Watch List: Receiver

Notre Dame recruited itself into a position of receiver strength during the past few cycles. Can the Irish add on?

Notre Dame overloaded at receiver last cycle.

That means the Irish can be selective in their next campaign, which will ramp up this weekend with Junior Day. Notre Dame expects to have Donnie Corley, Brad Hawkins, Austin Mack and Ahmir Mitchell on campus from the Irish Illustrated Watch List, with A.J. Taylor scheduled to be in town a few days earlier.

Notre Dame doesn’t need much more than a couple receivers in this class, although loading up could give the Irish material to develop a cornerback, safety or linebacker down the road. James Onwualu is a year into his move to linebacker, Justin Brent could get a look at safety and Corey Holmes may grow into a corner. While those freshmen aren’t locks to move, it’s at least a conversation the staff has had about their versatility.

After signing Equanimeous St. Brown, Miles Boykin, Jalen Guyton and C.J. Sanders last cycle – four prospects who don’t project at other positions – Notre Dame should be in the mix for two or three more here. The Irish will lose Chris Brown after next season with Will Fuller a potential draft departure if he improves on his breakout sophomore year.

Here’s a rundown of Notre Dame’s top receiver targets for the Class of 2016.

Wide Receiver  
Damian Alloway
5-10, 170
Fontana, Calif.
Offer: No Visit: No Recruiter: Sanford Top Offers: UCLA, Washington, Utah, Cal
Outlook: UCLA is after Alloway hardest, but the Irish could be close to offering the versatile athlete. If that happens, ND could break up a heavy Pac-12 list.
Donnie Corley
6-1, 170
Detroit, Mich.
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Gilmore Top Offers: Alabama, Ohio St., Michigan, Michigan St.
Outlook: Corley will get back to South Bend for Junior Day. He attended the UNC game last season. The offer list is national, but the competition is in-state.
Dylan Crawford
6-1, 175
Santa Margarita, Calif.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Denbrock Top Offers: USC, UCLA, Stanford, Tennessee
Outlook: Notre Dame is in the mix with Crawford but needs a visit to stay there. He teams with top pro-style quarterback K.J. Costello at Santa Margarita Catholic.
Simi Fehoko
6-4, 183
Salt Lake City, Utah
Offer: No Visit: No Recruiter: Lyght Top Offers: Stanford, Michigan, Clemson, Utah
Outlook: Notre Dame has shown interest in Fehoko since last season when Bob Elliott was in contact. The Irish are in the mix but not near the front.
Mecole Hardman
5-11, 172
Elberton, Ga.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Booker Top Offers: Georgia, Auburn, Tennessee, Florida, Miami
Outlook: Notre Dame sees more of an athlete than a receiver or cornerback, but that’s a staff debate the Irish want to have. An official visit is a possibility.
Brad Hawkins
6-2, 185
Camden, N.J.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Booker Top Offers: Florida, Michigan, Ohio St., Penn St.
Outlook: Notre Dame offered Hawkins last year and he talked up an in-season visit to South Bend when the scholarship arrived. He’ll be at Junior Day in March.
Justin Layne
6-3, 180
Cleveland, Ohio
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Hiestand Top Offers: Ohio St., Michigan, MSU, Florida, Penn St.
Outlook: With Ohio State off a title, it will be tough to hit the Buckeye state hard. Layne has already called Urban Meyer and Co. his leader.
Austin Mack
6-2, 205
Fort Wayne, Ind.
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Elston Top Offers: Ohio St., Michigan, MSU, Iowa
Outlook: Mack comes from the same Bishop Luers program that produced Jaylon Smith. Ohio State is a serious threat. A Junior Day visit is set for March 21.
Javon McKinley
6-2, 200
Corona, Calif.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Denbrock Top Offers: USC, Oregon, Washington, ASU
Outlook: McKinley plans to visit Notre Dame on April 24, the week after the Blue-Gold Game. He has every top Pac-12 offer. He’s got strength and size.
Steffon McKnight
6-2, 165
San Diego, Calif.
Offer: No Visit: No Recruiter: Sanford Top Offers: USC, UCLA, Michigan
Outlook: McKnight had talked about hitting Junior Day, but it appears the West Coast receiver won’t make the Midwest visit, with an official more likely.
Ahmir Mitchell
6-3, 195
Egg Harbor City, N.J.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Booker Top Offers: FSU, Ohio St., Ole Miss, Michigan
Outlook: Mitchell listed Notre Dame in his top six with Rutgers, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Ole Miss and Michigan. He’ll attend Junior Day on March 21.
Tre Nixon
6-1, 170
Viera, Fla.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Denson Top Offers: Alabama, Stanford, Ohio St., Michigan
Outlook: There is strong interest from Nixon in Notre Dame and an off-season visit could push the Irish up his list. Nixon has elite speed and a versatile game.
Emmanuel Rugamba
6-0, 170
Naperville, Ill
Offer: No Visit: No Recruiter: Denbrock Top Offers: Illinois, Indiana, Miami of Ohio
Outlook: The local connections put Rugamba on the board, but Notre Dame is unlikely to offer unless it misses on some bigger prospects at this position.
A.J. Taylor
5-11, 185
Kansas City, Mo.
Offer: No Visit: No Recruiter: Gilmore Top Offers: Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas St.
Outlook: Notre Dame can impress when Taylor visits March 18 for the start of spring ball. He comes from Rockhurst, a pro-Irish program
Tyler Vaughns
6-2, 185
La Puente, Calif.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Denbrock Top Offers: USC, UCLA, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Florida
Outlook: The nation’s top receiver is already ticketed for The Opening this summer. Notre Dame is fighting for an official next fall with USC considered the leader.

 


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