When Scott left, they developed players to replace him. When this group leaves, they'll need to do the same. It explains NU's intense focus on defensive ends this recruiting season, and it looks as though the ‘Cats will take two more for the 2015 class.
On that front, one priority is Malvern (Pa.) three-star prospect Ryan Buchholz, who expressed strong interest in Northwestern during an interview with PurpleWildcats.com.
"In the summertime, I'll be making a trip to the Midwest," Buchholz said. "I'll definitely be visiting Northwestern."
Superbacks coach Bob Heffner—an incredibly successful area recruiter—is starting to create a bond with Buchholz. Heffner has visited the defensive end at Great Valley HS on multiple occasions, with position coach Marty Long also checking him out. (The Wildcats offered last month.)
"Coach Heffner has been to my school a lot," Buchholz said. "He just wants to talk and keep up. We've had very long conversations about the school, about the team, and he's letting me know about everything."
The pitch, as usual, focuses on academics. Buchholz considers it NU's calling card: "If you go to Northwestern, you'll definitely get a job."
NU will face stiff competition in landing the highly touted defensive end. Buchholz said Maryland and Virginia are among the schools pursuing him the hardest, with interest coming in from Ohio State, Michigan State and Penn State.
The Wildcats are also gunning for other defensive end standouts, including Jacob Robinson of Westfield (Ind.) and, most recently, Jamie Gordinier of Red Bank (N.J.). In almost all situations, NU will compete with other elite schools for recruits, so they cast the net wide.
Buchholz has become a major priority, though, and when he visits this summer, he'll have a chance to test Northwestern for all of his ideal characteristics in a school.
"I'm definitely first about academics," Buchholz said. "Along with that: the team, the environment, where the school's located, all stuff like that."
Buchholz or not, NU won't stop in its intense pursuit.