Will Troy’s fall affect Irish recruiting?

With Steven Sarkisian out at USC, Notre Dame could be in line for a major recruiting bump. Here’s how the Irish can benefit from the Trojans’ turnover.

Daelin Hayes: Notre Dame’s To Lose?

Four-star linebacker Daelin Hayes committed to USC in July of 2014. But before the Ann Arbor (Mich.) Skyline product pledged to the Trojans, he visited Notre Dame three times, including when he camped with the Irish a month before he committed to Steve Sarkisian.  

Hayes and Notre Dame maintained contact throughout his junior year, and it paid off when the Irish got Hayes on campus for the Texas game in September. Momentum was on Notre Dame’s side following that visit, but USC gained some of it back when Hayes visited L.A. later that month.

On track to be a mid-year enrollee, Hayes signed non-binding paperwork with the Trojans on the heels of his official visit to USC. It is paperwork that bound the Trojans to honor their scholarship offer to Hayes, but doesn’t require Hayes to enroll with USC in January.

Hayes visits Notre Dame this weekend on an official visit, which was scheduled prior to his USC de-commitment on Sunday night. It’s too early to tell if Hayes commits to Notre Dame this weekend or if he holds out longer to consider new options that undoubtedly will come his way. Regardless, Notre Dame is in the driver’s seat.

Notre Dame offensive line commit Parker Boudreaux and safety commit D.J. Morgan both reached out to Hayes on Twitter following yesterday’s breaking news in L.A.

“I tweeted at him, and he messaged me good things back about (Notre Dame),” Boudreaux said. “So hopefully we end up getting him.”   

Will Trojan Commitments Waver?

As of Sarkisian’s firing, Hayes is the only USC commitment to back off his pledge. If more follow they might not be the local products.

“I really don’t see it affecting local recruiting that much,” said Scout national recruiting analyst Greg Biggins. “I think a lot of the guys that pick USC are the ones that grew up in a Trojans’ home and always dreamed of playing there, no matter who the coach is.”

California prospects committed to USC that were once recruited by Notre Dame include receivers Tyler Vaughns and Trevon Sidney, safety C.J. Pollard (early enrollee), linebacker Mique Juarez (early enrollee) and offensive tackle Nathan Smith.

“I was already thinking of taking a few (visits), but have no idea where right now,” Vaughns said. “(Wide receivers coach) Tee Martin was always my guy at USC and he's the coach I'm closest with. As long as they keep him, I'll definitely be a Trojan.”

Among the USC commits not from California, Notre Dame offered tight end Cary Angeline of Exton, Pa., who strongly considered the Irish and Nittany Lions before committing to USC over the summer in somewhat surprising fashion.

Notre Dame could reach out to Angeline to assess interest, though receiver commit Chase Claypool owns tight end skills and the Irish have junior commitments from Brock Wright and Cole Kmet. They’re ranked No. 1 and No. 3 at the position, respectively. Don’t look for Notre Dame to restart its pursuit of Angeline.

Still On The Market

Current senior prospects considering USC and Notre Dame include receivers Theo Howard and Melquise Stovall, defensive end Oluwole Betiku, linebacker Caleb Kelly and safety Brandon Burton. All five are from California.

Howard, a former Oregon slot receiver commitment, is considering Texas A&M and UCLA along with Notre Dame and USC. He takes an official visit to Texas A&M this weekend.

Stovall de-committed from USC before the season and visited Notre Dame on an official visit in September. An all-purpose back with slot traits, Stovall will visit Utah this weekend. He plans to announce his decision at the Army All-American Bowl in January. He is Notre Dame’s top target at the position along with Damian Alloway of Fontana (Calif.) Summit.

Betiku is scheduled to take an official visit to Notre Dame this weekend. The five-star UCLA commitment from Gardena (Calif.) Serra is still considering the Irish, Florida State, Texas A&M and USC. The Aggies are hopeful Betiku changes course and heads to College Station this weekend.

Kelly visits Notre Dame in December, though Oklahoma is the current favorite to land the five-star from Fresno, Calif.

Burton, a high school teammate of Betiku and heavy UCLA lean, takes an official visit to Notre Dame this weekend.

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