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BEAVERTON, Ore. - Irish Illustrated dives into Notre Dame recruiting news and notes from The Opening registration with updates on Elijah Holyfield, Eric Cuffee, Lamar Jackson and more.

BEAVERTON, Ore. - Notre Dame remains in the mix for four-star running back Elijah Holyfield, although the Irish could be cut from that competition in short order. Holyfield, the son of former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, said he’ll edit his list to a Top 10 soon with a decision potentially coming before his senior season at Woodward Academy in College Park, Ga.

Holyfield visited Notre Dame for Junior Day in March.

An official visit could be difficult for the Irish to grab.

“Probably two or three will be in the SEC and the rest will be outside the SEC, so it’s not just all there,” Holyfield said. “I’m trying to let the coaches know because it’s getting kind of hectic right now. More than anything, just trying to cut my list.”

Holyfield arrived at The Opening wearing a Georgia wristband. He said he’ll get back to Athens later this summer, with trips to Auburn and Tennessee also in the works. Notre Dame made an impression at Junior Day, but Holyfield admitted the Irish program is also outside his comfort zone.

“More than anything I learned about the tradition a lot,” he said. “Got to see the campus, got a really good tour of everything. I had a good time. It was a lot different than I thought. Different town. It’s different. It’s different. It was interesting. I want to get to see it again.”

Holyfield said he maintains contact with Autry Denson and Scott Booker, although when asked about the assistant coaches that have connected with him most, he listed Thomas Brown (Georgia), Tim Horton (Auburn) and Robert Gillespie (Tennessee).

Cuffee plans return visit

Notre Dame impressed four-star cornerback Eric Cuffee enough to be in line for another visit.

Cuffee spent time on campus during the Irish Invasion, where he worked out with the coaching staff and took a look around campus for the first time. Getting hands on with defensive backs coach Todd Lyght remains a high point of the visit.

“Just their family-type tradition is what I liked the most,” Cuffee said. “It’s a great coaching staff as a group. I think they’re a great coaching staff with experience. They have a lot of experience, so I think that’s a tremendous factor in their recruitment.”

Cuffee, who plans to begin narrowing the list this week, thought so much of the trip there’s likely to be another soon. It will likely be an official visit during the season.

“They loved me,” he said. “They wanted me to come back up again and I’m probably gonna go back up there very soon.”

Irish to make cut for Jackson

Safety Lamar Jackson of Elk Grove (Calif.) Franklin plans to trim his list to seven this month and Notre Dame is primed to make the cut.

"Notre Dame will be in the top seven for sure,” Jackson said. "I hear it's a great campus and the education is top of the line. The staff is giving me good vibes. I know they need defensive backs and that's what I want to do, make an instant impact right away.”

Notre Dame hopes it will be among the five schools to host him in the fall.

“(Notre Dame) wants me to get out there as soon as possible, but I'm pretty sure they'll be one of my officials because I've heard they have a great campus,” Jackson said. “Michigan will (receive an official), and I'm pretty sure USC, UCLA will both get one. Oregon is up there. It just depends my top schools at the time, because I've seen USC and UCLA plenty of times, so I might give my officials to schools that are farther away.”

Offensive coordinator Mike Sanford is heading the recruitment of Jackson for Notre Dame.

Corley keeps ND in play

Four-star wide receiver Donnie Corley didn’t make it to the Irish Invasion but has no plans to cut Notre Dame from his list.

“I still have plans to get back there,” Corley said. “We ended up having some football stuff that weekend. But I still want to get down there.”

Corley did make a recent visit to Tennessee. He plans to hold off on making a commitment as other contenders come into the picture. Georgia, LSU and perhaps a couple programs in Florida could receive visits down the line.

Postponing a potential preseason commitment should help Corley see a bigger picture.

“They’re recruiting me for a reason,” Corley said. “They want me. I want to give them a chance, get out and see what they have to offer.”

Nation’s No. 1 focused elsewhere

Five-star defensive tackle Rashan Gary and a potential offseason trip to Notre Dame seems to have fallen off the radar.

Gary made a swing through the Midwest without stopping in South Bend. But overall it appears Clemson and Georgia have emerged as heavy contenders.

Stovall targeting official visit

Four-star running back and USC commitment Melquise Stovall continues to maintain interest in Notre Dame with plans to take an official visit to South Bend.

Right now Notre Dame is the only other program Stovall is considering for an official visit outside USC. Miami recently fell off the list.


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