Insider Report: Irish have momentum

Notre Dame didn’t land a commit during that blowout of Texas. However, the Irish have recruiting momentum. The Insider Report hits on potential gets from opening night plus prospects committed elsewhere that could get added to the visitor list in the near future.

Notre Dame hosted its first big official visit weekend during the Texas game and while no commitments hit there’s no doubt it was productive.

Some prospects left campus with the Irish a clear leader and announcements planned down the road. Others are looking at return visits after Notre Dame had slipped off the radar earlier in the process. This week’s Insider Report takes a look at where things stand with several prospects coming out of opening night.

T.J. Brunson - linebacker - Columbia, S.C.

Trend: Even
Stock Report: Brunson took an unofficial visit based on limited interest from the Notre Dame staff. There’s no offer on the table yet or else the arrow would trend up. Landing an offer would get Brunson back on campus for an official visit. - Jake Brown

Eric Cuffee - cornerback - Waco, Texas

Trend: Even
Stock Report: Erring on the side of caution here, mostly because programs closer to home still feel more realistic. Notre Dame has done great work. Cuffee called assistant Todd Lyght a “one-in-a-million” coach and said he doesn’t need to see anything else. But how often will he be able to visit in-state programs between now and announcing at the Under Armour Game? That’s the big hurdle. - JB

Donnie Corley - wide receiver - Detroit, Mich.

Trend: Even 
Stock Report: Notre Dame impressed Corley enough to land a return visit on Oct. 17, but Michigan State is still the leader. He visits the Spartans this weekend for their prime time matchup against Oregon. – Anna Hickey

Daelin Hayes - linebacker - Ann Arbor, Mich.

Trend: Up
Stock Report: More than ever, it feels like a matter of time before Notre Dame officially moves Hayes off his commitment to USC. Hayes raved about the day in South Bend and remains on track to return in mid-October. When could a final decision come? Only Hayes knows, and he’s not revealing much. But from this vantage point it feels more likely he ends up at Notre Dame than USC. - JB

Cole Kmet - tight end - Arlington Heights, Ill. (2017)

Trend: Up
Stock Report: Kmet has had it down to Notre Dame and Ohio State for some time. Getting to campus for game day might be the experience that clinches this one. He’ll visit Ohio State next month before zeroing in on a decision. Still feels like one the Irish finish off in the end. - JB

D.J. Morgan - safety - Bellflower, Calif.

Trend: Up
Stock Report: Many believe Morgan would have committed to the Irish long ago had he been offered earlier in the recruiting process. Morgan’s official visit went well and it would be a surprise not to see him sign with Notre Dame in February. - Steve Hare 

Demetris Robertson - athlete - Savannah, Ga.

Trend: Up
Stock Report: Notre Dame sky-rocketed on his list following the visit. The staff would take Robertson no matter what. Georgia and Stanford will be serious competition. - AH

Melquise Stovall - athlete - Lancaster, Calif.

Trend: Up
Stock Report: Stovall’s visit to Notre Dame went well with the Irish helping their cause. Now, it’s up to Stovall to clear a few hurdles to gain admission. He believes he made a strong first impression with the powers that be. We’ll find out later this fall. - SH

Donte Vaughn - safety - Memphis, Tenn.

Trend: Up
Stock report: Vaughn’s announcement will come on Oct. 12. With several visits to South Bend in the past few months, it would be a shock if he didn’t celebrate his birthday by pledging to the Irish. - SH

Coaches get direct with 2017s

Flipping the calendar to September brought a new phase in the recruitment of prospects in the Class of 2017.

College coaches could start contacting juniors directly starting Sept. 1. What’s it mean exactly? The lines of communication via Twitter direct message are wide open. Mailings increase. It’s one step closer to the intensity of recruiting in their senior years if players remain uncommitted.

“There's been a lot of coaches DMing me and showing me a lot of love,” said Chaz Ah You, a four-star safety from Utah. “Tons of mail coming in the mailbox. My dad was actually joking and said that I need to get my own mailbox with all the coaches that have been sending me mail.”

Greg Rogers, a four-star defensive tackle from Las Vegas, has seen a twofold change.

First, some new programs are stepping into the fray. Second, those that have expressed interest in the past are doing so at an even higher rate. Lyght, who now recruits Las Vegas for Notre Dame, checked on Rogers during the spring evaluation period. Now they’ve been communicating on the regular.

Lyght is a standard direct message Rogers sees almost daily.

“I’ve been in contact with a lot of the schools already because a lot of them came down to visit me,” Rogers said. “But not too much over the social media until Sept. 1 because they weren’t eligible to talk to a kid yet until the beginning of their junior year. I was just having a little bit of conversation with them when they would come down to visit me. Now after Sept. 1 I can have as much conversation with them as I possibly want.”

Notre Dame has also featured one of its signature recruiting moves in recent cycles: Bulk mail.

Past efforts included the “Pot of Gold,” which went out to players in the senior class much closer to National Signing Day. Now the Irish recruiting staff is trying to get the attention of prospects much earlier with, essentially, a mass mailing.

Rogers summed it up in short.

“You know about the 129 piece of mail thing, right?” he said. “I got that just a couple days ago. That’s a lot of mail.”

News and notes

- Offensive line commitment Parker Boudreaux booked flights for another visit. He’ll be back on campus for the Navy game.

- Wide receiver commitment Kevin Stepherson is scheduled to visit for the USC game.

- Four-star defensive back Chauncey Gardner, a Florida commitment, released some official visit destinations this week. Florida State or Ohio State, Notre Dame, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. Notre Dame should play host for the USC game, which is consistent with what Gardner talked about over the summer. Either way, Gators get last crack at holding on to Gardner’s commitment.

- Five-star wide receiver Nate Craig remains on track to visit for the USC game as well but feels like a long shot. Florida feels like the leader now with Auburn nipping at its heels. Florida State wants back in the mix.

- Notre Dame is working to get four-star cornerback Troy Warner on campus for the USC game. The Irish make up his top two along with BYU, where his brother plays linebacker. Warner visits BYU this weekend.

- Notre Dame is working to get Alabama defensive end commit Khalid Kareem on campus for a visit. The Farmington Hills (Mich.) Harrison standout will visit Michigan State this weekend and he heads to Alabama next weekend. Those are the only two visits he has set up.

- Don’t be surprised if Notre Dame hosts a Michigan commitment next weekend. While details are still developing, the Irish could be primed to swipe a Wolverines pledge if Brian Kelly offers, although an official visit for the Georgia Tech weekend is trending up.


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