It begins with the Dec. 30 Chesapeake Bowl in Maryland, with players reporting Tuesday. In the coming days, athletes will begin reporting for the Jan. 3 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl (Phoenix), the Jan. 5 Under Armour All-American Game (St. Petersburg) and the Jan. 7 U.S. Army All-American Bowl (San Antonio).
Scout.com will be out in force to cover the practices leading up to the games, and IrishEyes.com is giving a primer of what to look for since the Irish have prospects and commits in each of the games.
Under Armour All-American Game
Notre Dame commits
Ronald Darby, CB, 5-11, 180, Potomac High (Oxon Hill, Md.)
He is committed to Notre Dame but is set to visit Clemson next month. Darby already made visits to Auburn and Maryland, which is no longer in the running. Darby continues to say he is committed to Notre Dame, and showed up to watch a recent all-star practice wearing a Notre Dame sweatshirt.
Furthermore, while Darby continues to look at other options to make sure choosing the Irish was his best move, people close to him continue to support Notre Dame as the choice. (He is also playing in the Under Armour game).
Final word: He winds up Irish.
Notre Dame prospects
Joshua Garnett, OG, 6-5, 280, Puyallup (Wash.) High
The Irish have done a very good job of staying in it for Garnett, and he had a very good trip to campus earlier this month. The trip to Stanford will be pivotal.
Final word: The Stanford visit is crucial but the Irish have a shot
Nelson Agholor, WR, 6-1, 180, Berkeley Prep (Tampa)
He is a person who embraces Notre Dame's tradition and values, and he had a tremendous time during his October official visit. His skill level is unquestioned, which is why so many schools want him. Oklahoma is also involved, as is USC.
Final word: Irish have a legitimate shot
For a while it looked as though he was a Stanford lean, but a trip to Notre Dame enabled him to make up a lot of ground. Urban Meyer's arrival at Ohio State adds an interesting twist for Odenigbo, who is as much into academics as football (and that is a good thing).
Final word: The Irish are lagging, but in it
Davonte' Neal, ATH, 5-9, 175, Chaparral High (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
IrishEyes.com's take: Neal visited South Bend, Ind., in December and holds the Irish in high regard. Notre Dame made it a priority to visit Neal during the contact period earlier this month, and his visit to campus re-enforced how the Irish view him.
It has been a unique recruitment in that Neal's father, Luke, asked all schools to limit contact in the fall so he could focus on his season. Therefore, visits weren't set up early and Neal hadn't cut his list. While many prospects narrowed in on their choices or made decisions, Neal is still in the early process.
Final word: Notre Dame has a shot, but too early to really tell
Brian Poole, CB, 5-11, 195, Southeast High (Bradenton, Fla.)
It the Irish had a handful of commits in the game, this would be the opportunity for them to work Poole and flip him to the Irish. However, the lone Notre Dame commit in the game is Darby, so expect prospects from other schools to work him.
Final word: Looks UF-bound