That, of course, changed when Hardy bolted for Georgetown. As someone who's spent the better part of the last month focusing on the trail, I can guarantee there will be widespread effects of this decision.
Here are some major prospects whose recruitments will be altered–and probably hindered–by Hardy's departure.
Jordan Ash, 2015 point guard
Ash developed an excellent relationship with Hardy in the early stages of his high school career. Hardy immediately believed that he could be the point guard of NU's future, leading the program to give out a quick offer. The two communicated frequently up until the very end. Regardless of whether Georgetown pursues Ash–who still needs to round out his game–NU will need to prioritize that relationship in order to land the local guard.
A.J. Turner, 2015 shooting guard
Turner was among Hardy's favorites at NU. The raw but steady shooting guard attracted interest with his mid-range game and overall hustle. He became an even more intriguing candidate after reclassifying to the group of 2015 last month. He'd probably have earned an offer with Hardy's influence. Now, it remains to be seen whether the Wildcats will focus on Turner as part of their future.
Reid Travis, 2014 power forward
This one stings. Travis and Hardy forged a strong bond early in the recruiting process. Travis received his NU offer in late 2011, giving them an advantage in terms of relationships. Since then, the four-star power forward has seen his recruitment blow up. Though Travis told Purple Wildcats he speaks with Collins twice a week, this will still hurt the team's chances of landing a top recruit.
Evan Boudreaux, 2015 power forward
Boudreaux received an offer from the Carmody era, and immediately upon the former head coach's dismissal, Hardy made it clear the team was still after him. They, too, developed strong rapport and communication. Boudreaux was generally viewed as a likely candidate to join this program, and we'll see how intensely Collins and the new-look staff go after the scrappy power forward.
Aaron Jordan, 2015 shooting guard
An Illinois Stars (AAU) coach killed the anticipation when he tweeted late on Wednesday night that Hardy had already texted him. Yes, he said, Georgetown will go after Jordan—who projects to earn a four-star ranking when Scout.com updates its list. The dynamic shooting guard visited campus twice, and met Collins, but Hardy was leading his recruitment—and he could also pursue the athletic wing K.J. Santos. Regardless, this doesn't bode well for NU's chances of landing the talented local guard.
There's no doubt that Northwestern–under Chris Collins–can overcome this major setback. Still, the recruiting picture is left with more questions than answers as his tenure begins.