Insider Report: Cali invasion

For once, location will benefit Notre Dame. A local 7-on-7 tournament will draw some top California talent to South Bend. Irish Illustrated’s weekly Insider Report previews those visits and reveals movement among some elite 2017’s.

Notre Dame will get a recruiting boost from a local 7-on-7 tournament.

B2GSports will host one of its 7-on-7 events in East Chicago this weekend with its California-based teams expected to participate. The B2G crew made the 75-mile trip to South Bend for a look around campus on Friday morning.

Four-star cornerback Troy Warner, an Oregon commitment, three-star safety D.J. Morgan, four-star wide receiver Javon McKinley, three-star quarterback Patrick O'Brien, and three-star safety Chacho Ulloa are among the headliners.

“It will take a lot to change my mind (off Oregon) because I’m a solid commit right now,” Warner said. “I’m interested in seeing Notre Dame in person though since I’ve heard a lot about them.”

Notre Dame has offered McKinley, as have Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Miami, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Oregon, Stanford, Tennessee, UCLA and USC. He has visits to Cal and Stanford coming soon with a plan to announce at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Oregon is likely to land one of McKinley’s five official visits.

“Notre Dame was a big offer for me and I have wanted to visit there for awhile,” McKinley said. “They have a great program and a great combination of football, tradition and academics, so it should be a great time.”

Several prospects in the Class of 2017 should be on hand as well: Five-star wide receiver Joseph Lewis, four-star athlete Greg Johnson, four-star wide receiver Osiris St. Brown, tight end Jimmy Jaggers, among others.

St. Brown is the younger brother of incoming Notre Dame receiver Equanimeous St. Brown. Another brother, Amon-ra, is a wide receiver in the Class of 2018 and will visit.

“Of the three brothers, Osiris is probably the most natural athlete in the group,” said Scout.com national analyst Greg Biggins. He doesn’t have the size or even the down field speed of Equanimeous but is a more fluid athlete, better route runner, better after the catch and competes harder as well. He has good body control and the best hand-eye coordination in the family as well. As an overall prospect, I think he’s the best of the three brothers.”

Osiris St. Brown holds offers from Notre Dame, Illinois, Kentucky, Miami, Michigan, Texas Tech, Utah and Washington State.

Notre Dame could offer its first 2018 prospect Friday when wide receiver Jalen Hall of Los Angeles (Calif.) Augustus Hawkins hits campus. Local programs UCLA and USC are counted among his double-digit offers.

Campbell visits other programs

St. Louis (Mo.) Chaminade cornerback Roderick Campbell has been busy since canceling a trip to Notre Dame at the end of last month.

Iowa and Indiana have hosted the three-star prospect with the latter doing so for its spring game. Campbell holds offers from both programs and listed them as contenders after seeing the Iowa campus.

“Iowa is definitely one of the top schools along with Indiana, Duke and Northwestern,” Campbell told HawkeyeInsider.com before the trip to Indiana. “I would like to start narrowing things down by the time the summer approaches so I can make a decision before the season starts.”

Campbell plans to visit Northwestern this weekend and will head to Columbus, Ohio on May 31 for The Opening Regional. Right now there isn’t a visit to Notre Dame on the schedule as the Irish could be looking in a different direction after picking up Julian Love at Junior Day.

Johnson stays on the move

Notre Dame’s top 2017 quarterback recruit, four-star Hunter Johnson of Brownsburg, Ind., has been busy this spring, visiting Northwestern, Notre Dame (twice), Miami, Michigan, North Carolina, N.C. State and most recently, Penn State. This weekend he’ll travel to Tennessee for the Vols’ spring game. 

Penn State could have the most momentum in this race — Johnson’s relationship with head coach James Franklin and quarterbacks coach Ricky Rahne will be tough to beat. Notre Dame is in with offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mike Sanford communicating weekly.

“I keep in good contact with Coach Sanford,” Johnson said. “I feel like we have similar personalities. I like that he’s a young guy and how he pushes his quarterbacks. He’s a smart guy.”

Johnson says attending Irish Invasion this summer is an option, though Sanford may prefer for him to visit campus for one of the smaller, individual camps so the two can have more one-on-one time to work together on the field.

Johnson’s timeline is tentative, but an early fall decision seems likely. 

Robertson inches toward decision

Indiana’s top player in the Class of 2016, four-star defensive end Auston Robertson, has a public top group of Alabama, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Ohio State, though the Spartans and Irish are battling behind-the-scenes head-to-head for the top spot.

The Fort Wayne product visited Michigan State last weekend for its spring game. Overall, Robertson has a better relationship with the Spartans’ staff, but some in the defensive end’s camp are pushing the Irish. Robertson said he’s looking big picture when it comes to his future. 

Robertson says he’s unsure if he’ll revisit any of the schools in his top four (visiting Alabama would be a first-time visit) before making his commitment on June 7 at R.A.S. camp in Fort Wayne. 

Jones enjoys return trip

Running back commitment Tony Jones returned to campus for Blue-Gold Game.

“The game was nice, and I think the offense showed a lot of explosiveness,” Jones said. “It was great to see three running backs getting a lot of carries.”

Jones spent time Saturday after the game with Tarean Folston, Greg Bryant, Will Fuller and Malik Zaire. 

“They were telling me more about life up there,” Jones said. “They said there’s a lot of tutors that can help you and the coaches help too. You’re not on your own going through college.” 

Jones also met with the Notre Dame baseball staff for the first time. He plans to play both sports.

News and notes

- Four-star quarterback Jawon Pass released a top five via Twitter earlier this week of Alabama, Auburn, Louisville, North Carolina and Virginia Tech. Pass visited Notre Dame last summer and held a scholarship offer.

- Defensive backs coach Todd Lyght will take over recruiting Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas. Lyght started his coaching career as a Gorman assistant. Former quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur and current associate head coach Mike Denbrock have recruited Gorman in recent years, pulling out left tackle Ronnie Stanley, tight end Alize Jones and safety Nicco Fertitta.

- Top guard prospect Parker Boudreaux of Orlando (Fla.) Bishop Moore has scheduled his trip to Notre Dame for June 10. It will be his first visit to campus. Florida, Clemson and Oklahoma are some of the other top contenders.

- Notre Dame’s top tight end target in 2016, Cary Angeline of Exton (Pa.) Downingtown East, who took a second trip this spring to Notre Dame for the Blue-Gold Game, says he will receive a visit from Irish tight ends coach Scott Booker next Wednesday (April 29). Notre Dame is battling Penn State to land him.

- Notre Dame’s top tight end in 2017, Brock Wright from Cy-Fair High School in Cypress, Texas, spoke with Booker earlier this week and will return to South Bend in late June. He picked up an Irish offer at Junior Day in March and rates Notre Dame near the top of his board with Stanford and Michigan, in that order. Wright plans to make the trip with his mother, who did not make the March visit to South Bend.


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