Insider Report: Invasion going elite

The Irish Invasion will take a big step forward in its second year based on the growing guest list. The Insider Report tackles that topic, hits on new offers and reveals how the Irish pitched tight end Luke Farrell during Thursday’s visit. Can Notre Dame land the jumbo Ohio athlete?

With the Irish Invasion one week away, the guest list has taken a hard turn toward the elite.

Four-star receiver Donnie Corley revealed yesterday that he plans to see Notre Dame again for its premier summer camp. His father will likely join him in South Bend before the standout from Detroit makes a cut to his list.

Corley said Michigan State and Tennessee are all but assured to make his next cut. For Notre Dame to advance the Irish need to put on a good show at the Invasion. And if Corley is evaluating programs by the talent they can attract to their camps, Notre Dame should be in good shape to advance.

Four-star receivers Chase Claypool and Marquez Callaway are also expected to attend. Callaway plays on both sides of the ball, although early indications are the Irish like him at receiver. Georgia appears to be the current leader, but there’s no hard decision date on the schedule.

Claypool, a Canada native who could grow into a hybrid tight end, is looking toward Irish Invasion as perhaps the highlight of his summer camp circuit. He chose to make the trip despite a hectic schedule for specific reasons.

“They’re so many things,” Claypool said. “Like how their players room with not their teammates but students from around the country maybe. They’re a private school, obviously. The amount of kids on campus, the education they have to offer. Those things.”

Associate head coach Mike Denbrock and recruiting coordinator Mike Elston have been in steady contact. Denbrock is expected at Sound Mind, Sound Body on Friday to work with Claypool as part of the camp session.

Claypool listed Nevada, Rutgers, Oregon, Tennessee, Nebraska and Utah among those recruiting him hardest in recent weeks. There are no cuts or commitment plans locked into place.

Here are a few other notable names recently added to the Irish Invasion list:

Tomon Fox: Primarily hearing from ACC programs, the defensive end/outside linebacker picked up a Notre Dame offer this spring. North Carolina leads, and he plans to announce his commitment before the start of the season.

Robert Beal: The junior defensive end has family connections in South Bend and will make his second visit this year for Irish Invasion. Nearby schools are working to keep the Georgia product in SEC territory, but there’s legitimate interest in Notre Dame.

Antwuan Jackson: The top schools in this Georgia defensive tackle’s recruitment, which could end this month with a commitment, include Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Florida, Ohio State and South Carolina.

Elysee Mbem-Bosse: Alabama and Auburn lead for the Georgia linebacker. Mbem-Bosse projects as an inside linebacker.

Netori Johnson: An Alabama commitment, the offensive guard from Georgia appears to be along for the ride on this visit to Notre Dame with his teammates, Jackson and Mbem-Bosse.

Daniel Joseph: The defensive end will work out for Notre Dame (or at least just visit) even while considering a solid group of offers. Duke, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, N.C. State, Nebraska, North Carolina and Stanford have all jumped on board.

Four-star running back commitment Tony Jones Jr. will no longer make the trip for Irish Invasion. He’ll instead compete in the IMG National 7-on-7 tournament back home in Florida. High School teammate Spencer Perry, however, remains on track to visit. Perry, a Florida defensive back commitment, will make the trek for Irish Invasion with his family.

Notable new senior offers …

Notre Dame also extended a scholarship offer to Donte Vaughn, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound safety, who visited campus on Wednesday. Vaughn was impressed with Notre Dame’s blend of academics and athletics and the Irish should get another look from Vaughn this fall. The Irish staff believes it will get an official visit this fall, even without much of a recruiting track record in Memphis, Tenn.

Outside linebacker Koby Quansah landed an offer this week after anxiously waiting for the Irish to finish their evaluation of him. Quansah feels like he’s a perfect fit as a Mike linebacker in Notre Dame’s pro-style defense. He’s already on record that he’ll use an official visit on the Irish, with an earlier unofficial stop in South Bend unlikely.

Defensive end Carlo Kemp had been on Notre Dame’s radar as a potential offer for an entire year before the Irish pulled the trigger. Notre Dame is Kemp’s dream offer, and though Michigan and UCLA are recruiting him hard, Notre Dame is in the driver’s seat. It’s possible Kemp gets on campus before fall. For now, Kemp says he wants to take official visits before making a decision.

Athlete Melquise Stovall plays on both sides of the ball plus contributes on special teams, making him one of the most versatile athletes on the West Coast. He’s been committed to USC since April. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he took an official visit to Notre Dame for the USC game in October.

And some juniors too

The Irish didn’t focus all their attention on the recruiting class of 2016. They offered Class of 2017 prospects Wyatt Davis, Ty Chandler and Jacoby Stevens. Davis, the son of Duane Davis, who played Alvin Mack in the 1996 film The Program, is a four-star offensive lineman who had hoped to land an Irish offer. He wants to see Notre Dame soon. Stevens is listed as a four-star wide receiver but the Irish like him at cornerback. Chandler is a running back from Montgomery Bell Academy in Tennessee. That’s the same school that produced Irish sophomore offensive lineman Alex Bars.

Safety R.J. Potts also picked up a Notre Dame offer this week, a unique move for the Irish considering they were the first to go all-in with the Indiana prospect. Potts will likely visit Notre Dame this summer, but not for the Irish Invasion due to a scheduling conflict. He has potential to be one of the top Midwest talents in his class. Potts performed in front of the Michigan staff in Indianapolis last week, and the Wolverines could be next to offer. If SEC programs jump in the equation here, Potts may look to head south.

Irish make up ground with Farrell

Notre Dame’s offer to tight end Luke Farrell moved the Irish into the four-star prospect’s top five with Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State and Boston College. But the late offer also left the Irish with a lot of ground to make up.

Notre Dame helped its cause when Farrell visited on Thursday.

First, the Irish explained their recruiting philosophy, which turned the late offer into a positive for the 6-foot-6, 220-pound prospect from Perry, Ohio.

“They talked about how they’re recruiting system works and how it may seem that I didn’t get an offer until a couple weeks ago but that’s just really the path they take with their recruiting, which I understand,” Farrell said. “They were telling me how I’d have to compete for a spot because there are some great tight ends that come to Notre Dame but there is a spot for me if I’m willing to take it.”

Farrell then spent time with academic personnel and met tight ends Durham Smythe and Nic Weishar.

Overall, Farrell was impressed with everything he saw.

“It’s definitely up there with my top five that I have right now,” Farrell said. “It’s not really in any order. Next week I’m going to start figuring out what fits me best.”


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