Big Board: Running back

In the May edition of the Big Board (running backs), you'll find the Irish have jumped into firm contention for some of the biggest names nationwide.

Notre Dame wants to take two running backs in the class of 2015. With Tarean Folston and Greg Bryant both green in their careers, that could provide hesitation for potential prospects. Obviously, the goal is to acquire two elite running backs with complimenting running styles, but I also think the staff would be pleased with getting one of their top prospects on board and gaining a commitment from a back that's more of a project but has the raw tools to develop.

Notre Dame has offered 17 running backs to date. Of those 17, six (Nicholas Brossette, Ronald Jones, Dexter Williams, Eric Swinney, Jordan Cronkrite, Bolu Olorunfunmi) have committed elsewhere. In particular, Brossette, Williams and Olorunfunmi are worth monitoring into the fall. It would not be surprising to see those three schedule official visits to Notre Dame down the road.

That leaves Notre Dame with 11 uncommitted running backs with offers on the board. (For Notre Dame's purposes, four-stars Kirk Merritt and Malik Lovette are considered slot wide receivers, though both could end up playing running back.)

Of those 11, eight are worth breaking down with consideration to the extent they're interested in Notre Dame, and vice versa, as the month of May marches on.

In order by prospects' rankings:

1. Sotonye Jamabo (Plano, TX, Plano West Senior) - Jamabo is visiting Notre Dame for Irish Invasion on June 20. He's one of Notre Dame's very top targets at the position, and the Irish have been recruiting him since his sophomore year. Jamabo took in Notre Dame vs. Arizona State last year in Dallas. Oklahoma is likely the team to beat at this point. Jamabo is Scout.com's No. 2 ranked running back.

2. Johnny Frasier (Princeton, N.C., High) - Frasier originally wanted to have a decision made in the summer, but a spike in his offer list will appear to delay that. He plans to have a list of 10 by August. Frasier is Scout.com's No. 3 ranked running back.

3. Jacques Patrick (Orlando, FL, Timber Creek) - Patrick has been on Notre Dame's radar since his freshman year. Patrick has always been reciprocal of Irish interest, and he's visiting for Irish Invasion. However, Florida and Florida State will be tough to beat.

4. Nyheim Hines (Garner, N.C., High) - Hines plans to enroll early, and he has said he'd like to visit Notre Dame either this summer or in the fall. He plans to run track in college, and that could deter him from leaving the South. He's being recruited as a running back/slot hybrid.

5. Josh Adams (Warrington, PA, Central Bucks South) - Adams is coming off a torn ACL as a junior, but that hasn't deterred Notre Dame from expressing serious interest. He will visit this summer in June, though whether he can make it to town for Irish Invasion is still not known. Adams plans to decide before the start of his senior season. Penn State is recruiting him hard as well.

6. Ray McCloud (Tampa, FL, Sickles) - McCloud plans on making a decision before the start of the summer, and he's visiting Notre Dame in July. McCloud has plans to graduate in December and enroll early. He's also considering Clemson, Florida, Ole Miss and UCLA.

7. Paul Lucas (Phoenix, AZ, Mountain Pointe) - He plans to run track in college, and he won the Arizona state championship in 2013 in the 100 meter. Arizona State is sitting in the best position. He could project in the slot as well.

8. T.J. Simmons (Lakeland, FL, High) - Simmons and Notre Dame may be forced to part ways sooner than later if Simmons opts to not take extra foreign language classes in order to catch up to the two-year requirement.

Running back Mike Weber of Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech is visiting Notre Dame in June for camp (most likely), and he could add an offer at that point in time. Notre Dame would be one of the favorites to land him, along with Michigan State and Wisconsin.


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