COVETED Notre Dame PLAYERS
On Notre Dame’s roster, the following players held Virginia offers:
*Designates not included in team’s depth chart
- Starting running back C.J. Prosise (2012)
- Starting left guard Quenton Nelson (2014)
- Backup offensive tackle Mark Harrell (2012)
- Backup defensive end Doug Randolph (2013)*
- Backup outside linebacker Greer Martini (2014)
- Backup left guard Alex Bars (2014)
- Backup center Sam Mustipher (2014)
- Backup cornerback Ashton White (2015)*
Prosise’s first offer came from Virginia on National Signing Day in 2011. In early May, Prosise ran with a top three of Vanderbilt, Virginia and Virginia Tech. Notre Dame offered Prosise later that month following a visit to Woodberry Academy by former Irish assistants Bob Diaco and Charley Molnar. Prosise committed to Notre Dame just days later sight unseen. He took his first visit to campus with his parents in early June.
"I saw this athlete and I said, 'I don't know where he's going to play, but we've got to take him,'” said Brian Kelly this week. “He's just that good of an athlete. Loved his personality, his makeup. A great fit from a great school. We just have to find a place for him to play. Now we're seeing where he can help us and he's helping us at a position of great need."
Notre Dame offered Harrell when the Charlotte, N.C. native visited for Junior Day in 2011. Harrell returned to Notre Dame in March with his parents, and he committed in May. At that time he had a top six of Auburn, Clemson, North Carolina, Notre Dame, South Carolina and Virginia.
In June of 2011 Randolph committed to Stanford over offers from Boston College and Virginia. In February of 2012 Randolph visited Virginia, and that March he took a trip to Notre Dame. In September, Randolph de-committed from Stanford to examine options closer to the east coast. Notre Dame and Virginia emerged. Just two days after his reopening his recruitment, Randolph pledged to the Irish. The reputation of Notre Dame’s business school was a big selling point.
In the 2014 class, Bars, Mustipher and Nelson held Virginia offers, but the Cavaliers were not a legitimate contender for any of the three.
In early June of 2014 White visited Maryland, and named the Terps his leader following his trip to College Park. Boston College, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Virginia comprised his top five, but at the time White didn’t hold a Notre Dame offer. Later that month he camped at Notre Dame. An offer came a week later. Notre Dame immediately surpassed Maryland as his leader, and on July 1, White became Notre Dame’s 16th commitment in the Class of 2015.
COVETED VIRGINIA PLAYERS
On Virginia’s roster, the following players held Notre Dame offers:
- Starting wide receiver Keeon Johnson (2013)
- Starting running back Taquan ‘Smoke’ Mizzell (2013)
- Starting free safety Quin Blanding (2014)
- Backup right tackle Jay Whitmire (2011)
Notre Dame finished as the runner-up for Johnson, a North Carolina product. The former four-star picked up an Irish offer in February that cycle and visited the following month for Junior Day. Notre Dame assistant Mike Elston played a big role in getting Johnson and his father on campus for the unofficial visit. In April, Johnson named a top three of North Carolina, Notre Dame and Virginia. He committed to the Cavaliers in June.
Notre Dame offered Blanding of Virginia Beach (Va.) Bayside in May of 2012 following a stop at the school by Notre Dame assistant Scott Booker. Notre Dame made the former five-star’s list of 10 released in December, which also included Clemson, Florida State, Miami, Michigan, N.C. State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Virginia and West Virginia. In February of 2013, Blanding committed to Virginia.
Mizzell also came from Virginia Beach Bayside. The former five-star held a top group of Clemson, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Virginia and West Virginia before committing to the Cavaliers in August of 2012. Mizzell was recruited by Booker for the Irish and never visited campus.
Notre Dame hosted Whitmire, a former three-star, of Alexandria (Va.) Williams on an official visit in November of 2010 when the Irish upset No. 15 Utah. At that point, other schools on Whitmire’s list included Boston College, Duke, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Virginia. Less than two weeks later, Whitmire pulled the trigger for Virginia. Former Irish offensive coordinator Charley Molnar was Notre Dame’s lead recruiter.
Whitmire missed all of 2014 with a back injury. He started 12 games in 2013.
Notre Dame has yet to offer junior running back A.J. Dillon of Groton (Mass.) Lawrence Academy, but he’s an Irish legacy that will be in Charlottesville on Saturday as a Virginia recruit. Dillon holds offers from Boston College, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Syracuse, Temple, Villanova and Virginia. Dillon heard from Notre Dame running backs coach Autry Denson on the first day of the September contact period.
Players committed to Notre Dame in the Class of 2016 that hold Virginia offers include offensive lineman Parker Boudreaux, safety Jalen Elliott, defensive end Julian Okwara and wide receiver Kevin Stepherson.
UVA was never a legitimate player for any of the four.
None of Virginia’s 22 commitments hold Irish offers. Three-star offensive tackle commit Ben Knutson hails from Mishawaka (Ind.) Penn.