Notre Dame Official Visit Primer: Part II

A horde of prospects are making official visits this weekend as Notre Dame hosts USC. So, what does it mean? And what is the key point(s) for each visitor? IrishEyes.com breaks it down in a reader-friendly format.

Recruitapallooza begins Friday, with so many recruits rushing from games and scurrying to catch late flights to the Notre Dame campus for Saturday's game against USC it is like hustling to grandma's house the day before Thanksgiving.

Yes, there is that much excitement, and that many people coming from all over the country to see if Notre Dame holds that something special for them.

The weekend will be filled with the usual stuff, like getting academic presentations, touring the campus, learning about the social life, meeting the coaches and watching a football game. It just so happens this is the first night game in decades at Notre Dame Stadium, it is against archrival USC, and there will be more big-name talent in attendance than at a post-season all-star game.

In fact, the weekend is exploding so much IrishEyes.com had to roll out its "Official Visit Primer" a few days early, now brings you the second installment.

To help you get primed for the biggest recruiting weekend of the season, IrishEyes.com takes a look at who is coming, and what are the most important aspects of the weekend regarding each prospect.

John Theus
Position: OT
School: The Bolles School (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Height: 6-6
Weight: 292
Scout.com Position Rank: Five-star, 3rd
Schools under consideration: Committed to Georgia
Official visits made: This will be his first
Official visits on schedule:
What this visit means: If Georgia changes coaches, this will be a huge visit. If not, it will be a free trip in which Theus got to watch one of the best rivalries out there.

Theus is committed to Georgia, and he is telling the Bulldogs staff and the Irish staff the only reason he is making the trip is in case something crazy happens with oft-embattled coach Mark Richt at Georgia.

Theus said if Richt is the coach, he will sign with the Bulldogs. Things change, especially in recruiting, but Notre Dame has its work cut out on this one.

Ishmael Adams
Position: CB
School: Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, Fla.)
Height: 5-10
Weight: 185
Scout.com Position Rank: Four-star, 10th
Schools under consideration: Notre Dame, California, UCLA, Arizona State
Official visits made: This will be his first
Official visits on schedule: Plans on taking officials to his other schoos
What this visit means: Adams is a long shot for Notre Dame, and a player that for a while didn't have the Irish on his radar. He consistently talks about his favorite schools, and Notre Dame is rarely on the list.

That Adams is willing to make the visit to South Bend, Ind., is encouraging, and knowing he moved from Georgia to SoCal, distance doesn't appear to be a factor.

Put this one in the you-never-know category, but from talking to Adams several times, the Irish certainly need the 48 hours to make up ground.

Zach Banner
Position: OT
School: Lake High (Lakewood, Wash.)
Height: 6-9
Weight: 295
Scout.com Position Rank: Five-star, 8th
Schools under consideration: Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, USC, Washington
Official visits made: Michigan (9/10), Oklahoma (9/24)
Official visits on schedule: Nothing yet, but he will visit USC and Washington
What this visit means: This will give Banner a chance to see the game-day atmosphere and also see how he could fit into the offensive line, particularly at left tackle.

It is also a situation where Notre Dame will likely have to hit a home a run because getting Banner out of the Pacific Northwest will be trying, and then getting him off the West Coast will be even tougher.

Keivarae Russell
Position: RB
School: Mariner High (Everett, Wash.)
Height: 5-11
Weight: 170
Scout.com Position Rank: Four-star, 22nd
Schools under consideration: Notre Dame, California, Boise State, USC, Washington
Official visits made: This will be his first
Official visits on schedule: Plan is to visit the other four schools
What this visit means: If there is one non-committed player from the West Coast who could be wooed and leave South Bend, Ind., with the Irish ranked very high on his list, it is Russell.

Notre Dame runs the type of offense Russell could excel in, and seeing it in person could accentuate what the coaching staff has been telling him. Russell can play running back and slot receiver, and he is intrigued by the prospect of doing both.

This is a chance for Notre Dame to make a huge impression, and if that happens, by the time he leaves campus Monday he could be looking very favorably at Notre Dame.

Shaquille Thompson
Position: S
School: Grant High (Sacramento)
Height: 6-2
Weight: 210
Scout.com Position Rank: Five-star, 1st
Schools under consideration: California, Notre Dame, Oregon, Washington
Official visits made: Washington (9/23), Oregon (10/15)
Official visits on schedule: Nothing schedule, but expect one to Cal
What this visit means: Thompson's recruitment has been strange in that he committed to Cal, then changed his mind shortly thereafter because he felt he made a snap decision.

Notre Dame also was sporadic in the spring and summer with his recruitment as Thompson said on several occasions he had not heard from the Irish, only to have Notre Dame push hard after that.

Now, Thompson is coming to Notre Dame to check out the campus, meet with the coaches and see the program up-close and personal. One good thing is Thompson's leader is Oregon, and prior to that Cal and Washington were high on his list.

So it means with a strong visit, Thompson could be swayed because his mind seems open.

Justin Ferguson
Position: WR
School: Flanagan High (Pembroke Pines, Fla.)
Height: 6-2
Weight: 200
Scout.com Position Rank: Three-star, 105th
Schools under consideration: Committed to Notre Dame
Official visits made: This will be his first
Official visits on schedule: None
What this visit means: When Ferguson first committed, he toyed with the idea of making other visits. That thought process has subsided, and he recently told Scout.com he isn't hearing from other schools after he made it known he would not go anywhere else.

So, this weekend is part joy ride, part intense workout.

Ferguson will be asked to sell Notre Dame to the uncommitted players, and he will have plenty of help from other committed player in attendance.


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