Monday Recruiting Insider
1. Adding a quarterback in the 2015 class is no longer an afterthought. Brandon Wimbush, a four-star Penn State commit of Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter’s Prep, took an official visit to Notre Dame over the weekend. Should Notre Dame offer, which more likely than not at this point, odds play heavily in the Irish’s favor to flip his commitment. It’s believed that Wimbush wants to stay closer to the east coast, and Notre Dame sits in close enough vicinity to fit that bill for both Wimbush and his mother. The two parties hooked up rather late in the recruiting cycle, as the visit to Notre Dame came about as unexpected piece of news that broke on Friday afternoon. However, that should be a non-factor for both sides going forward. He’s not gung-hoe about attending Penn State, and he never was from the start. In August, Wimbush gave serious consideration to flipping his commitment to Stanford before ultimately deciding location was an issue. He’s a Notre Dame-type of kid in plenty of facets. Arm strength sets him a part from other dual-threat prospects with similar running ability, and he’s learned the game from inside the setting of a big-time high school program. His offer list includes the likes of Miami, Michigan State, Ohio State, South Carolina and Stanford. We’ll likely have more on Wimbush’s visit and what’s next for him in the process this week. It’s a fair assessment that Notre Dame maintains position as the team to beat for 2016 five-star Malik Henry of Westlake (Calif.) High. It’s a Notre Dame – Florida State battle, and pending his high school football schedule, Henry could be in Tallahassee on Oct. 18 to take in what could potentially be a top five clash between the Seminoles and Irish. Regardless, a final decision should come within the next couple of months. 2. Stanford weekend provided another opportune setting for Notre Dame to host a plethora of elite prospects in the 2015 and 2016 classes. The Irish picked up its first commitment in the 2016 class when the nation’s No. 2 ranked offensive tackle gave his pledge before the start of the game on Saturday. Four-star Tommy Kraemer of Cincinnati (Ohio) Elder had been favoring Notre Dame for quite some time, and on Saturday he decided to end the process, ultimately choosing the Irish over Ohio State. He’s a big-time pickup, though it doesn’t come as a huge surprise as Harry Hiestand has the ability to lock down his prospects early in the cycle. Kraemer could be the start of another dynamite offensive line class for Notre Dame. We’ll have more analysis on his commitment and 2016 offensive line recruiting this week. Turning back the page to the 2015 class, Notre Dame hosted its remaining No. 1 wide receiver target and No. 1 safety target on official visits over the weekend. As we expected, four-star wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown of Anaheim (Calif.) Servite will visit UCLA and perhaps Utah and USC before making a final decision. Notre Dame in the drivers’ seat here. Four-star safety Frank Buncom of San Diego (Calif.) St. Augustine was thoroughly impressed with his time in South Bend, especially in regards to the campus atmosphere and the mixture of academics and athletics he observed. Despite Notre Dame’s decision to get involved here rather late (mid-September an offer was rendered), the Irish will make things interesting for the top-dog in his recruitment (Stanford) all he way until signing day. Mekhi Brown, a four-star Alabama defensive end commitment of Columbus (Ga.) Carver was in attendance this weekend on an official visit, but it’s going to take more than one solid weekend in South Bend to sway him from the Tide in the end. Same to be said for Florida State commitment, four-star safety Calvin Brewton of Miami (Fla.) Central, who will see Notre Dame play a second time this season in two weeks in Tallahassee. Finally, four-star linebacker and Michigan commit Darrin Kirkland of Indianapolis (Ind.) Lawrence Central visited Notre Dame on an unofficial visit on Saturday. It could be possible that Notre Dame holds off on extending an offer until it learns the destinations of Asmar Bilal and Te’Von Coney, both of whom present more versatility on the field than true middle ‘backer Kirkland. It’s also possible that once Brian VanGorder gets a chance to view more film of the No. 1 ranked player in Indiana, an offer could come as early as this week. As pointed out by Scout.com national analyst Allen Trieu, Kirkland committed to Michigan in May and never camped with Notre Dame; hence, an offer could have occurred had the staff been able to get a close-up look at him in June. 3. Three-star linebacker Te’Von Coney is nearing a decision… For quite some time now, we’ve been saying to expect a decision from Coney in the near future. After an official visit to the Swamp this weekend that’s supposedly on the docket, it would come as real shock if he doesn’t announce a decision shortly thereafter. The Palm Beach (Fla.) High product is down to Florida and Notre Dame. Coney gave the Irish the edge after his official visit earlier this season. But, to those who have been following Coney’s recruitment, they know that’s not a solid indication of where he’ll end up. He’s changed up his leader between Florida and Notre Dame multiple times since June. Notre Dame feels confident he’ll become Irish, though location could win out in the end here. Should he indeed choose Notre Dame this fall, he’ll still be one to monitor leading up to signing day. 4. Some quick-hitters regarding the top prospets left on the board in the 2015 class… Notre Dame continues to lead for its No.1 running back target, four-star Sotonye Jamabo of Plano (Texas) West. The back-up plan at this point would be going harder after three-star Kendall Bussey of New Orleans (La.) Isidore Newman, a Nebraska commitment who added an offer from Notre Dame towards the end of September. Tony Alford continued to recruit four-star back Nicholas Brossette of Baton Rouge (La.) University Lab despite his commitment to LSU, and it’s paying off in the form of an official visit. Brossette is expected on campus this weekend for the North Carolina game. And yes, he’ll be a tough steal from the Tigers. Four-star running back Cameron Scarlett of Portland (Ore.) Central Catholic will take his official visit to Notre Dame this weekend, though Stanford possesses a comfortable lead here. Things could get interesting at safety going forward considering Buncom doesn’t plan to make his decision until January or February. Notre Dame has made it clear it wants to sign another prospect at the position in this cycle. Other (realistic) targets at this point include three-star Gary Jennings of Stafford (Va.) Colonial Forge, who will take his official visit to Notre Dame in December, and Hunter Dale of River Ridge (La.) John Curtis who is also expected to take an official to Notre Dame at the conclusion of high school season. Defensive backs three-star Mook Reynolds and four-stars Minkah Fitzpatrick and Kahlil Haughton could also all schedule officials before it’s said and done. Other official visitors of note coming up – Four-star cornerback Ykili Ross will be on campus for the Louisville game… Things here are trending in the direction of him remaining on the west coast… A pair of wide receivers will visit Notre Dame in December in Cordell Broadus and Lawrence Cager… Five-star defensive back Iman Marshall is a long shot to land in Notre Dame, but still expect him to take an official visit this fall… Notre Dame continues to work on receiving a visit from east coast four-star defensive lineman Christian Wilkins, though three-star Bo Wallace and four-star Porter Gustin present likelier options for Notre Dame on the pass-rushing spectrum.