Monday Recruiting Insider

Stories and news from The Opening are further decoded, summer announcements are foreshadowed, and Notre Dame's top prospects left in 2015 are listed...

1. Starting with a recap of The Opening, the two biggest storylines to come out of Oregon last week for Notre Dame involve linebacker Te’Von Coney and quarterback Deondre Francois.

Just two weeks ago, Notre Dame was thought to have dropped off the map completely for Florida native quarterback Deondre Francois. Notre Dame jumped in Francois’ top six when the Irish offered him post- Blake Barnett’s decommitment. Then, Francois cited his lack of relationship with the staff as his reasoning for dropping them from contention. In latest news, at The Opening, Francois said he still plans on announcing his college commitment at the end of this month, but he plans to visit Notre Dame before deciding. Notre Dame makes up part of his top four (Auburn, Florida State, Oregon). While it’s still considered tough odds for Notre Dame to pull off the upset, a visit to campus shouldn’t be understated.

If you thought Notre Dame was done with adding commitments until official visit season kicked into gear, maybe think again. Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) High linebacker Te’Von Coney named Notre Dame as a co-leader with Florida following his experience at Irish Invasion in June. He spoke at length about his immediate plans for the rest of summer, which includes an August announcement date. The sooner he plans to decide, the better for the Irish.

A few other quick hits of note to come out of Beaverton:

- While five-star defensive end Byron Cowart is taking an official visit to Notre Dame, the Irish still have a lot of work to do here. Oregon, Clemson, LSU, Florida and Alabama are all very much in the mix. But, Notre Dame is the outlier of that group, and that could be grounds for a momentum swing in the Irish’s favor this season.

- UCLA and Oregon are going to be stiff competition for four-star slot wide receiver Ryan Newsome, and the same is to be said about UCLA and USC for linebacker/defensive end Porter Gustin. Florida State and Alabama are the leaders for four-star running back Jacques Patrick.

- Four-star defensive end Austin Bryant could end up making his decision before the start of the season. Florida and Clemson are the favorites.

- Notre Dame continues to sit in high standing with four-stars wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown and running back Sotonye Jamabo. Both are set to return to Notre Dame this fall for visits.

- Four-star California wide receiver Cordell Broadus plans to take an official visit to Notre Dame in the fall.

- Miami commit four-star running back Dexter Williams spoke about focusing on USC, Michigan, Notre Dame, Florida and Ohio State going foward. The Irish are in good position to receive an official visit.

- Linebacker Osa Masina left Notre Dame off his top five and linebacker Adonis Thomas will focus on Alabama and Florida going forward.

- Canadian defensive end Neville Gallimore remains open to "all schools" fighting for contention to land an official visit.

2. Just my two cents about two hot names surrounding Notre Dame recruiting in the past two months.

Ohio State commits Justin Hilliard and Jashon Cornell are solid four-star players who rank among the top guys in the Midwest for the 2015 class. But, too much emphasis was placed on the “do or die” mentality of landing these guys. It stemmed from the fact that both were on Notre Dame’s radar very early in their football careers, both are from the Midwest, both were also being targeted by Michigan and Ohio State, and in Hilliard’s case, the number of visits he took to Notre Dame’s campus was nothing short of six. Obviously, this opinion won’t ring true with everyone, but a Cornell-type is a dime a dozen in states like Georgia and Florida. Hilliard is a very elite player, and that assumption is less accurate for a player of his caliber, but nonetheless, the weeks (more like months) of heavy media/fan hype leading up to their announcements and make-or-break recruiting classes were disproportionate.

If Notre Dame can land hard-nosed weak-side linebacker Te’Von Coney and versatile, but raw strong-side linebacker Asmar Bilal, the upside for the future doesn’t skip a beat. The outlook at defensive end is a little different, and being straightforward, it will be an uphill climb to land Byron Cowart, Keisean Lucier-South, Joseph Wicker, Porter Gustin, or Rasheem Green. However, those are some extremely elite guys, and it’s my opinion Cornell doesn’t fall in that category. An elite pass-rusher in this class would be more than ideal, and despite the challenges that lie ahead, Notre Dame is in solid position to fight to land one. And don’t forget last year, albeit it was a unique situation with Brian VanGorder coming aboard late in the recruiting year and taking a near 180-degree turn from how Bob Diaco recruited the line, Notre Dame was able to put together a solid defensive line class with the late additions of Daniel Cage and Pete Mokwuah.

3. Closing with the top 15 names on Notre Dame’s board…

(No order)

1. LB Asmar Bilal

2. RB Sotonye Jamabo

3. WR Equanimeous St. Brown

4. DE Byron Cowart

5. RB Jacques Patrick

6. DE Keisean Lucier-South

7. DE Joseph Wicker

8. LB Te’Von Coney

9. CB Iman Marshall

10. QB Deondre Francois

11. LB Porter Gustin

12. WR Ryan Newsome

13. DT Neville Gallimore

14. DE Rasheem Green

15. RB Dexter Williams

Note: Tuesday will begin July's edition of the Big Board.

IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories