Tomorrow night Notre Dame shifts its attention to the recruiting trail.
Brian Kelly and other coaches will linger on the West Coast for a few days to begin the contact period as they do every season. Kelly will work to secure official visits and commitments through in-home and school visits.
Where is the staff headed straight away? Insider Report takes a look at some of the prospects and destinations, including the coaches expected to be on hand for those visits.
Alloway visited for the Wake Forest game and is down to Notre Dame and UCLA, with a decision to come sooner than later. McKinley continues to work with a top five that includes Notre Dame, Washington, UCLA, Oregon and Tennessee. He plans to visit UCLA before making a commitment at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Several other California prospects will see at least one Notre Dame staff member in the coming days before they begin to spread out across the country.
- Associate head coach Mike Denbrock is expected Tuesday to drop by Serra High School, home to five-star defensive end Oluwole Betiku and four-star safety Brandon Burton. Both have used official visits to Notre Dame already. Betiku, a one-time UCLA commitment, has visited Texas A&M multiple times. He’s also considering Florida State and USC. Burton has also visited Florida State, Alabama, Ohio State and Oklahoma. He also has UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford and Cal in the mix.
- Five-star linebacker Caleb Kelly will see Denbrock as well. Kelly is slated to visit for the postseason awards banquet. He’s already visited Michigan, Oklahoma and Oregon. Kelly might be ready to make a decision after returning from South Bend.
- Four-star cornerback David Long will have an in-home visit with Notre Dame coaches Monday. He remains committed to Stanford but has taken trips to Notre Dame and Michigan with others a possibility. Long could see Ohio State, Washington and/or Duke, plus has considered a return trip to Ann Arbor.
- Four-star athlete Demetris Robertson will see coaches in short order. Robertson visited for the Texas game and has since reeled off official trips to Cal and Ohio State. Stanford and Georgia Tech are among the other programs involved. Robertson has talked about visiting for the postseason awards banquet, something the staff hopes to push forward.
- Four-star linebacker Daelin Hayes is scheduled to have his in-home visit with Brian Kelly on Dec. 7. Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer is on the books for Dec. 3. Michigan State, the other program in his top three, doesn’t yet have a visit on the schedule with its Big Ten championship game appearance upcoming. Hayes is expected to be off the board soon with plans to enroll early at the program of his choice.
- Former Virginia Tech cornerback commitment Troy Pride Jr. is expecting running backs coach Autry Denson on Tuesday. Pride visited Notre Dame before formally de-committing from the Hokies, who remain under consideration as they look to replace head coach Frank Beamer following his retirement.
Commits Get Title Shots
Love leads Nazareth Academy (11-2) into its second straight state title game after it won the Illinois Class 6A championship with an undefeated record last season. Nazareth has charged through the 5A bracket this season and is fresh off a 34-0 win in the semifinals.
Nazareth brings momentum into its game against Lincoln-Way West (11-2) with six straight wins, plus experience.
“This may sound bad but it’s not that big,” Love said. “Yes, it’s a huge game. But if you act and play like it’s a huge game, play tight, bad things will happen. You’ve got to just have fun and act like you’re practicing or playing a regular season game. Obviously, more is on the line but you have to just go all out and have fun.”
Personally, Love is coming off the most explosive performance of his senior season. He rushed for 283 yards and four touchdowns on just 11 carries in the snow during last week’s semifinal game. His touchdowns came from 99, 32, 27 and 75 yards.
“Every play I feel like could be a big play,” Love said. “Especially for our team. I look at it as, ‘All right, get the first down first. Then if you have a one-on-one with a safety, expect to score.’ That’s my mentality.”
Notre Dame will have a pair of commitments in the Illinois state finals for the second straight year as Shannon, a long snapper and linebacker, is set to play for the Class 8A title with Loyola Academy, which takes a 13-0 record into the matchup with Marist (9-4).
Shannon will snap and play linebacker for a Loyola defense that has allowed just 12.5 points per game in the playoffs, including consecutive shutouts in the early rounds.
Loyola also pitched three shutouts in the regular season.
Current Irish freshmen Miles Boykin (Providence Catholic) and offensive lineman Trevor Ruhland (Cary-Grove) met for the Illinois Class 7A title last season. Boykin came out on top.
Jones, who plays receiver along with defense, and his Aquinas Institute teammates will play Saratoga Springs at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse on Sunday for the AA state championship.
Saratoga Springs made school history by finishing the regular season undefeated and at 11-0 the seventh-ranked Blue Streaks will appear in their first state championship game.
Aquinas enters the game ranked No. 1 in the state and with Division I prospects throughout its lineup. Jones is headed to Notre Dame while quarterback Jake Zembiec has committed to Penn State and linebacker Taylor Riggins is going to Syracuse.
The Little Irish average 212.5 passing yards and run for another 159.4 per game. Jones is second on the team with 42 catches for 790 yards and nine touchdowns.
Defensively, Aquinas allows just over 11 points per game.
Jones is second on the team with 86 tackles and has posted a team-high 19 tackles for loss.