With Notre Dame’s top quarterback target off the board, what’s next at quarterback?
That’s the reality facing the Irish staff after four-star Dwayne Haskins stayed home on Friday when he made a verbal commitment to Maryland. The product of The Bullis School in Potomac, Md., visited South Bend for Junior Day and got plenty of attention from quarterbacks coach Mike Sanford during that spring practice weekend.
Despite follow-ups from Sanford and area recruiter Scott Booker, the East Coast product couldn’t leave the East Coast, with Rutgers the likely runner-up. Notre Dame was a finalist with Alabama, Florida, Notre Dame, Penn State and Virginia Tech.
With Haskins off the board, Notre Dame will continue to evaluate quarterbacks in the current cycle, with the spring evaluation period running another two weeks.
Look for three-star Tylin Oden of Columbia (Tenn.) Spring Hill to get a visit from the Irish staff. The 6-foot-5, 190-pound athlete could receive an offer this spring if the Irish like what they see. Oden visited Notre Dame for Junior Day in March. Dillon Sterling-Cole could be even higher up the Irish board after Sanford visited him in Houston during the evaluation period.
Whatever happens in this class of quarterbacks, Notre Dame figures to put even more focus on the next haul with in-state target Hunter Johnson of Brownsburg. A four-star prospect in the Class of 2017, Johnson has Notre Dame, Penn State on top with a decision potentially coming down in August. He visited South Bend twice during spring practice.
Bottom line: Notre Dame wants a quarterback in this class, but it rates Johnson higher than anybody left on the board.
Lyke nears decision date
Four-star safety Kenney Lyke will wait another week before revealing a verbal commitment on May 22.
Lyke has a top four of Baylor, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Oregon heading into the planned Friday announcement. All but Oregon have offered. Lyke hasn’t visited Baylor, which makes Michigan State and Notre Dame the legitimate contenders.
Perhaps another week gives the Irish time to close the gap on Michigan State, which is perceived as the clear frontrunner. But if not, their attention will turn elsewhere as the net at safety continues to widen.
Ulloa visited last month and immediately put Notre Dame into a top group with an official visit already scheduled. Studstill hails from the same high school program that produced freshman linebacker Te’Von Coney and is planning to visit for Irish Invasion. Word around Palm Beach Gardens High School says Studstill has legitimate interest in Notre Dame.
Notre Dame continues to put effort into getting the Tennessee duo of Williams and Okeke on campus with no luck to this point. Okeke seems more likely to make the trip north.
Watts, meanwhile, is arguably the top defensive back on the board and has a summer announcement planned. Getting him on campus just once before an announcement is critical for any serious shot.
D.J. Morgan is another West Coast product worth remembering. He visited along with Ulloa and several others last month as part of the B2GSports contingent. He went home without an offer, but has connections to the University and could bear watching down the line.
Legacy TE continues recruiting rise
Three-star tight end Irvin Smith, whose father Irv played at Notre Dame, added offers from Alabama and Florida in the last week.
Smith plans to work out for the staff at Irish Invasion but isn’t sure whether the coaches will visit Brother Martin High School in New Orleans for a look this spring. Texas has offered and is in line to get a summer visit as well.
ND strong for next St. Brown
Not much has changed with 2017 wide receiver Osiris St. Brown, which is good news for Notre Dame.
His older brother, Equanimeous, is set to enroll as a freshman receiver in South Bend next month. Osiris is going through a recruiting process of his own and holds an offer to join his brother down the line.
Notre Dame is a heavy contender and should be for the long haul. The St. Browns could be back on campus again for Irish Invasion as well.
In the trenches
- Notre Dame offensive line target Ben Bredeson remains on track to visit Michigan and Ohio State before making a final decision. We’re hearing decision could come as early as June or could be prolonged until August. Notre Dame is a top contender, but if Bredeson’s decision were tomorrow, we believe he’d end up a Badger.
- On Tuesday, Notre Dame offensive coordinator Mike Sanford visited Allen (Texas) High and saw 2016 four-star defensive end Levi Onwuzurike, who could end up adding a Notre Dame offer down the road. Arkansas, Baylor, Kansas, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Stanford, TCU and Vanderbilt are among the programs that have already offered.
- On Monday, the Irish offered 2017 defensive end Robert Beal of Norcross (Ga.). Beal has family ties to South Bend and visited during spring practice. Florida State and Georgia are also heavily in the mix. Beal is declining interviews with the media until the conclusion of his spring practice.
- Notre Dame checked in on 2017 defensive end Dalyn Wade-Perry of Sparta (N.J.) Pope John XXIII on Monday. Wade-Perry touts offers from Alabama, Maryland, Ohio State and Stanford, but a Notre Dame offer would immediately put the Irish in his top group.
News and notes
- Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder and tight ends coach Scott Booker checked on four-star safety Isaiah Pryor on Thursday. The 2017 athlete from Lawrenceville (Ga.) Archer, considers the Irish among his top schools and is a significant priority for the staff in 2017. He plans to make a return visit to Notre Dame for the opener vs. Texas. He first saw the Irish during the Blue-Gold Game.
- Defensive line coach Keith Gilmore checked on 2017 defensive end Corey Malone-Hatcher on Thursday. Malone-Hatcher plans to visit again for Irish Invasion.
- Associate head coach Mike Denbrock visited five-star wide receiver Tyler Vaughns of La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat on Thursday. Notre Dame is vying for a spot in his top five, which is likely to be released this summer.
- Top 2017 tight end target Brock Wright picked up an offer from Alabama this week. The Houston-area athlete visited Notre Dame for Junior Day and landed an Irish offer then. He’ll be back on campus next month for the Irish Invasion. Sanford visited Cy-Fair High School this spring.
- Cornerback Eric Cuffee of Waco (Texas) received a visit from Sanford this week. Cuffee, one of the top cornerback targets on Notre Dame’s board, could potentially visit Notre Dame this summer.