Insider Report: Evaluation game on

Notre Dame started to expand its quarterback board this week while staying busy on the road recruiting. Irish Illustrated takes a look at some of those stops, the upcoming decision of four-star safety Kenney Lyke and a couple official visitors already added to the schedule for this fall.

Perhaps no position goes under the microscope more during the spring evaluation period than quarterback as coaches spread out across the country to watch prospects throw.

Dillon Sterling-Cole has come to understand this over the last two weeks. It’s been a laundry list of major programs swinging through Westfield High School in Houston to watch the three-star quarterback. So far, so good in terms of feedback.

“Very positive,” Sterling-Cole said. “Been hearing good things about my arm talent and accuracy. Also a few things like my footwork that I might need to work on, but that’s going to improve as I get healthier.”

Arizona State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Florida, Houston, UCLA, USC, Boise State, Iowa and Mississippi State have already seen Sterling-Cole this spring.

Notre Dame offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Sanford stopped in earlier this week as the Irish perhaps look to expand their quarterback board. Offered target Matt Fink is off the board to USC and recent indications have four-star Dwayne Haskins Jr. likely to stay on the East Coast while the current roster lost Everett Golson to transfer.

Four-star Woody Barrett, a friend and former teammate of incoming running back Dexter Williams, has Notre Dame in his top five but with others running out front.

“It’s been good,” Sterling-Cole said. “Coach (Sanford) came (Tuesday) to see me throw. Still trying to build a relationship with him and the staff but other than that everything has been solid with them.”

Based on recent feedback, Sterling-Cole felt Notre Dame could be next to offer.

Arizona State, Boise State, Florida, Houston, Iowa State, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, UCLA and Utah are among the offers already on board. Adding the Irish would potentially shake things up.

“I would have to do more research on their tradition and how they run things there a little bit more,” Sterling-Cole said. “I will most definitely be considering them if they did end up pulling the trigger.”

Sterling-Cole also said the field is now wide open with no visits set:

“Plan on getting that all together in the following weeks,” he said.

Ulloa, McKinley lock in official visit

Three-star safety Chacho Ulloa told he’s now working with a top four of Stanford, Notre Dame, Arizona State and Michigan State.

Ulloa has a Sept. 12 official visit to Michigan State set and an Oct. 17 trip to Notre Dame on the schedule as well. The Irish host USC that weekend. He’s expected to be joined by four-star wide receiver Javon McKinley in South Bend. Stanford will host Ulloa later this month.

Sanford checked on both at Corona (Calif.) Centennial this week.

Lyke sets decision date

Four-star safety Kenney Lyke plans to make a verbal commitment May 14.

Lyke added an offer from Notre Dame last Sunday after associate head coach Mike Denbrock visited Fremd High School in Palatine, Ill., the previous week. The Irish are now in the mix alongside Baylor, Michigan State, TCU, Oregon and Ohio State.

TCU, Ohio State and Oregon have yet to offer. Lyke has yet to visit Baylor. Michigan State feels like the favorite heading into the announcement.

Hammond sees end in sight

Hallandale (Fla.) High wide receiver Josh Hammond received a visit from assistant Autry Denson last week. Hammond’s father, Frank, expects a final decision this summer.

“It hasn’t been determined if (Josh) will go on more visits this summer or if he will decide at the beginning of it,” Frank Hammond said. “We are just trying to let him get through spring ball right now, and then we’ll sit down and talk about things.”

Hammond visited Notre Dame for the first time in March.

“He talks pretty regularly to the Notre Dame coaches,” Hammond said. “He likes that Notre Dame is a private school, they are high on education, and he likes the offensive scheme.”

Florida, Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State are considered the top schools in his recruitment, though Hammond has yet to publicly name a top group.

“He doesn’t talk about leaders to me,” Frank Hammond said. “He talks about his visits and the facilities and things of that nature, but I know his mind isn’t made up yet.”

Indications are the Irish would accept a commitment from Hammond, but the same cannot definitely be said of Ohio State or potentially of Florida. Hammond’s older brother, Frankie Hammond of the Kansas City Chiefs, played wide receiver for Urban Meyer at Florida.

Coaches on the road

- Harry Hiestand checked in on 2017 four-star offensive line commitment Dillan Gibbons at St. Petersburg (Fla.) Northside Christian.

- Hiestand and Autry Denson saw one of Notre Dame’s top offensive line prospects in 2016, three-star guard Parker Boudreaux at Orlando (Fla.) Bishop Moore. Boudreaux will visit Notre Dame June 10. Notre Dame is in his lead group, along with Clemson and Florida.

- Denson saw four-star running back Elijah Stove at Niceville (Fla.) High. Stove has a top five of Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Ohio State.

- Denson visited Florida State four-star defensive end commit Janarius Robinson of Panama City (Fla.) Bay Senior, who told that he could potentially visit Notre Dame this summer for Irish Invasion.

- Three-star safety Korey Charles of Tallahassee (Fla.) North Florida Christian is on offer watch after Denson visited school. Florida State, Florida and Clemson are the main players here, but Notre Dame would join the mix if it offered.

- Sanford checked on four-star wide receiver Damian Alloway of Fontana (Calif.) Summit, who is a UCLA lean right now. He does not hold an Irish offer at this time.

- Scott Booker made a visit to College Park (Ga.) Woodward Academy to see Notre Dame’s top running back prospect on the board, four-star Elijah Holyfield, who should make a return visit to Notre Dame this fall after first making the trip in March. Auburn is likely the team to beat.

- Booker and Brian VanGorder saw four-star athlete Demetris Robinson of Savannah (Ga.) Christian Prep, a former Alabama commitment. He holds a Notre Dame offer and plans to take all five official visits.

- Mike Denbrock visited four-star wide receiver Austin Mack of Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers. In order, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Michigan are his top schools.

- Notre Dame checked on three-star defensive tackle Roselle (Ill.) Lake Park Mike Panasiuk after he earned defensive line MVP at The Opening Regional last weekend.

- Sanford visited Cypress (Texas) Cy-Fair while in the Houston area to check on 2017 tight end Brock Wright, who picked up an offer at junior day. LSU, Duke and Miami offered Wright this week.

News and notes

- Two Notre Dame targets came off the board this week in four-star offensive tackle Michael Jordan (Ohio State) and four-star quarterback Matt Fink (USC). Jordan had been tentatively scheduled to attend the Irish Invasion this summer.

- Notre Dame extended an offer to four-star offensive guard Stewart Reese of Fort Pierce (Fla.) Central. Hiestand visited Pierce at the beginning of the week. Considered a Florida State lean, Reese plans to camp with Notre Dame this summer.

- Defensive line coach Keith Gilmore is expected to watch 2017 St. Joseph (Mich.) defensive end Corey Malone-Hatcher work out next week. Top Stories