Final Three: The Big July

Updating our "Final Three" feature with one new addition.

We knew the momentum would slow eventually. When Nathan Hall committed to Northwestern one day after receiving an offer, the Wildcats had filled 80 percent of their 2014 class. Now, the class faces two major needs at defensive back and defensive end. They would accept another linebacker, as evidenced by their strengthening pursuit of four-star talent Brandon Lee.

Still, if they accept Lee–or any other player they don't "need"–the Cats will close on other targets and focus on these areas. Is it a slowed process? Yes. Is it beneficial? Yes. This week last year was the "domino" time for NU football, when several players committed. Now, it's a little more subdued, and for good reason.

It's important to close on the right players at the right positions. The first 12 were nice, but the last three could help to define the overall class. It's about more than the rankings; it's all about finding the right pieces and NU is happy to focus on the smaller picture.

It's time to update the Final Three commit predictions, with one new entry and a couple of older faces.

Noah Westerfield

SMU set the bar high for Westerfield with an impressive visit. He's among the team's top 2014 priorities, and his list is (unofficially) down to three: SMU, Boise State, Northwestern. Westerfield would be an ideal fit at defensive end, and an excellent visit this Friday could put NU squarely in the driver's seat for his pledge.

Though NU needs a defensive end, there's certainly no urgency. Westerfield, Garrett Dickerson, Jaylen Johnson, Grant Blankenship and Bobby Okereke have all told writers they consider NU very highly—in varying degrees. There's no hurry at this point: They just need to get it right.

Bobby Okereke

Today, I'm going to say they land two potential defensive ends. Okereke might even fit the superback prototype, but NU could use some positional depth. The three-star end raved about the NU program this past week, adding that he's likely to visit in late July or early August.

This would be an impressive get. Though offer lists can be poor indicators, his is loaded. NU stands out with its academic reputation, some convincing efforts from coaches and its location. This will be another crucial time, in that the Chicago comfort could vault NU ahead of the pack.

Ron Robinson

So, Robinson's recruitment has heated up. Still, visits can be more influential than expected. The Corona (Calif.) safety will show up on campus, and that could easily sway him. One important note: NU and Jerry Brown believed in him from the beginning.

This team badly wants depth at safety. Even with Traveon Henry as the future, and Jordan Thomas as one of the most hyped commits of this 2014 class, the Cats are looking to score more safety talent. They picked up several future cornerbacks in the 2013 group; it's interesting to see them honing in on another need.

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