With six months left until Signing Day, the Northwestern Wildcats are putting together one of the best recruiting classes in the history of the program. Chicago's Big Ten Team has 13 verbal commitments to the Class of 2014, including three players with consensus four-star ratings. The class is good enough to earn a 37th overall national rating from 247Sports. Northwestern ranks sixth in the Big Ten.
The Wildcats have not landed a new recruit since early July, when three-star outside linebacker Noah Westerfield gave his verbal commitment. Westerfield, who hails from Waco, Tex., picked Northwestern over Boise State, Duke, SMU, Wake Forest, and three others. Westerfield stands 6'3, weighs 220 pounds, and is widely considered one of the nation's top 75 outside linebacker recruits.
Northwestern has upgraded significantly at the skill positions, an improvement embodied by four-star halfback Justin Jackson out of suburban Carol Stream, Ill. Jackson, a consensus national top-3 halfback and one of Illinois' best players, chose the Wildcats over Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Vanderbilt, Syracuse, Minnesota, and a host of other suitors.
The Wildcats also added an early commitment from pro-style quarterback Clayton Thorson from Wheaton, Ill. Thorson is also among Illinois' best players and a consensus top 15 passing quarterback, with an offer list including Illinois, Tennesee, Ole Miss, Penn State, Iowa, and NC State.
Galion, Ohio athlete Dareian Williams has also committed to the Wildcats. Williams, who stands 6'2 tall and weighs 192 lbs., projects as a wide receiver or dual-threat quarterback in college. The four-star prospect chose Northwestern over offers from much of the Big Ten, including Penn State, Michigan State, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Purdue, Indiana, and Minnesota. Georgia Tech, Louisville, and Cincinnati also extended scholarship offers to Williams.
Northwestern's top target seems to be cornerback Parrker Westphal, a four-star from Bollingbrook (Il.) High School. Westphal holds offers from Michigan, Nebraska, and others. He has excellent size at 6'0.