Pursuit of defense in Georgia
- Vienna (Ga.) Dooly County three-star defensive end Antonneous Clayton added a Notre Dame offer following a visit this week by Mike Elston. Clayton, who had yet to add a single offer until March of this year, says he will visit for Irish Invasion. A pure edge rusher, Clayton is favoring Auburn.
- Georgia’s No. 1 ranked outside linebacker in 2016, Oconee County four-star Jaleel Laguins was offered by Brian VanGorder this week. Laguins has a top list of Georgia, Tennessee, Auburn, Alabama, Florida State and Florida.
- Ellenwood (Ga.) Cedar Grove three-star linebacker Elysee Mbem-Bosse added a Notre Dame offer earlier in the week. Auburn and Alabama currently top his leaderboard.
- Last week, Notre Dame offered 2017 defensive end Robert Beal of Norcross (Ga). Beal has family ties to South Bend, and the Irish are optimistic they’ll be a big player in his recruitment. Notre Dame also offered three-star defensive end Tomon Fox of Suwannee (Ga.) Collins Hill last week. The ’16 prospect is contemplating a summer visit to Notre Dame.
Irish commit invited to Army All-American Bowl
Notre Dame four-star running back commitment Tony Jones Jr. was invited and accepted an invitation to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl next January.
“It’s a huge honor because I will be playing for our country and playing with the top athletes in the country,” Jones Jr. said. “It’s a blessing by God.”
Jones will be back on campus for Irish Invasion.
Notre Dame extended offers to a plethora of prospects in the 2016 Class this week.
Andre Anthony - VanGorder’s quest to find pass rushers in SEC country extended to New Orleans and Edna Karr High School, one of the top prep programs in Louisiana. Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Oregon and TCU are among the top offers here. Notre Dame hasn’t had much luck at Edna Karr over the last several years. Louisiana recruiting had an up tick last cycle with Jerry Tillery and Bo Wallace, even with Wallace not clearing admissions and signing with Arizona State this week. However, the Irish are rebuilding connections in the state with Autry Denson after Kerry Cooks’ departure from the staff.
Jalen Elliott - It didn’t take long for the Irish to pull the trigger after Scott Booker saw Elliott in person. A quarterback turned defensive back/receiver, Elliott is loaded with athleticism and potential. A visit to South Bend could be in the works for Elliott, who considers education as one of the most important criteria for picking a college. Auburn, Georgia, Maryland, Miami, N.C. State, Virginia and Virginia Tech are among Elliott’s early offers.
Najee Harris - Harris, a five-star sophomore running back, is considered by some as the top 2017 prospect in the nation. He committed to Alabama in April and that likely won’t change but that won’t stop the Irish from making a run at Harris.
Jake Moretti - Harry Hiestand moved into the Class of 2017 with an offer to Moretti, one of the top offensive tackle prospects in the next cycle. Moretti plans to visit Miami this summer and has offers from Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, and Wisconsin, among others. Seems like Notre Dame will become an early player, as they are for most offensive linemen Hiestand covets.
Jonah Morris - The three-star linebacker committed to Michigan State on May 12 and within a week he landed offers from Notre Dame and Wisconsin. Morris confirmed his commitment to the Spartans but could be open to an official visit to South Bend in the fall.
Jeffrey Okudah - Okudah is one of the top prospects at any position in the Class of 2017. He added Notre Dame and Duke offers this week to list that already includes Alabama. Okudah maintains a wide open recruitment and said an Irish offer carries weight on academics alone.
Jonathan Smith – An underrated inside linebacker prospect from North Carolina, Smith was offered by Keith Gilmore this week. Smith, who has Notre Dame and North Carolina at the top, will visit Notre Dame in June, likely for Irish Invasion.
Devwah Whaley - Notre Dame dipped into Texas for another running back as it looks to find a complement for Tony Jones Jr. Whaley revealed a top 10 of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas and Texas A&M shortly before the offer. It’s unclear whether Notre Dame can make a meaningful impact on that group at this point.
Notable staff stops
- Todd Lyght saw three-star defensive back Deon Edwards of Minneloa (Fla.) Lake Minneola play Thursday. Edwards is ranked as a safety but says Notre Dame is recruiting him primarily for cornerback. Edwards has a top three of Arkansas, Louisville and South Carolina, but should Notre Dame offer the Irish would join that top group. He believes a Notre Dame offer is headed his way as soon as Brian Kelly approves it.
