Insider Report: Crunching numbers

The Insider Report examines what Notre Dame needs to add at each position to complete its current recruiting haul haul. We also take an early look at the elite visitor list expected in town next weekend.

Recruiting coordinator Mike Elston said Notre Dame’s Target Number for the Class of 2016 is subject to change. That means with 14 commitments On Board the Irish have some flexibility with how they fill out their current haul, with room for nearly 10 more prospects to come On Board.

So how might the class fill out? The Insider Report breaks down those numbers, with the ideal figure listed in parentheses.

OFFENSE

Quarterback (1)
On Board: Ian Book
Target Number: One
Notes: Book committed to Notre Dame on Aug. 4.

Running Back (2)
On Board: Tony Jones Jr.
Target Number: One traditional back and one all-purpose back with slot skills such as Deon McIntosh or Melquise Stovall.
Notes: Stovall and McIntosh have scheduled official visits to Notre Dame for Sept. 5 and Oct. 17, respectively. Baylor commitment Kameron Martin could also make an appearance for the opener. 

Wide Receiver (3-4)
On Board: Chase Claypool, Kevin Stepherson
Target Number: One slot receiver with all-purpose back skills, one “X” receiver and one elite athlete is the ideal, although the Irish could go over that mark. Damian Alloway, Marquez Callaway, Nate Craig, Javon McKinley and Demetris Robertson remain in play.
Notes: Alloway fits the bill of slot wide receiver with all-purpose back skills. McKinley is the No. 1 wide receiver on the board. Callaway, Claypool, and Robertson could project on defense.

Tight End (0-1)
On Board: None
Target Number: None
Notes: Notre Dame would like to sign two tight ends in 2017. Brock Wright is already on board with Cole Kmet the ideal complement.

Offensive Line (3-4)
On Board: Parker Boudreaux, Liam Eichenberg, Tommy Kraemer
Target Number: None
Notes: Eichenberg and Kraemer project as tackles and Boudreaux projects as a guard.

DEFENSE

Defensive Line (3-4)
On Board: Jamir Jones, Adetokunbo Ogundeji, Julian Okwara
Target Number: One edge rusher and one elite tackle. The targets are Rashan Gary, Carlo Kemp, and Justin Madubuike.
Notes: Notre Dame feels confident where it stands with Kemp, who will take his official visit on Oct. 10. Gary is the lone interior lineman Notre Dame is recruiting.

Linebacker (2-3)
On Board: None
Target Number: One inside, one outside and one with the ability play both. The main candidates are T.J. Brunson, Aaron Hansford, Mique Juarez, Daelin Hayes, Dontavious Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Caleb Kelly and Jeffrey McCulloch.
Notes: Brunson (Sept. 5), Hansford (Sept. 19), Jones (Sept. 26), and Kelly (Dec. 11) have scheduled visits. Brunson will be an unofficial. The others will be officials. Hayes could attend the USC game, according to his father.

Defensive Back (5-6)
On Board: Jalen Elliott, Julian Love, Spencer Perry
Target Number: Three or four safeties to go with two cornerbacks. The Irish are still targeting Brandon Burton, Eric Cuffee, Jordan Fuller, Chauncey Gardner, Damar Hamlin, Lamar Jackson, D.J. Morgan, Ikenna Okeke, Davonte Robinson, Devin Studstill, Chanse Sylvie, Chacho Ulloa, Donte Vaughn, Nigel Warrior.
Notes: Elliott and Love have combo safety/cornerback skills. Perry, who could project at linebacker, will take official visits. Vaughn visits on Sept. 5 and could be the next recruit to join the class.

Specialists (1)
On Board: John Shannon
Target Number: One
Notes: Shannon is a long-snapper that committed in March.

Early look: Texas visitors

The visitor list for the Texas game should grow in the next week. But it’s worth a quick look at the star power planning to attend.

Four-star cornerback Eric Cuffee revealed this week he’ll be back in South Bend to watch the Irish take on Texas, another of his top contenders. Right now it’s the only official visit Cuffee has scheduled. He mentioned setting up trips to Texas A&M and Ole Miss as well. Notre Dame last hosted Cuffee for the Irish Invasion.

Other defensive backs expected include four-star safeties Donte Vaughn and Lamar Jackson plus three-star safety D.J. Morgan.

Vaughn visited twice over the summer and it’s likely the Irish are his firm leader with a mid-October decision expected. Morgan visited in the spring but didn’t land an offer. He later committed to Arizona State then scored an Irish scholarship. He’s since walked back from that commitment and remains open heading into the official visit.

Notre Dame feels good about its position with Morgan given their longtime involvement and his familiarity with the program.

Getting to Notre Dame will be the first of five official visits for Jackson. Oregon (Sept. 19), Arizona State (Sept. 26), Oklahoma (Oct. 3) and Michigan (Oct. 17) are all in line to host. Local schools UCLA and USC remain in the mix as well, although they won’t receive official visits because of their proximity to home. Jackson is a 7-on-7 teammate of quarterback commitment Ian Book.

Four-star athlete Melquise Stovall scheduled his trip within the last week. Notre Dame feels Stovall will fit in well and likes him as a potential slot receiver/running back combination. Stovall was once committed to USC.

Louisville linebacker commitment T.J. Brunson is putting together an unofficial visit after scoring an invitation. Notre Dame has shown preliminary interest. He had yet to talk with any of the coaches, however, as of the middle of this week.

Headliners in the junior class include four-star defensive end Corey Malone-Hatcher and four-star tight end Cole Kmet. Both hold offers with Notre Dame among the top contenders.

Kmet has visited three times since spring, including for the Irish Invasion. Ohio State is also at the top of his list. Malone-Hatcher was also on hand for that elite camp. Michigan and Michigan State are the other major players.

5-star LB to get full weekend visit

Five-star linebacker Caleb Kelly released a full list of scheduled official visits.

Michigan (Sept. 19), Oregon (Oct. 11), Texas (Nov. 7), Oklahoma (Nov. 21) and Notre Dame (Dec. 11) are all in line to play host. Notre Dame will be the only program to get Kelly on campus for a non-game day weekend if all goes to plan.

Notre Dame wanted to get a game visit but the most important strategy was to get Kelly in on a weekend where he can soak up everything, along with his mother. Getting them on campus for the banquet will allow for a more in-depth visit, plus it’s the last one on the schedule, another positive.

Oklahoma is the perceived leader at this point. The Sooners have had recent success in Fresno with wide receiver Michiah Quick and safety Hatari Byrd.

No. 1 shifts focus

Defensive tackle Rashan Gary, the nation’s top prospect, spent the off-season focused on recruiting.

He visited several schools and participated in The Opening to showcase his skills. He even flirted with a visit to Notre Dame. Obviously, that trip never materialized but it still could.

“No, it hasn't sailed,” said Jennifer Coney, Gary’s mother. “In fact, everything has stalled. He's taking a few weeks off from visiting and recruiting. He says he wants to concentrate on his senior year and football.”

Paramus Catholic opens the season against Eastern Christian Academy on Sept. 4.

Coney believes she and her son will get back to the recruiting process later in the month.

“Probably by the end of September he'll be more into it,” she said.

Notre Dame hopes to land one of Gary’s five official visits. Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, UCLA and USC are among the other schools Gary is considering.


IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories