Big Board: Safety

Notre Dame hit safety recruiting hard during the spring evaluation period. Now the Big Board breaks down all the new targets and picks out the names to know moving forward.

Notre Dame needs quality and quantity in its secondary recruiting. This spring saw the staff evaluate a number of safeties from the West Coast to South Florida, and what resulted was a massive overhaul on the Big Board at safety.

Current Outlook

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

Free safety: Max Redfield, Drue Tranquill, Nicky Baratti, Matthias Farley
Strong-side safety: Elijah Shumate, Avery Sebastian, John Turner

Notre Dame will lose Farley, Sebastian and Shumate after next season as their collective eligibility runs out. Redfield could make an early jump into the NFL draft after his junior year. Technically, Baratti and Turner will have fifth-year options, but considering how little impact they’ve made through three seasons, it wouldn’t be a surprise if both departed after 2015.

If all those scenarios play out it would leave Drue Tranquill, coming off an ACL repair, as Notre Dame’s only upperclassman safety in 2016.

With all that in mind, Notre Dame probably can’t red shirt Nicco Fertitta or Mykelti Williams this fall.

What’s Next

Notre Dame will ideally sign at least three safeties in 2016. Combo safety/cornerback types are being targeted as part of this secondary class.

The next step for the staff is forming relationships - and building upon existing ones - with the handful of safeties to pick up offers in the past couple weeks. For many, that starts at Irish Invasion, where the Irish expect to host at least seven of their safety prospects.

Kenny Lyke, Ikenna Okeke, Devin Studstill and Chacho Ulloa all have Notre Dame in their lead pack entering summer, even though Lyke committed to Michigan State last month.

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

Safety
Carlos Becker
6-3, 180
Kissimmee, Fla.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Lyght Top Offers: Florida State, Ohio State, Ole Miss
New: Notre Dame made Becker’s long list of favorites with the offer. The Irish hope to make a summer move when he visits for the Irish Invasion.
Korey Charles
5-10, 169
Tallahassee, Fla.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Denson Top Offers: Florida State, Florida, Clemson, Miami
New: Charles plans to potentially commit in August, which makes getting him to the Midwest difficult. The Florida State offer represents a mountain to climb.
Deon Edwards
6-1, 190
Lake Minneola, Fla.
Offer: No Visit: No Recruiter: Lyght Top Offers: Arkansas, Louisville, South Carolina
New: Lyght evaluated Edwards this spring and the Irish would likely jump into the lead pack with an offer this summer.
Jalen Elliott
6-1, 185
Chesterfield, Va
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Booker Top Offers: Auburn, Georgia, Va. Tech, Virginia, Miami
Update: Elliott will visit Notre Dame for Irish Invasion. He plans to narrow his list after taking visits this summer.
Lamar Jackson
6-2, 210
Elk Grove, Calif.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Sanford Top Offers: Michigan, Oregon, UCLA, USC
New: Notre Dame joined the mix with an offer late in the game; however, the Irish should make his first cut. USC is a main contender.
Thomas Jones Jr.
6-3, 188
Laurens, S.C.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Denson Top Offers: Louisville, North Carolina, South Carolina, Vanderbilt
New: Notre Dame is one of Jones’ biggest offers to date. He hopes to visit this summer, but otherwise expect a visit from him in the fall.
Cameron Lewis
6-1, 190
Monroe, La.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Denson Top Offers: LSU, Texas A&M, Georgia, Michigan
Outlook: Stealing a LSU defensive back commitment from Louisiana? Notre Dame is trying, with Lewis scheduled to attend Irish Invasion in June.
Kenney Lyke
6-2, 185
Palatine, Ill.
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Denbrock Top Offers: Michigan St., Nebraska, Penn St.
Update: Lyke committed to Michigan State after a late Notre Dame offer took things down to the wire. The Irish expect to be a player here until the very end.
Ikenna Okeke
6-2, 189
Smyrna, Tenn.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Elston Top Offers: Stanford, Tennessee
Outlook: Notre Dame was among the first schools to visit Okeke during the evaluation period. He’s been working on a summer visit. Stanford is a contender.
Spencer Perry
6-3, 195
Bradenton, Fla.
Offer: No Visit: No Recruiter: Lyght Top Offers: Florida, Auburn, Clemson, Michigan, Ohio St.
New: This Gator commit and teammate of Irish commit Tony Jones Jr. will visit multiple programs this summer, including Notre Dame for Irish Invasion.
C.J. Pollard
6-1, 190
Gardena, Calif.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Denbrock Top Offers: USC, Michigan, Oregon, ASU
Update: USC is in a good spot to get Pollard’s pledge this summer, but he still plans to take five official visits. Good chance he’s in South Bend this October.
Devin Studstill
6-0, 183
Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Denson Top Offers: Michigan St., Penn St., Miami, Wisconsin, Louisville
Outlook: The former prep teammate of Te’Von Coney will visit for the Irish Invasion. Word around Studstill is the Irish are in position to impress.
Chase Sylvie
6-0, 175
Shreveport, La.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Lyght Top Offers: Michigan, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Tennessee
New: Notre Dame hopes to secure a visit from the cousin of Tarean Folston. Sylvie is a national prospect that rates Tennessee near the top of his list.
Chacho Ulloa
6-0, 190
Corona, Calif.
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Sanford Top Offers: Stanford, Michigan St., Wisconsin, ASU, Boise St.
Update: Notre Dame’s best bet, with an official visit set and Irish Invasion travel scheduled. The Irish offered in spring and shot to the front of the pack.
Craig Watts
6-0, 180
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Denson Top Offers: FSU, Ohio St., Alabama, Michigan, UNC
Update:Watts will visit for Irish Invasion, but with a mid-July decision date on the docket, he’s not projected to end up at Notre Dame.
JoeJuan Williams
6-3, 194
Nashville, Tenn.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Elston Top Offers: Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Ohio St., Florida, Michigan St.
Update:One of Notre Dame’s top targets, Williams plans to visit Notre Dame this summer. Competition is stiff for this this nationally recruited prospect.


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