Insider Report: Prediction Time

The Insider Report predicts the final destinations for several top Notre Dame targets who are trending toward fall commitments. There’s a new name at receiver and a commitment clears the air on visits.

Recruiting always slows when training camp opens.

So it goes with Notre Dame deep into its preparation. Most area high schools have started their practices as well, with some donning full pads.

Notre Dame will host several visitors for the season opener but this edition of Insider Report will look even farther ahead to some potential commitments down the road.

The recruiting staff went roundtable on five predictions for the future.

Damian Alloway - wide receiver - Fontana, Calif.

Jake Brown

Pick: Notre Dame
Confidence: High 
Thoughts: Alloway might keep taking a look at other programs, specifically UCLA, but Notre Dame built a formidable lead coming out of a summer visit. Things would have to change drastically for him to end up anywhere else.

Steve Hare

Pick: Notre Dame
Confidence: Medium
Thoughts: Alloway was blown away by Notre Dame after visiting last month. That said, the Irish will have their hands full recruiting him until Signing Day as he has stated he will still take his official visits.

Anna Hickey

Pick: Notre Dame
Confidence: Medium
Thoughts: Alloway plans to visit again for the USC game and I expect him to arrive as an Irish commitment even if it’s not public. Alloway could commit to the staff in the next couple weeks but delay going on record until he takes more visits, in particular to UCLA and Michigan.

Hunter Johnson - quarterback - Brownsburg, Ind. (2017)

Jake Brown

Pick: Notre Dame
Confidence: Low
Thoughts: Not ready to budge off this pick yet but Tennessee has made it interesting heading into the season. Getting Johnson and his parents back on campus this weekend is a big positive. Now all the Irish need to do is put to rest some of their doubts and questions.

Steve Hare

Pick: Notre Dame
Confidence: Low
Thoughts: Tennessee certainly has made this one interesting but the opportunity to be the quarterback at Notre Dame might be too much for Johnson to pass up.

Anna Hickey

Pick: Notre Dame
Confidence: Low
Thoughts: Johnson is scheduled to visit Notre Dame with his parents this weekend and will spend time with the current quarterbacks to get a better feel. Offensive coordinator Mike Sanford is keeping the Irish in this race, which may extend longer than expected. Could Notre Dame end things with a knockout visit? It’s possible, but so is a decision coming as far down the line as after his junior season. Tennessee is a legit contender. N.C. State is still on the table as an option. Don’t be surprised if Johnson circles back around on some other schools.

Andrew Pryts - safety - Hermitage, Pa.

Jake Brown

Pick: Ohio State
Confidence: Low
Thoughts: Penn State seems to have all the buzz right now coming off a visit, plus Pryts is a legacy. But I’m never one to bet against Urban Meyer for a prospect he wants. I’ll stick with the Buckeyes and not be too crestfallen if it turns out to be wrong.

Steve Hare

Pick: Penn State
Confidence: Medium
Thoughts: Pryts is tough to read and it was once believed Ohio State was the leader. Now it appears Penn State, his father’s alma mater, has taken over that top spot.

Anna Hickey

Pick: Penn State
Confidence: Medium
Thoughts: Pryts wants to make a decision from his top three by the end of the month. His most recent visit was to Penn State last weekend and the Nittany Lions feel great about their chances to edge Ohio State. Notre Dame will likely finish third.

Devin Studstill - cornerback - Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Jake Brown

Pick: Miami
Confidence: Low
Thoughts: Studstill had a lot of good things to say about Notre Dame coming out of his camp visit. But it didn’t net a commitment and that time could work against the Irish eventually. Maybe it’s just easier to stay near home.

Steve Hare

Pick: Notre Dame
Confidence: Medium
Thoughts: The Irish impressed Studstill during camp over the summer and having a former teammate in South Bend is another positive. This one could come down to numbers.

Anna Hickey

Pick: Notre Dame
Confidence: Low
Thoughts: Studstill was high on Notre Dame after visiting for the Irish Invasion. That’s still the case, but expect his decision timeline to stretch out a bit longer than expected. He has yet to set up official visits.

Donte Vaughn - safety - Memphis, Tenn.

Jake Brown

Pick: Notre Dame
Confidence: High
Thoughts: Vaughn has been to Notre Dame twice this summer, which means one big thing: He likes the Irish enough to make multiple visits happen no matter the obstacles. That should net a commitment soon enough.

Steve Hare

Pick: Notre Dame
Confidence: High
Thoughts: Vaughn visited Notre Dame twice during the summer and liked what he saw. The Irish need bodies at safety and Vaughn could be one of the first to pop. It’s likely he’ll land in South Bend.

Anna Hickey

Pick: Notre Dame
Confidence: High
Thoughts: Vaughn plans to announce his commitment Oct. 12, his birthday. He will take his official visit to Notre Dame for the Texas game and the Irish are the team to beat.

No. 1 wide receiver considering ND visit

Notre Dame has been “relentless” in its pursuit of five-star wide receiver Nate Craig, per a source. That interest hasn’t been reciprocated (and phone calls were never returned) until recently. Notre Dame now has a legitimate shot to receive one of his official visits. Florida State was the long-time favorite, but that’s not the case anymore. Craig’s mom would prefer he stay close to home, so Florida could very well end up having the edge. Miami, North Carolina and Ohio State are others contending to receive a visit this fall.

Perry ponders visits

Safety commitment Spencer Perry may take official visits elsewhere depending on which teams recruit him during the season. Perry named Auburn, Clemson and Ohio State as the current schools still on him.

“I’m very solid (to Notre Dame),” Perry said. “I’m not even sure if I’ll take visits. I haven’t talked with the coaches yet.”

Perry plans to take his official visit to Notre Dame for the USC game.

Irish target Burton

Four-star safety Brandon Burton talks with Notre Dame associate head coach Mike Denbrock “at least every other day.” He has official visits set to Alabama, Florida State, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Oklahoma and plans to commit at the end of his season.

Academics and early playing time are the biggest draws to Notre Dame for Burton, who has yet to name a top group, though UCLA is likely the team to beat. Burton explained how’ll reach his final decision.

“I want to make a smart decision,” he said. “This is not about where I want to go. It’s about listening to God for what’s best for me and my future.”

News and notes
  • Three-star safety Ikenna Okeke has at least three official visits in mind. He plans to see Penn State, wants to make a return to Notre Dame and hopes to see Stanford as well. Notre Dame almost landed Okeke over the summer.
  • Four-star junior tight end Cole Kmet has zeroed in on Notre Dame and Ohio State with Northwestern and Iowa trailing. Kmet will be back in South Bend for the Texas game and plans to visit Ohio State in mid-October. Word is he’s not just torn in public — Kmet is privately vexed over which of his top two options might be a better fit. The result is a process that won’t necessarily end soon.


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