Big Board: Safety

Safety recruiting got a massive makeover after the Irish Invasion, with Notre Dame suddenly in ideal position with several top targets. The Big Board goes deep with Notre Dame’s biggest need.

Notre Dame got its first safety commitment last weekend when Jalen Elliott popped at the Irish Invasion. Brian Kelly needs that to be the start of a trend. The good news for the Irish is it appears it might be.

Elliott chose Notre Dame over offers from Auburn, Georgia, Maryland, N.C. State, North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and West Virginia. At 6-foot-1, 185-pounds, Elliott projects as a free safety but also possesses the skillset to develop into a big cornerback. That’s the kind of versatility the Irish want.

Now Notre Dame wants more of it.

Irish Illustrated gives safety the Big Board treatment after a volatile weekend at the Irish Invasion.

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. If the Irish can find the right mix of prospects, taking four won’t be out of the question.

Notre Dame wanted to get a firm handle on its safety board during the Irish Invasion and did. Beyond landing Elliott, the Irish are now in the lead pack for Ikenna Okeke, Spencer Perry, Devin Studstill and Chacho Ulloa.

Realistically, Notre Dame could be full at the position before the season. Okeke, Perry and Studstill all plan to make summer decisions. Ulloa has a different timeline, with an official visit set for the USC game in October.

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

Carlos Becker
6-3, 180
Kissimmee, Fla.
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Lyght Top Offers: Florida State, Ohio State, Ole Miss
Update: A mediocre review of his Irish Invasion experience with Notre Dame now stronger with other targets points to Becker ending up elsewhere in the end.
Jalen Elliott
6-1, 185
Chesterfield, Va
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Booker Top Offers: Committed on June 19
Update: Elliott committed during the Irish Invasion over multiple ACC/SEC programs. His versatility is elite, with corner potential and a prep resume at quarterback.
Lamar Jackson
6-2, 210
Elk Grove, Calif.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Sanford Top Offers: Michigan, Oregon, UCLA, USC
Update:This recruitment took off during the spring evaluation period, when the Irish offered. For now, Jackson is looking hard at his Pac-12 options than a Midwest move.
Thomas Jones Jr.
6-3, 188
Laurens, S.C.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Denson Top Offers: Louisville, North Carolina, South Carolina, Vanderbilt
Update:The Irish offered this two-sport athlete in the spring. It is one of his biggest offers, but South Carolina and Vanderbilt seem like better fits.
Cameron Lewis
6-1, 190
Monroe, La.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Denson Top Offers: LSU, Texas A&M, Georgia, Michigan
Update:Lewis never showed at the Irish Invasion, which may eliminate Notre Dame for this LSU commitment from Louisiana. That’s tough hill to climb.
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 in May, but Notre Dame will continue to keep in touch, but only if there’s a spot available.
Ikenna Okeke
6-2, 189
Smyrna, Tenn.
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Elston Top Offers: Stanford, Tennessee
Update:Okeke almost pulled the trigger for Notre Dame during the Irish Invasion, but he decided to see Stanford before making a summer commitment.
Spencer Perry
6-3, 195
Bradenton, Fla.
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Lyght Top Offers: Florida, Auburn, Clemson, Michigan, Ohio St.
Update:Just days after the Irish Invasion, Perry de-committed from Florida. Notre Dame seems to be the new leader, with a commitment potentially imminent.
C.J. Pollard
6-1, 190
Gardena, Calif.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Denbrock Top Offers: USC, Michigan, Oregon, ASU
Update:Pollard will announce at The Opening with USC in front. Notre Dame could get a late official visit, but this recruitment doesn’t look good.
Devin Studstill
6-0, 183
Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Denson Top Offers: Michigan St., Penn St., Miami, Wisconsin, Louisville
Update:Studstill has a top three of Miami, Notre Dame and West Virginia. He’s a Mountaineer legacy and a South Florida resident, but the Irish may lead.
Chase Sylvie
6-0, 175
Shreveport, La.
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Lyght Top Offers: Michigan, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Tennessee
Update:The cousin of Tarean Folston, Notre Dame is working that angle to get a visit this fall. Competition is stiff for Sylvie, who touts an impressive offer list.
Chacho Ulloa
6-0, 190
Corona, Calif.
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Sanford Top Offers: Stanford, Michigan St., Wisconsin, ASU, Boise St.
Update: Ulloa was back for the Irish Invasion and has Notre Dame in his top three with Stanford and Arizona State. But space could be a concern for a fall commitment timeline.
JoeJuan Williams
6-3, 194
Nashville, Tenn.
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Elston Top Offers: Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Ohio St., Florida, Michigan St.
Update:Williams attended the Irish Invasion but didn’t work out. Word around the program was lukewarm on Williams’ experience in South Bend. Top Stories