- Mike Sanford checked on five-star linebacker Caleb Kelly this week. Kelly has a top three of Michigan, Oklahoma and UCLA. He’s set to visit for Irish Invasion, where Notre Dame hopes to make an impression in order to land one of his five official visits.
- Running back/slot wide receiver Deon McIntosh received a visit from Denson on the day of his high school spring game. McIntosh considers Notre Dame among his top 10, and Miami likely holds the lead.
- Mike Denbrock checked on priority four-star wide receiver Tre Nixon, the second time Notre Dame has seen him this spring. Nixon has many suitors, but Notre Dame has a solid shot of landing an official visit.
- Lyght saw safety prospect Carlos Becker this week. Becker does not yet hold a Notre Dame offer, but he communicates frequently with Denson on Twitter. Should Notre Dame offer, the Irish would get serious consideration from Becker, who has said he wants to leave Florida for college.
- VanGorder and Denson teamed up to visit IMG Academy this week, where they saw Irish commitment Tony Jones and checked on linebacker Jango Glakin and 2017 wide receiver Emmanuel Greene. Glakin has a ways to go before he adds an Irish offer, but he plans to visit Notre Dame and Ohio State this summer. Greene said he hoped to have added an Irish offer by now, but he’s confident one will still come his direction. He named a top list of Clemson, Miami, Ohio State, Florida State (no offer), Louisville, UCLA and West Virginia.
- Elston saw Winchester (Ind.) running back Kiante Enis practice this week. Enis, who has added offers this spring from Michigan and Michigan State, rushed for 3,189 yards and 49 touchdowns on 299 carries in 12 games last fall. He is the son of former Penn State All-American and NFL running back, Curtis Enis and likely projects as an athlete recruit for Notre Dame.
- Elston checked on four-star defensive end Auston Robertson of Fort Wayne (Ind.) Wayne. Robertson is eyeing a return visit to Notre Dame before his final decision on June 7. Michigan State is the favorite.
News and notes
- Florida believes it is a solid front-runner for three-star wide receiver Joshua Hammond, who plans to enroll early. Hammond visited Notre Dame in March. Ohio State and Michigan are also contenders as Hammond could be off the board this summer.
- Add four-star quarterback Hunter Johnson and three-star wide receiver Kevin Stepherson to the Irish Invasion guest list. Notre Dame enters June as one of Johnson’s leaders. Penn State and Tennessee are the biggest competitors, and it’s possible a decision for the Class of 2017 quarterback could come in August. Stepherson will see Notre Dame for the first time during his Irish Invasion visit. Florida, LSU and Notre Dame are his top three schools.
- Four-star safety Chauncey Gardner continues to talk about taking other visits despite a March verbal commitment to Florida. Notre Dame, Auburn, Alabama and Ohio State are others still in the mix. Gardner could make it to South Bend before The Opening in July, although there are still steps to take in terms of getting a visit set in stone.
- Four-star quarterback Jalen Hurts has been fielding interest from several programs this spring but Notre Dame hasn't been one of them up to this point. He had been hearing from the Irish earlier in the process.
- It's looking less likely New Orleans (La.) Brother Martin tight end Irvin Smith, whose father Irv Smith played at Notre Dame, will visit for Irish Invasion. The Irish have yet to show meaningful interest this spring as they zero in on four-star Cary Angeline as their top target at the position. Alabama, Florida, Miami and Michigan are among the major offers.
- Elston has maintained communication with three-star linebacker Koby Quansah from West Hartford, Conn., and is scheduled to visit the school on Tuesday. Quansah had sent Elston a link to his highlight tape and the Irish coach responded that he already had watched it and that’s what prompted the trip. Michigan could be Notre Dame’s stiffest competition should the Irish extend an offer.
- On Friday three-star safety Chacho Ulloa of Corona (Calif.) Centennial announced a top five of Arizona State, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Stanford and Vanderbilt. Ulloa will take an official visit to Notre Dame on Oct. 17 for the USC game and will be joined by teammate and a top wide receiver target for the Irish, Javon McKinley.