Northwestern was left off the final list, and to be frank, the team's recruitment of Kief appeared fairly dry in recent weeks. Were they likely to land Kief? With that list, you can't say for sure. Did they likely–and strategically–cool off their recruitment? You can almost guarantee it.
The story here: This "final four" is very real. With 11 commits in place, NU needs to fill those needs. They want to land defensive backs, outside linebackers and defensive ends. If they sign one more offensive player, I'll be signing an apology letter for misleading people. Run up and down that depth chart. On offense, it's loaded. On defense, there are still clear holes.
Right now, I'm staring at Ron Robinson, Grant Blankenship, Noah Furbush, Noah Westerfield, Brandon Lee and maybe a couple of others. Of course, they would love to steal Parrker Westphal or Garrett Dickerson. But do you want to risk the future of the team by signing an extra wide receiver? Maybe that's a little dramatic, but it had to enter the mindset of this coaching staff.
Eleven players do not make the class; the entire group does. A solid final stretch is essential. It's probable that they steered some of that recruiting mojo towards other prospects. This is not to insult Derek Kief. By all accounts–and our four-star rating–he's an excellent player.
The thinking, however, goes beyond the flashiness and rankings. Where is their next Tyler Scott? How do they shore up a still uncertain future secondary? Those are some of the many questions they need to address.
NU will not land Derek Kief. But we're sure that's O.K.