The Big Board: Defensive Targets

In the conclusion of her two-part Big Board update, Irisheyes.com recruiting reporter Anna Hickey reviews her list of Notre Dame's top 2014 defensive targets.

Note: You can find the entire offer list for the 2014 class pinned at the top of our Football Forum Message Board. The Big Board focuses on Notre Dame's top targets at each position, including those that have reciprocated Irish interest. Today's review is of the program's top targets on defense:

Hickey's Top Safety Targets

--Kyle Gibson (Seffner, Florida): Has a top four of Louisville, Notre Dame, South Florida, and Vanderbilt. No visit plans yet this summer, but he visited Vanderbilt this spring, after which he named Vanderbilt his leader. Until he visits Notre Dame, there's not a lot of momentum in favor of the Irish right now. Plans on taking official visits. His most recent offer came from Florida State.

--Quincy Wilson (Fort Lauderdale, Florida): Could project as a corner or safety in college. Hasn't named any favorites and will wait to narrow his list until after he takes visits this summer, including to Notre Dame. Also wants to visit Ohio State, Tennessee, USC, UCLA, LSU, and Alabama. His most recent offer came from Michigan.

-- Juju Smith (Long Beach, California): Has a top five of Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, UCLA, and USC. Has two official visits planned – Notre Dame on Oct. 18 and Michigan on Sept. 7. Alabama is his most recent offer.

Hickey's Top Cornerback Targets

-- Nick Watkins (Dallas, Texas): Won't name favorites, though he visited Notre Dame and Baylor this spring. Notre Dame is one of the favorites to land him, and he almost committed during his visit. Texas is also a major player. Expect him to take more visits this summer, and decide before his senior year.

-- Adoree Jackson (Gardena, California): Plans to narrow his list after he takes visits this summer. Hearing primarily from Florida, Florida State, Illinois, Michigan, Notre Dame, Tennessee, UCLA, and USC. Originally from the Midwest and distance is not a factor for Jackson.

-- Jonathan Lockett (Santa Ana, California): Plans to visit Notre Dame, Oregon, and Washington this summer. Oregon and UCLA are recruiting him the hardest, but he plans to take all of his official visits. Notre Dame's goal is to lock up an official visit from him this summer.

Hickey's Top Inside Linebacker Targets

-- Dante Booker (Akron, Ohio): Ohio State is his leader with Notre Dame not far behind. He visited for the spring game, and the Irish are really pushing for another visit this summer. Plans to commit during the summer, so another visit before then is crucial. Particularly drawn to the academics of Notre Dame and the specific plan the Irish have for him.

-- Richard Yeargin (Fort Lauderdale, Florida): Doesn't have an official list of favorites, but has said Florida, Michigan, Notre Dame, and South Carolina are sticking out to him. Will visit Notre Dame this summer with Quincy Wilson. Irish are in good position to land him, and he's a big priority for the staff.

-- Nyles Morgan (Crete, Illinois): Hasn't officially trimmed his list, but he's looking at Michigan, Michigan State, Mississippi, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Vanderbilt. Alabama and USC recently offered. Ole Miss may be the team to beat right now, and he didn't visit Notre Dame this spring, so the Irish could be on the outside looking in if he doesn't visit this summer. Plans on taking all of his official visits, so there's still a lot to play out in his recruitment.

Hickey's Top Outside Linebacker Targets

-- Andrew Williams (McDonough, Georgia): Will come out with an official top 10 soon, a list that will certainly include Notre Dame. He's been high on the Irish since visiting in January, and he plans on visiting again this summer, along with a long list of other schools. Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, and Tennessee are all contenders. Notre Dame is one of the favorites to land him, but he's not a lock. Plans to decide after his visits this summer.

-- Melvin Keihn (Baltimore, Maryland): Considering Georgia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech along with Notre Dame. Visited Maryland and Virginia Tech this spring. No visit plans yet for the summer, but Notre Dame could potentially land one. He has a good relationship with tight ends coach Scott Booker.

Hickey's Top Defensive Line Targets

-- Josh Frazier (Springdale, Arkansas): His top two are Alabama and Arkansas. Plans to announce his top five soon, and other schools in the mix right now are Auburn, Georgia, Notre Dame, Texas &M, and USC. Will take two of his officials to Alabama and USC, so Notre Dame is vying for one of two spots left in his top five. As reported this week, if he decides to take a foreign language, we will know how serious he is about Notre Dame.

-- Natrell Curtis (Phoenix, Arizona): Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, USC are in better position to land him than Notre Dame right now, but he does plan on visiting. Irish are recruiting him as a nose guard, though he can also play offense. Plans to take all of his officials. There's pressure for him to stay home.

--Khairi Clark (Hollywood, Florida): His leader is Miami, but he's also interested in Clemson, Georgia, Florida, and Nebraska. No visit plans yet for the summer, but a visit to Notre Dame could happen in the fall during an official if he hasn't yet committed.

--Matt  Nelson (Cedar Rapids, Iowa): Visited Notre Dame this spring and picked up an offer and will visit again on June 7. Notre Dame is a favorite to land Nelson, but Iowa State and Iowa are making a strong push for him to stay home. Also considering Arkansas, Iowa, and Nebraska.

-- Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, New York): No top schools, but plans to narrow his list at the end of the summer. Considering Alabama, Florida State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Rutgers, and Ohio State. He has visited Penn State and Rutgers so far. No visit plans set to Notre Dame yet.

Note: Click here for O'Malley's breakdown of the program's needs at each position on defense.

Click here for the Big Board Targets: Offense.


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