Four to Secure: Offense
With the recent commitments of running back Elijah Hood and offensive lineman Quenton Nelson, it gets a little dicier as who will be next to go Irish. But, it very well could be the guy we put No. 1 on this list. Note: All four of these guys have Notre Dame in their top group, but not necessarily as a stand-alone leader. 1. Alex Bars (Nashville, Tennessee) – Four-star offensive tackle Notre Dame legacy with brothers who currently play for Michigan and Penn State. Bars has made it clear that academics and a good relationship with the coaching staff are his main priorities, and it looks like Bars will leave the south for college and choose either Michigan or Notre Dame. Bars visited Notre Dame for junior day with his father and had a very good time. He also is very close with the coaching staff at Michigan, and obviously there is a comfortability factor there with his brother. He's not one that likes the attention of the recruiting process, so a decision could come at any time. He did say he'd like to decide late May/early June, so we'll see what happens in the next few weeks… We did hear a couple weeks ago that Notre Dame may have the slight edge, but I still think it could go either way on this one, and Bars hasn't disclosed enough details to make me think it's more than 50/50 between Notre Dame and Michigan at this point. 2. Corey Holmes (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) – Four-star wide receiver Holmes has liked what he's seen out of Notre Dame so much that he keeps coming back. He's made the trip to South Bend from Florida three times. He knows that he's a big priority for the coaching staff, and there could be opportunity for early playing time, something he has said will be a factor when choosing a school. Holmes is also considering Michigan, Miami, Oklahoma, and West Virginia, but none of those teams seem to be in better position with him than Notre Dame right now. Oklahoma might be the biggest competition heading into the summer before Holmes unofficially visits a few more places. Holmes could be ready to make a decision after this summer. Running back commit Elijah Hood is working him hard. 3. Braden Smith (Olathe, Kansas) – Five-star offensive tackle Smith is a game-changer if you can add him to your class, and he has practically every offer in the country. Smith visited Notre Dame this spring, and he really connected with the campus and the coaching staff. Reserved about recruiting, Smith did say that Ohio State and Michigan seemed too big for his liking, but Notre Dame was a school that had what he was looking for. Smith's current top three includes Notre Dame, Texas A&M, and TCU. Originally, the plan was for him to decide after taking all of his official visits, but he may want to end the recruiting process before his senior season if he knows where he wants to go. Smith plans on visiting places in the Southeast this summer, including Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, and South Carolina. I would say that those schools may pose as big of a threat to Notre Dame's chances as do the Texas schools in his top three. Smith wants a small-town feel atmosphere, and he could find that in the South. If Smith does end up taking officials, and I think he will, Notre Dame is in great position to get one. 4. Tyler Luatua (La Mirada, California) – Four-star tight end It was either wide receiver Mark Andrews or Luatua for this final spot, and Luatua won out because I'm confident Luatua has the Irish in his top three along with Alabama and USC, while Andrews is also highly considering Arizona, Arizona State, Michigan, Ohio State, and UCLA. Luatua has liked Notre Dame since very early on, and he's made it clear that this isn't a two-horse race between the hometown favorite Southern Cal and his brother's school, Alabama. He's set up an official visit to Notre Dame for the USC game this season (will be his first visit to South Bend), and he's also visiting Alabama for an official visit for their game against LSU. It will come down to what he's looking for, and Alabama, Notre Dame, and USC offer quite different atmospheres. If USC wasn't the big school in his backyard, I think it would be just between Alabama and Notre Dame. He will most likely decide late during his season or after his season ends.
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