The Reaction: Doles Another Steal

Don't worry about whether Michigan pulled its offer for three-star offensive guard Tommy Doles. The three-star offensive guard loves NU, and he'll fit in exceptionally well.

We can get lost in fruitless discussion.

When three-star offensive guard Tommy Doles committed to Northwestern on Friday–and first spoke to–many wondered whether this marked a true recruiting victory.

Tracking "leaders" becomes one tedious process. If the prospect has one high-major offer, that high-major offer is almost always his "leader."

Aside from the elite-level prospects, it grows increasingly difficult to care about "Oh, maybe top three" or "Yeah, they might be near the top." Lists can be useful. Otherwise, making sense of the process is nearly impossible.

For good reason, recruits change faces depending on the situation. And also, if the kid just visited, there's a 95 percent chance he "loved it and is ‘high'" on the program. That's often wasting an article.

Tommy Doles called Michigan the frontrunner to Michigan Scout after visiting Michigan. Shocker.

Because, you know, he's not going to get on the phone and talk about Pat Fitzgerald to Wolverines beat writers.

After signing Juwan Bushell-Beatty, you could speculate the Wolverines pulled Doles' offer. But he loved NU. That's what matters. He raved about the decision on Friday, and I immediately understood his energy and passion for the program.

Players know that to ensure spots in particular classes, they need to move quickly. For Michigan, Doles didn't. He stalled to re-evaluate.

NU's reputation has steadily grown–as evidenced by the Watkins signing and several other 2014 coups. Doles highly values academics and character. If analysts chose one program to define those qualities, NU would likely top the list of findings. And in recent history, NU and coach Adam Cushing have developed O-line prospects better than most. It's a savvy on-field choice.

As his recruitment stagnated–with NU and Michigan the two beasts–one thing became certain: the Wildcats aren't the "fallback" anymore. They're in fact routing Michigan State on the trail. (Chris Durkin probably would've chosen NU as well.) It hasn't quite been like this before.

The offensive line is, get this, set for years after strong 2013 and 2014 classes. They'll add pieces, no doubt, but Cushing has an excess of solid players to work with. Matt Alviti and Clayton Thorson just commenced slow-claps during their midday high school classes. Doles projects to be another excellent addition up front. Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. Regardless of the situation, Doles is a steal.

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