all things NU and Big Ten recruiting. Specifically, we talked about the recruitments of Parrker Westphal and Brandon Lee, as well as some other names to keep an eye on. Check out his thoughts below, and make sure to follow him on Twitter at @SWiltfong247. Also make sure to check out with 24/7 for recruiting news — they’re a great network and have been doing some outstanding work.

Recently you and a lot of other people at 24/7 have started calling Northwestern the favorite for Parrker Westphal?

“Northwestern’s done a fantastic job of recruiting Parrker from the beginning. He’s visited several times and Pat Fitzgerald’s taken over his recruitment as of late. Being a Chicago kid and as high profile as he is, he’s the top prospect, I would say, on Northwestern’s board. Maybe he’s not the best player — he’s a darn good player — obviously you can make an argument for Garrett Dickerson, and then there’s obviously guys like Brandon Lee, John Bonney and Terrance Alexander, but Parrker being a Chicago kid and being a high-profile Chicago kid would be an awesome get for Northwestern.

But it’s definitely not over. He’s going to continue to take his time.”

What are your thoughts on NU’s chances with Brandon Lee?

“He’s a guy that Northwestern had on campus back in the spring, and they offered him before he left, and Coach Springer and Coach Bates, they like what they see from him. He’s a guy that fits the mold of a Northwestern football player on and off the field. He fits what Northwestern likes to do defensively, and Northwestern’s obviously in it — they’re in the top five, he’s going to return, he knows what Northwestern can do for him on and off the field. He’s an aspiring orthopedic surgeon and Northwestern’s got a track record of having several players go straight from finishing up their football days to going to medical school and becoming a doctor.

There are so many positives. It’s close to home, it’s in the Big Ten so all the away games are pretty close to home, as well. So there are a number of reasons Brandon Lee is high on Northwestern. His official visit will tell a lot of it, and obviously Northwestern and their coaching staff had to smile a little bit when they saw that Brandon’s taking his official visit to Cal when they play Northwestern. It’s another opportunity for Brandon to see them play. If Northwestern can go out there and take it to Cal, don’t think that Coach Springer and Coach Bates and Coach Fitzgerald and those guys are not going to remind him on Monday, ‘Hope you had a great time watching us play at Berkeley. We can’t wait to have you in Evanston to watch us play then.’”

Is there a reason NU has been more successful in Chicago?

“In general they’ve been successful under Coach Fitzgerald becoming a consistent football team, and then you see what they’re doing off the field — No. 1 in the APR, the graduation rate. They have a full package to sell kids coming off a 10-win season where they trounced an SEC opponent in a New Year’s Bowl.

They’ve got to take it to another level, though, this year. All can be quickly forgotten if they regress to 7-5 this year, but they’ve go a really talented football team this year with a lot returning on both sides of the ball. If Northwestern finds a way to get into a BCS Bowl game, you know, wow, then what happens?”

We also asked Steve for some names to watch:

He noted Adam Soesman, who will likely take an official to NU in September, in a recent article. He says NU’s dream finish for its last three spots would be Westphal, Lee and Garrett Dickerson, though the Wildcats have a lot of work to do with all of them.