U.S. Army All-American Bowl preview

Previewing Notre Dame's presence at the 2015 U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas. Preparations for the game will begin Sunday, Dec. 28, and the Irish have a solid representation of both commitments and targets still on the board set to participate.

Irish Eyes will be on hand starting Sunday, Dec. 28 for all events and practices surrounding the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, featuring five Notre Dame commitments (Josh Barajas, Asmar Bilal, Nicco Fertitta, Tristen Hoge, and Jerry Tillery) and four targets (Jordan Cronkrite, Porter Gustin, Alize Jones, and Ykili Ross).

All five Notre Dame commitments will compete for the West.

Run down of the week's events

Sunday, Dec. 28: Players arrive in at the Grand Hyatt in San Antonio, Texas
Monday, Dec. 29: Practice 10-3
Tuesday, Dec. 30: Practice 10-3
Wednesday, Dec. 31: No practice
Thursday, Jan. 1: Practice
Friday, Jan. 2: U.S. Army Combine 7:30 - 4:30; Army Bowl Awards Show 8-9:30
Saturday, Jan. 3: U.S. Army All-American Bowl: Noon

(Full schedule here)

Examining the targets

Four-star RB Jordan Cronkrite (Miami, Fla., West Minister) - Cronkrite visited Notre Dame most recently for the Irish's awards banquet on an official visit. Other schools in contention include Louisville, Miami, and West Virginia. Notre Dame could be the dark horse in this race, especially if Notre Dame doesn't land top choices Ronald Jones and Sotonye Jamabo. West Virginia is pushing hard to land Cronkrite, especially after suffering a decommitment from one of its running backs. A decision date has not been announced. Cronkrite will compete for the East.

Four-star linebacker Porter Gustin (Salem, Utah, Highland) - Gustin is included on this list because Notre Dame is on his list of official contenders; however, if Gustin lands anywhere but USC (or Arizona State), it will be a surprise. He visited Notre Dame for the Michigan game this year, and he also saw the Irish play at Arizona State and at USC. He tentatively has an official set to USC for Jan. 17, and he intends to decide shortly thereafter. Gustin will compete for the West.

Five-star tight end Alize Jones (Las Vegas, Nev., Bishop Gorman) - A UCLA commit, Jones is expected to give signing with Notre Dame serious consideration. UCLA will receive an official visit from five-star tight end Chris Clark in January, and it's doubtful the Bruins will sign both elite tight ends. Jones took an official to Notre Dame for the awards banquet. He also visited Notre Dame on an unofficial visit earlier this season with teammate and Irish commit Nicco Fertitta. While there's reason to be optimistic about Notre Dame's chances to flip Jones, it's certainly not a given, and if signing day were tomorrow, UCLA would likely ink him. Jones will compete for the West.

Four-star defensive back Ykili Ross (Riverside, Calif., Poly) - Ross is down to ASU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and USC, and he'll announce his decision at the game. The only two schools of the group to receive officials were USC and Notre Dame. Notre Dame already conducted its in-home with Ross, which didn't increase the Irish's chances to land him. USC is the favorite. Ross will compete for the West.

*Worth noting that I touched base with four-star defensive lineman Joseph Wicker of Long Beach (Calif.) Poly, who had planned on giving a Notre Dame an official visit before announcing his decision. That's no longer the case, and Wicker will choose between Arizona, Arizona State, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and UCLA.

***Tomorrow Irish Eyes will preview Notre Dame's presence in both the Under Armour All-America Game and Semper Fidelis Bowl.

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