Monday Recruiting Insider
Notre Dame sits at No. 7 in the national team recruiting rankings - behind just Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Auburn and Texas A&M. Having received four commitments so far in the month of October, the chips have fallen much in Notre Dame's favor in key areas of need, specifically on the front seven on defense and at quarterback. Quarterback Brandon Wimbush - talk about a pleasant surprise. The former Penn State commit visited Notre Dame on an official visit for the Stanford game, and he was sold. Instrumental here was Notre Dame's success on the field this season. Pass-rusher Bo Wallace, linebacker Asmar Bilal and linebacker Te'Von Coney give Notre Dame depth, length, potential and an abundance of athleticism and project-like physical attributes that Brian VanGorder will no doubt embrace having the opportunity to mold. With 21 commitments total on board in 2015, three or four more should expect to be added. Taking more than four would certainly cause some attrition somewhere on the roster down the road. Where do the Irish add? Broken down in last week's Big Boards, running back, defensive lineman, pass-catcher and defensive back will be the areas of emphasis. Of those four positions, running back and defensive back (particularly safety) are most pertinent. What's up in Plano? As has been the case for months now, four-star running back Sotonye Jamabo of Plano (Texas) West is Notre Dame's top target on the board. He entered his official visit to Notre Dame (Oct. 4) with the Irish as his leader, and he exited that visit with that same outlook. A trip to UCLA weeks later opened his eyes to life on the west coast and caused him to hit pause on what once was considered a very pending commitment date. Now, Jamabo may take visits to Baylor, Texas A&M and Ole Miss before deciding, though it should be a Notre Dame - UCLA battle to the end. Brian Kelly and Irish recruiting coordinator Tony Alford visited Jamabo last week. His long-standing relationship with the Irish coaching staff coupled with the foundation and groundwork that Notre Dame offers on the field and off of it wins in the end. Prediction: Notre Dame Other targets at the position: Nicholas Brossette, Kendall Bussey, Jordan Cronkrite, Nyheim Hines, Cameron Scarlett Current commit: Four-star Josh Adams Searching for a safety As noted previously in the Big Board, following the 2014 season, only Drue Tranquill, Max Redfield, Nicky Baratti, Elijah Shumate, Matthias Farley and Eilar Hardy (and potentially a 6th year in Austin Collinsworth) are players capable of playing the safety position that will have eligibility remaining. Baratti has an uphill climb to come back from injury, Farley is better suited as a nickel back and Hardy is best reserved as a reserve, which leaves numbers thin. Notre Dame's No. 1 safety target is four-star San Diego (Calif.) St. Augustine's Frank Buncom. Notre Dame greatly improved its chances to land Buncom after he took an official visit (Oct. 4) and saw Notre Dame for the first time. Stanford is Notre Dame's greatest competition here, and the Cardinal have been recruiting Buncom for a longer period of time. Prediction: Stanford Other targets at the position: Calvin Brewton, Hunter Dale, Kahlil Haughton, Ronnie Harrison, Gary Jennings, Rashad Roundtree, Iman Marshall (cornerback), Ykili Ross (cornerback) Current commits: Prentice McKinney, Nicco Fertitta An elite receiving corp Notre Dame's three commits at the position already slot the Irish near the top of the wide receiver class rankings in this class. But, the Irish would ideally add one more. Four-star wide out Equanimeous St. Brown of Anaheim (Calif.) Servite has visited Notre Dame multiple times and has the Irish at the top of his list, though a decision doesn't appear likely until after the season. USC and Utah will receive visits before a decision is made. UCLA is also in the mix here. Five-star tight end Alize Jones of Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman is a UCLA commit, but he visited Notre Dame with teammate and Irish commit Nicco Fertitta for the Michigan game this season. Expect a visit back to Notre Dame for Jones, next time as an official. This could come down to one spot being up for grabs if other positions are filled first. Prediction: Jones - Notre Dame; St. Brown - Notre Dame Other targets at the position: Cordell Broadus, Lawrence Cager Current commits: Jalen Guyton, C.J. Sanders, Miles Boykin Defending the edge Notre Dame has commit Bo Wallace in the fold, who will be used in pass-rushing situations, but the Irish would ideally nab a commitment from a defensive end. Top of the list is four-star Porter Gustin of Salem (Utah) High, who is also highly considering USC. Gustin (6'4", 238), an extremely athletic player who can find a fit in multiple positions, is not nearing a final decision. His official visit to Notre Dame came for the Michigan game. Prediction: USC Other targets at the position: Mekhi Brown, Joseph Wicker (defensive tackle), Christian Wilkins (defensive tackle) Time will tell for Tillery? Notre Dame four-star offensive tackle commit of Shreveport (La.) Evangel Christian took an official visit to LSU for the Tigers' win over Ole Miss this past weekend. That marks his third time watching the Tigers play this year. Will have more forthcoming coverage on his visit, so stay tuned.
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