Master List: Defense

Notre Dame is desperate for help in the secondary. With Nathan Meadors’ visit complete, Justin Reid’s trip to South Bend upcoming and Arrington Farrar now on the board, the Irish seem to have the targets to finish this job.

Defensive Line Offer Visit Our Take

6-5, 273
Bolingbrook, Ill.
Yes Yes Outlook: The Semper Fi All-American enrolled at Notre Dame for the spring semester and should be a deep reserve during his first full year on campus. For a program short on bodies at defensive tackle, Dew-Treadway will help.

6-3, 285
Cincinnati, Ohio
Yes Yes Outlook: Taylor was back on campus for a final time before National Signing Day when he took part in the Jan. 16 weekend of visitors. He’s been solid since his summer commitment, going with Notre Dame over in-state power Ohio State.

6-4, 296
Indianapolis, Ind.
Yes Yes Outlook: Tiassum is a big body for Notre Dame’s strength staff to mold and the coaching staff to polish during the coming years. He’s a raw prospect that helps fill a long-term need along the interior defensive line.

6-4, 202
River Ridge, La.
Yes Yes Outlook: Wallace jumped up to four-star status with his quick first step, shown at the Semper Fi game. He needs a couple years in the weight room to add strength, but natural football speed is already part of his game.
Notes: Even if Jerry Tilley starts his career on the defensive line during spring practice, the biggest goal for this position was a ready-made pass rusher, a spot where the Irish came up short. Bo Wallace showed good quickness at the point of attack during Semper Fi, enough to earn a bump in the rankings, but he has a ways to go in the weight room before growing into an every-down defensive end. If the Irish can afford to red shirt Wallace it would be a smart move to extend his career. The same goes for the rest of the position now loaded with interior prospects. With Sheldon Day back to go with a healthy Jarron Jones, Notre Dame should have some decent depth on the interior line with Jay Hayes and Daniel Cage in reserve. If Pete Mokwuah can give the Irish a few snaps as the fifth interior lineman, Notre Dame can afford to save Elijah Taylor, Brandon Tiassum, Micah Dew-Treadway and Tillery. At a minimum, the Irish should be able to preserve a lot more of the class than last year when Cage, Hayes, Andrew Trumbetti, Kolin Hill and Grant Blankenship all played. This position needed an Aaron Lynch type of edge rusher to meet all needs. It didn’t get that job done, but the Irish have a Plan B in Wallace, building on last year’s group of Hill and Jhonny Williams.
Linebacker Offer Visit Our Take

6-3, 210
Merrillville, Ind.
Yes Yes Outlook: Barajas had a strong week at the Army Bowl and ranked among the top performers on the West squad. He’s been solid since his summer flip from Penn State and could play multiple linebacker spots.

6-3, 210
Indianapolis, Ind.
Yes Yes Outlook: Bilal said Jim Harbaugh’s hiring at Michigan will have no effect on his decision, which is good news considering he was torn between the Irish and Wolverines earlier in the process.

6-1, 222
Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Yes Yes Outlook: Coney enrolled at Notre Dame as planned, giving the Irish an athletic inside linebacker with speed to play hash to hash. While he’s not elite in terms of recruiting rankings, Notre Dame believes Coney is undervalued in terms of his natural skill set.
Notes: There was only a flicker of indecision in recruiting’s final month at linebacker, with Florida attempting to restart its chase for Tevon Coney. The early enrollee also visited Miami but said ended up enrolling at Notre Dame for the spring semester. He’ll be joined by Asmar Bilal and Josh Barajas as Notre Dame puts together three straight strong groups at the position, which had been a challenge in previous regimes. What that means is the Irish shouldn’t have to rely on freshman or sophomore talent much moving forward after starting three different freshmen the past two years plus a converted sophomore receiver. The Irish can finally red shirt at the position too, an impossibility last season due to injuries and a lack of depth. Coney is an inside linebacker at the will or mike positions with Bilal a likely sam on the edge. Barajas may have the most versatility of the three after essentially playing each of the positions during his prep career. He was the most impressive prospect in the linebacker class at his all-star stop. Bilal and Barajas both played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl while Coney played in the Under Armour All-America Game.
Defensive Back Offer Visit Our Take
Buncom IV

6-1, 188
San Diego, Calif.
Yes Yes Update: Virtually all signs point to Stanford, with a Jan. 28 decision scheduled. Brian Kelly wants to get in-home with Buncom before that announcement, but the Cardinal will be tough to beat for the swing safety/cornerback.

