August recruiting mailbag

With the start of the fall season less than a week away, Irish Eyes answers your recruiting questions. Included is a prediction on how the 2015 class will finish, the elite prospects Notre Dame has the best chance to land, and a preview of official visitors expected on campus this fall.

1. What is your best prediction to how Notre Dame finishes this class?

There will undoubtedly be guys that pop up on Notre Dame’s radar during this season, and even after the season (see last year’s additions of defensive linemen Daniel Cage and Pete Mokwuah), so predicting a final finish this time of year has its challenges.

Nonetheless, my prediction would include adding running back Sotonye Jamabo, wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, weak-side linebacker Asmar Bilal, and cornerback Ykili Ross. That would bring Notre Dame to 21 commitments. With the Irish looking to sign 22-23, the extra spot(s) is reserved for a pass-rushing defensive end. Ideally, Notre Dame would sign a quarterback as well, though it’s not considered an absolute must, and the Irish will pass at the position should they not accrue specifically what they want. Look for Notre Dame to continue to seek potential signal-callers this season, whether its courting prospects currently committed to other programs or finding a work in progress with lots of upside (the latter less likely).

It’s worth nothing that included in my final prediction is Notre Dame signing current offensive tackle commit Jerry Tillery, despite his plans to visit LSU and Texas A&M this season.

2. Who are some elite guys (four- and five-stars) Notre Dame has the best chance to land?

Including the aforementioned prospects, that list includes:

Five-star cornerback Iman Marshall, four-star linebacker Bo Wallace, four-star defensive end Joseph Wicker, four-star running back Cameron Scarlett, four-star defensive lineman Christian Wilkins, four-star defensive lineman Neville Gallimore

To a somewhat lesser extent, that list includes:

Five-star linebacker John Houston (USC), five-star defensive lineman Rasheem Green (USC), four-star wide receiver K.J. Hill, four-star wide receiver Cordell Broadus (USC), four-star linebacker Porter Gustin (USC), four-star wide receiver Lawrence Cager (Ohio State), four-star cornerback John Reid (Penn State), and three-star athlete John Humphrey (Oklahoma commit)

And, finally:

Five-star defensive end Byron Cowart (Florida), four-star wide receiver Malik Lovette (Oregon) and three-star linebacker Te’Von Coney (Florida)

3. On the situation regarding Anaheim (Calif.) Servite wide receiver prospect Equanimeous St. Brown and his suspension from his team…

St. Brown was suspended a few weeks ago but reinstated days later.

According to a source, “It (suspension) wasn’t that big of a deal, nothing drug or alcohol related.”

4. What are Notre Dame’s chances of landing four-star linebacker Asmar Bilal?

Bilal has been covered in-depth on this site since Notre Dame started recruiting him. I still maintain that Notre Dame would land him over Michigan in an extremely close race should his decision come today. However, Bilal is unsure of when that decision will come, though it could happen with or without him taking additional visits to both schools. I also still believe that he would be committed to Notre Dame by now if it were not the all-out efforts put forth by Michigan assistants Greg Mattison and Curt Mallory to lure him to Michigan. Bilal finds favor with the smaller campus of Notre Dame and what an Irish degree means. Providing slight hesitation for Bilal is the unknown nature of the rigorous expectations of being a Notre Dame student-athlete, and namely, a football player.

5. Why does it seem like there are not many elite (2015) recruits mentioning Notre Dame?

I would argue otherwise for the most part.

Take a look at who has scheduled official visits to Notre Dame this fall.

Five-star cornerback Iman Marshall, four-star linebacker Bo Wallace, four-star running back Soso Jamabo, four-star wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, four-star cornerback Ykili Ross, four-star wide receiver K.J. Hill, four-star linebacker Porter Gustin, three-star linebacker Te’Von Coney, and four-star running back Cameron Scarlett

In addition, the following have Notre Dame listed among their top schools:

Five-star linebacker John Houston - top 13, four-star defensive lineman Neville Gallimore – top seven, four-star wide receiver Lawrence Cager – top seven

Notre Dame doesn’t have an abundance of spots to fill, so there’s not going to be 30+ prospects mentioning Notre Dame at this point.

Where could be considered “an area of concern” is defensive end. Notre Dame is in the hunt to land Gallimore, Wilkins and Wicker, though the Irish face tough battles there. It is promising that Wicker continues to mention Notre Dame as a school that will "for sure" receiver an official visit. An update on him and his fall plans here, including why Notre Dame is set to receive an official: click here

6. A few other points worth a mention:

- Sept 1. marks the start of the fall evaluation period and is the date in which college coaches can initiate phone calls with high school seniors. It is also the day written offers and tailored recruiting materials can be sent to juniors.

On Twitter, Brian Kelly has made reference to the 2016 class using this hash tag: #NDSS16

On Monday evening, he tweeted: “7 days till Sept 1st. Had a quick recruiting meeting after practice to add a couple 2016's to the #NDSS16”

The hash tag stands for "Notre Dame Shamrock Series 2016," which refers to packages that certain members of the 2016 class will receive in the mail telling them more about the history and tradition of Notre Dame.

It looks like in addition to watching game film from Rice, the staff will have other orders of business on Sunday.

- Notre Dame is listed among the top schools for a number of elite juniors:

Five-star quarterbacks Malik Henry and Shea Patterson, four-star quarterbacks K.J. Costello, Dwayne Haskins and Jawon Pass, four-star offensive linemen Tommy Kraemer, Liam Eichenberg and Ben Bredeson, four-star running back Robert Washington, four-star wide receivers Austin Mack and Desmond Fitzpatrick, four-star tight end Jake Hausmann, four-star defensive linemen Auston Robertson and Josh King, and four-star linebacker Ethan Tucky Top Stories