Staff Predictions

Notre Dame has more targets on its board than spots, which adds a few layers of intrigue to the final days of recruiting. The Irish Illustrated staff forecasts the destinations for all 11 prospects still in play. Can Notre Dame land more than its share?

In less than two weeks Notre Dame’s recruiting class will be complete.

Will it also address every personnel need in Brian Kelly’s program?

The Irish Illustrated recruiting staff runs down the final 11 prospects on the board and forecasts their final destinations as Notre Dame looks to add a running back, defensive back and a skilled athlete to its class. The Irish look to be in great shape at two of those spots with running back Dexter Williams and receiver Equanimeous St. Brown virtual locks for the class.

But can Notre Dame add a safety to the mix? And where will all the other targets end up on Feb. 4? Our recruiting staff of Pete Sampson, Jake Brown, Steve Hare and Anna Hickey runs down the entire board, offering up predictions and confidence levels for every prospect still in play this cycle.

Frank Buncom
Pete: Few prospects fit the Stanford mold better than Buncom. This one is tracking hard toward the Cardinal. Jake: Writing has been on the wall here for awhile. Notre Dame fits the bill but Stanford has been involved longer. Steve: Buncom would fit right in at Notre Dame, on the field and off it, but the Irish probably finish second in this race. Anna: Has favored the Cardinal throughout duration of his recruitment.

Pick:
Stanford
Confidence:
High

Pick:
Stanford
Confidence:
High
Pick:
Stanford
Confidence:
High
Pick:
Stanford
Confidence:
High
Jordan Cronkrite
Pete: The Irish had a flicker of hope here after a December visit, but Florida will scoop him up late with in-state ties. Jake: Cronkrite seems inclined to stay in state if there is a legitimate option. Florida is one under the new staff. Steve: Notre Dame’s eggs might all be in Dexter Williams’ basket. Cronkrite is likely staying in the Sunshine State Anna: Visits the Swamp this weekend, and it could be game over.
Pick:
Florida
Confidence:
Medium
Pick:
Florida
Confidence:
High
Pick:
Florida
Confidence:
High
Pick:
Florida
Confidence:
High
Arrington Farrar
Pete: The Irish haven’t been able to crack Woodward Academy, despite its high academic marks. They pull an upset here. Jake: One of the most fluid situations on the board. Could change to Notre Dame if a visit gets locked in before signing day. Steve: Farrar was high on the Irish early in the recruiting process and the shift in his recruitment might work in ND’s favor. Anna: ND has similarities to Stanford, and depth chart is a selling point. Could visit mid-week or 1/30.
Pick:
Notre Dame
Confidence:
Low
Pick:
North Carolina
Confidence:
Low
Pick:
Notre Dame
Confidence:
Medium
Pick:
Notre Dame
Confidence:
Low
Soso Jamabo
Pete: Notre Dame has been trailing UCLA for a couple months, now the Irish could be passed by in-state programs. Jake: In-state schools are gunning for the five-star back lately, but UCLA seems to have been the front runner since fall. Steve: UCLA may have been the longtime favorite but there’s something to be said about staying in-state to be the local hero. Anna: Bruins feel confident they’ll land him, but in-state schools still lurking.
Pick:
UCLA
Confidence:
High
Pick:
UCLA
Confidence:
Low
Pick:
Texas A&M
Confidence:
Low
Pick:
UCLA
Confidence:
Medium
Gary Jennings
Pete: Notre Dame changed its recruiting position here to receiver from safety, which isn’t a need. In-state wins out. Jake: Home state Virginia seems to have surged since Notre Dame took its best shot. Legit shot at playing receiver at UVA. Steve: Jennings flirted with the Irish but in the end he probably stays in-state to play wide receiver. Anna: Hoos’ hire of Chris Beatty and Mike London’s connection with Jennings and family will win out.
Pick:
Virginia
Confidence:
High
Pick:
Virginia
Confidence:
Medium
Pick:
Virginia
Confidence:
High
Pick:
Virginia
Confidence:
High
Iman Marshall
Pete: Few programs have more momentum right now than USC. Marshall will be a part of that come signing day. Jake: Even with Marshall making the most of official visits it’s difficult to envision him landing anywhere other than USC. Steve: It’s tough to pull five-star prospects out of Southern California and USC has worked hard to keep this one. Anna: Can Harbaugh overcome Marshall’s childhood love for USC and proximity to his dad? Not betting on it.
Pick:
USC
Confidence:
High
Pick:
USC
Confidence:
High
Pick:
USC
Confidence:
High
Pick:
USC
Confidence:
Medium
Nate Meadors
Pete: Notre Dame needed to take the lead on Meadors during his official. Pulling even with leader UCLA won’t be enough. Jake: Notre Dame pulled even with a visit but UCLA, which had been leading outright, gets to host right before signing day. Steve: This might come down to who wants Notre Dame more, Meadors or Farrar. The Irish can take one. Anna: Irish picked up chunk of momentum after official, but UCLA’s been the favorite for too long.
Pick:
UCLA
Confidence:
High
Pick:
UCLA
Confidence:
Medium
Pick:
UCLA
Confidence:
Medium
Pick:
UCLA
Confidence:
High
Justin Reid
Pete: This feels like a recruitment where LSU can swoop in at the last second and play the family connections card. Jake: Stanford seems to be the leader heading into this weekend’s Notre Dame visit. LSU could swoop in late. Steve: If Reid had his choice he’d probably follow in his brother’s footsteps. Keep your eye on this one. Anna: Oklahoma has been nixed, LSU doesn’t have room (yet), Notre Dame is the dark horse.
Pick:
LSU
Confidence:
Low
Pick:
Stanford
Confidence:
Medium
Pick:
LSU
Confidence:
Low
Pick:
Stanford
Confidence:
Low
Equanimous St. Brown
Pete: Notre Dame has this one locked up, so much so that it canceled Lawrence Cager barely 48 hours before his visit. Jake: Hard to argue with speculation St. Brown has been on board since Notre Dame scratched Lawrence Cager’s visit. Steve: Lawrence Cager canceling his visit to South Bend might have had something to do with ESB’s college choice. Anna: Utah made a push by offering brothers, but Notre Dame sealed the deal as favorite during fall official visit.
Pick:
Notre Dame
Confidence:
High
Pick:
Notre Dame
Confidence:
High
Pick:
Notre Dame
Confidence:
High
Pick:
Notre Dame
Confidence:
High
Ke’Shawn Vaughn
Pete: The Boilermakers have been after Vaughn hard for months and can offer early playing time to this powerhouse back. Jake: Running back musical chairs late in the process leaves Vaughn at West Virginia, especially since it gets the last visit. Steve: Any other year and Vaughn might land in South Bend, but the Irish are limited in numbers and Vaughn is the odd man out. Anna: Mountaineers get last visit before signing day and Vaughn loves their offense
Pick:
Purdue
Confidence:
Low
Pick:
West Virginia
Confidence:
High
Pick:
Louisville
Confidence:
Medium
Pick:
West Virginia
Confidence:
High
Dexter Williams
Pete: The Irish are out in front and simply to need to close Williams down. That shouldn’t be tricky, but it might be. Jake: Williams has been trending Notre Dame since his official visit. All that seems left is the formality of going public. Steve: There’s a reason Vaughn left his official lukewarm on the Irish despite his appreciation for the Irish. Anna: Barring the totally unexpected, Williams will end up Irish. The question is when.
Pick:
Notre Dame
Confidence:
High
Pick:
Notre Dame
Confidence:
High
Pick:
Notre Dame
Confidence:
High
Pick:
Notre Dame
Confidence:
High

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