Preview: Weekend visitors on tap

Notre Dame starts its push to the recruiting finish line this weekend with a small but important group of official visitors headed to campus. Irish Illustrated previews those visits, including a look at each prospect through the lens of a Scout.com analyst.

Notre Dame begins the first of a couple critical visit weekends before National Signing Day as prospects from both coasts descend on South Bend.

Two top running back targets are expected in town along with a West Coast safety target and recent commitment as the Irish look to fill a couple needs down the recruiting homestretch. Irish Illustrated previews the visitors, including where Notre Dame stands with each target, and delivers a national take from the Scout.com team.

Commitments

Mykelti Williams - safety - Indianapolis, Ind.

Recruiting recap: Williams will visit South Bend for the first time since receiving a scholarship offer from Notre Dame last month and committing on the spot. Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Louisville, Minnesota, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Purdue, Wake Forest and Wisconsin were some other options on the table. Williams comes from the same Warren Central prep program that produced Sheldon Day. Getting back to campus will let Williams familiarize himself with his surroundings and do a little recruiting of uncommitted targets.

Analyst take: I think Mykelti is a really, really good all-around football player and I think you have to like a kid who played so well as a senior that he earned an offer with his play. He won’t wow anyone at a combine but watch him in a game and he shows up over and over again. He came up big in key situations too. - Scout.com Midwest football recruiting manager Allen Trieu

Targets

Jalen Julius - wide receiver - Winter Garden, Fla.

Recruiting reset: Earlier this week Julius confirmed with Scout.com plans to visit Notre Dame this weekend despite uncertain offer status. Julius lists an offer despite previous conversations with the Irish staff indicating there might not be room in the class for his commitment. Either way, the wide receiver/defensive back appears set to join teammate and friend Dexter Williams, a top running back target. Could Notre Dame take Julius if it means securing a commitment from Williams? That’s the big question. Florida, Louisville, Ole Miss, Missouri and Ohio State are some other contenders. Ole Miss has a visit scheduled for Jan. 23.

Analyst take: The explosive two-way standout lines up at running back at the prep level but is expected to transition to either wide receiver or cornerback at the collegiate level. He has home run capabilities and can burn the top off a defensive in a hurry. In addition to Notre Dame, the three-star prospect will be in Oxford on Jan. 23 to get a taste of Ole Miss. Julius was on Louisville’s campus in early December. Missouri, Notre Dame and Florida continue to slug it out for his services too. - Scout.com Florida recruiting analyst Corey Bender

Nathan Meadors - safety - San Bernadino, Calif.

Recruiting reset: Meadors picked up an offer in late November as Notre Dame continues its pursuit of another safety in this class. He had planned to visit later in the month but moved things up. Meadors is on record that UCLA leads, so the Irish need a strong showing to begin chasing down the Bruins. Meadors will visit Westwood on Jan. 30 with a possible trip to Oregon in between an announcement planned for National Signing Day.

Analyst take: Meadors is a late bloomer whose recruitment really blew up the last few months. He’s an athletic safety/corner who some schools also like at receiver. He played quarterback for his high school team but probably projects best in the secondary. He has very good size at about 6-2, 180-pounds, runs well, has excellent ball skills and shows a nice feel and instinct for the game. Recruiting wise, UCLA is a longtime leader and will be tough to beat. It’s the school he grew up rooting for and he has a solid relationship with the coaching staff. Cal and Oregon are also involved. Notre Dame needs a big official visit to make this one a race. - Scout.com national recruiting analyst Greg Biggins

Keshawn Vaughn - running back - Nashville, Tenn.

Recruiting reset: Vaughn will visit in Notre Dame’s hour of need. Running back is a position where the Irish are desperate for a commitment alongside Josh Adams, and Vaughn represents one of the top remaining targets. It’ll be a busy January for the super-productive prep back with visits to West Virginia and Illinois in the works before a late decision. The Mountaineers are a recent offer. Notre Dame will need to turn in a strong visit weekend to move its way to the top of the list.

Analyst take: With Vaughn, he is one that will have a hard time telling so many schools no in the end. He has a hard time even naming favorites — if he does, then that list either grows or changes quickly. He was just offered by West Virginia on Tuesday. He has an official visit to Illinois scheduled for the Jan. 30 weekend with the 23rd still open. I cannot name a favorite at this time. His official visit and in-home visits will be crucial to his decision. As a player, Vaughn is a running back that produces. He has run for over 5,000 yards and scored 75 touchdowns the last two seasons. There is not one part of his game that may wow you, but he is so strong in many areas. He runs with very good balance, he sets up his blocks well and he can change direction well for a back of his size.  - Scout.com national recruiting analyst Chad Simmons

Dexter Williams - running back - Winter Garden, Fla.

Recruiting reset: Top remaining target on the board? Seems like a no-brainer as the four-star prospect heads to campus with Notre Dame in clear need of a running back. Landing the one-time Miami commitment, however, will be no simple task. Louisville, Miami and Texas A&M are among the others heavily involved. Florida remains in the mix as well, although it appears the incoming Gators staff likes other backs a little better. Louisville hosted Williams in October. Texas A&M is expected to do so next week. Tony Alford deserves credit for making the visit happen after some fits and starts. It would be a coup if the Irish score a commitment from Williams.

Analyst take: A highly sought after ball carrier who opted to de-commit from Miami earlier this month, Dexter Williams is a teammate of Jalen Julius and the No. 15 ranked running back in the nation on Scout. The four-star standout from West Orange High School has taken trips to both Miami and Louisville and his heavily considering Florida and Texas A&M in addition to Notre Dame. Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies are in the midst of securing a visit with Williams for Jan. 23 as well. - Bender


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