6-0, 175
Kettering, Ohio
Yes Yes Outlook: Coleman starred at defensive back and running back during his senior year and projects at corner in South Bend. His father played at Notre Dame briefly before transferring.

5-9, 165
Lakewood, Ohio
Yes Yes Outlook: Crawford turned in a strong week at Under Armour. While he was a notch below the elite corners there, he practiced well and played well during the game. He should afford the Irish quality depth immediately.

6-1, 195
College Park, Ga.
Yes No Update: Notre Dame still wants to get Farrar on campus for an official visit. Brian VanGorder and Scott Booker have both made visits to the Georgia prospect and former Stanford commit, who comes from a strong academic prep program.

5-9, 172
Las Vegas, Nev.
Yes Yes Outlook: Not only are the Irish getting a natural hitter in Fertitta, they are getting a convincing leader too. Fertitta’s personality was part of the reason why Notre Dame flipped five-star tight end Alize Jones from UCLA to Notre Dame.

6-2, 190
Stafford, Va.
Yes Yes Update: North Carolina will get the last crack at Jennings following visits to Virginia (Jan. 15) and West Virginia (Jan. 23). The Cavaliers are considered the favorite, with Jennings preferring a future on offense. The Irish need him at safety.

6-0, 180
San Bernardino, Calif.
Yes Yes Update: Notre Dame continues to push hard for Meadors, although UCLA is quietly confident he’s already on board with the Bruins. He could be the best speed player among the remaining safeties. The Irish got on him late.

6-0, 193
Geismar, La.
Yes Yes Update: Notre Dame’s best shot among the remaining safety targets, although Stanford is a threat. Reid visited on Jan. 23, with LSU getting the last shot on Jan. 30. Playing time in South Bend should be Notre Dame edge.

5-11, 176
Forestville, Md.
Yes Yes Outlook: White popped for Notre Dame over the summer and hasn’t looked back. He’ll give the Irish a cornerback with good size, although he could have some safety ability too if needed.

5-11, 190
Indianapolis, Ind.
Yes Yes Outlook: Notre Dame latest safety commitment comes from a familiar program in Warren Central, which produced Sheldon Day. Williams committed almost immediately after being offered.
Notes: Notre Dame’s defensive back haul suffered a blow when Prentice McKinney flipped to North Carolina on Jan. 21. The Irish were desperate for a safety with size and the three-star prospect had it. At the Semper Fi All-American Game, McKinney said he was set with Notre Dame despite a scheduled official to UCLA. That trip never happened, but he visited North Carolina instead. Academics and admissions ultimately may have been the issue that wiped out the Texas prospect’s pledge. So now what? The Irish still need another safety in this class with Nate Meadors, Justin Reid, Frank Buncom and Arrington Farrar the targets. Farrar reportedly had his own admissions snag at Stanford that forced him to reopen his recruitment. Notre Dame is fighting for an official visit during the Jan. 30 weekend. Meadors visited during the Jan. 16 weekend, but UCLA holds the edge and will get the last visit. Reid visited on Jan. 23 and has the background of a potential surprise get. His brother starred at LSU but he seems focused on academics. Stanford is involved too, but the Cardinal is in on a lot of safeties, including Frank Buncom. Despite losing McKinney, Notre Dame can still hit the mark at defensive back with one more safety get. Two would be ideal but unlikely. Iman Marshall was dropped from the Master List with the Irish well off the pace for the five-star prospect.
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