Big Board: Cornerback

Notre Dame owns one of the nation’s top cornerback tandems this season. But beyond KeiVarae Russell and Cole Luke, the depth is thin and inexperienced. Here’s where Notre Dame may turn in recruiting.

Notre Dame needs quality and quantity in its secondary recruiting, from cornerback to safety to nickel. Irish Illustrated produces its Big Board for cornerback, where the Irish must go beyond verbal commitment Julian Love.

Current Outlook

Heading into fall camp, here’s how the depth chart likely will stack up:

LCB: Cole Luke, Nick Watkins, Connor Cavalaris
RCB: KeiVarae Russell, Devin Butler

Notre Dame expects to lose KeiVarae Russell after next season, and baring unknown attrition, the Irish should return everybody else. Luke and Butler will each enter 2016 as seniors, while Watkins will have reached the halfway mark of his Irish career.

Incoming freshmen Nick Coleman, Shaun Crawford and Ashton White will have three or four years remaining depending on how the coaching staff manages red-shirts this fall.

What’s Next

Notre Dame would like to sign two cornerbacks in this class (including at least one with size and man cover skills as attributes). Notre Dame would also preferably sign a combo cornerback/safety.

Notre Dame earned a commitment from three-star cornerback Julian Love of La Grange Park (Ill.) Nazareth on Notre Dame’s Junior Day event. Love could end up seeing time as a safety or nickel.

The Irish have recently extended offers to two new cornerbacks, a pair of four-stars from talent-rich California and Texas, as well as safety/cornerback hybrid in California’s top safety C.J. Pollard. For the staff to enter the fall season with a clearer picture of where they stand with their top prospects, look for more offers to go out during this current evaluation period and into the summer months.

Pittsburgh (Pa.) Central Catholic four-star cornerback Damar Hamlin is Notre Dame’s top target at the position. Hamlin, who visited the Irish in the spring with his family, is primarily considering Notre Dame, Penn State, Pittsburgh and Ohio State. The race is currently a tight one, and official visits will play a considerable role in his ultimate decision.

Here’s a look at the updated Master List at cornerback.

Eric Cuffee
5-11, 188
Waco, Texas
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Lyght Top Offers: Texas, TCU, Baylor, Alabama, Oklahoma
Outlook: Cuffee is leaning toward an in-state decision and he has local options. Just getting an official visit would be a victory for the Irish.
Jordan Fuller
6-2, 190
Old Tappan, N.J.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Booker Top Offers: Alabama, Ohio St., UCLA, Stanford, FSU
Outlook: Notre Dame should host Fuller this summer and has familiarity with the family after recruiting brother Devin Fuller, who signed with UCLA.
Damar Hamlin
6-1, 175
Pittsburgh, Pa.
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Hiestand Top Offers: Penn St., Ohio St., UCLA, Michigan, Michigan St.,OSU
Outlook: Arguably Notre Dame’s top corner target, Hamlin got an early evaluation visit from the Irish. Penn State appears to be the biggest threat.
Jack Jones
5-11, 175
Long Beach, Calif.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Denbrock Top Offers: USC, UCLA, Oklahoma, Michigan, Nebraska
Outlook: If Jones makes it to Notre Dame, it will likely be an official visit. An April trip with the B2G 7-on-7 tournament didn’t materialize.
Jaylon Jones
5-11, 176
Allen, Texas
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Lyght Top Offers: Baylor, Ohio St., Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, TCU
New: Texas A&M is the perceived favorite. There’s a chance national programs may get a look in the fall, but a summer decision is also possible.
David Long
6-0, 175
Los Angeles, Calif.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Denbrock Top Offers: Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon, Stanford, Washington
New: Long landed an offer from Denbrock in mid-May during a school visit. Stanford and USC are ahead of Notre Dame for now. The Irish need a delayed decision.
Julian Love
6-0, 175
La Grange Park, Ill.
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Denbrock Top Offers: Committed on March 21
Outlook: The Irish moved early on Love, who committed after landing a Junior Day offer. He’s a versatile defensive back who’s quicker than he is fast. Top Stories