Notre Dame is hosting two top official visitors this weekend during its annual postseason awards show.
Five-star linebacker Caleb Kelly of Fresno (Calif.) is checking out Notre Dame for the first time after postponing multiple visit attempts during the summer and fall. Notre Dame associate head coach Mike Denbrock visited Kelly’s school last week.
Kelly has taken official visits to Michigan, Oklahoma and Oregon. He will announce a decision on National Signing Day. The Sooners hold a comfortable lead entering this weekend, although a source close to Kelly believes Notre Dame could overhaul Oklahoma this weekend with a strong visit.
Notre Dame is the first official visit for four-star cornerback Jordan Fuller of Old Tappan, N.J. Fuller has maintained a high interest in the Irish but several other elite programs remain in the mix, including Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, TCU, Virginia Tech and UCLA.
Fuller last saw Notre Dame on an unofficial visit in late July, and Irish assistant Scott Booker went in-home with the family last week. Expect Fuller to spend time with Notre Dame players and New Jersey natives Brandon Wimbush and Andrew Trumbetti this weekend. A late January or signing day decision is expected. Currently, no other official visits are planned.
Keep an eye on Rutgers with Fuller now that the Scarlet Knights have a new head coach in Ohio State defensive coordinator Chris Ash. He’s made landing Fuller a priority. Ash had a hand in recruiting Fuller for the Buckeyes and he retained wide receivers coach Anthony Campanile, a New Jersey native, who has had success recruiting in the Garden State.
Kelly and Fuller arrived at Notre Dame on Thursday evening.
Wide receiver commitment Chase Claypool of Abbotsford, B.C. also arrived at Notre Dame on Thursday for his official visit. Other Irish commitments making their official visits this weekend include offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg, offensive tackle Tommy Kraemer, defensive back Julian Love, defensive end Ade Ogundeji, defensive end Julian Okwara and long-snapper John Shannon.
Kraemer plans to do some recruiting on Notre Dame’s behalf.
“I know Caleb Kelly will be there tomorrow so I'll talk to him a lot,” Kraemer said. “I'm not really sure who else, whoever the coaches tell me to recruit.”
Fuller is also on Kraemer’s hit list. Both participated in The Opening last summer, as did Kelly.
“I think I’ve talked to Jordan Fuller before,” Kraemer said. “It should be a good time.”
Four-star linebacker Brendan Ferns of St. Clairsville, Ohio was tentatively scheduled to visit Notre Dame this weekend. Look for him to visit in January instead. Communication between Notre Dame and Ferns is still relatively new. Penn State and West Virginia have been the longtime favorites.
Decision next week for Studstill
Notre Dame’s top free safety on the board, three-star Devin Studstill of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., is expected to make a decision on Dec. 15 following an official visit to Texas this weekend. He’ll announce at 6 p.m. on a local ESPN radio program.
Finalists include Miami, Notre Dame, Texas and West Virginia. Brian Kelly conducted an in-home visit last week, and West Virginia went in-home on Wednesday night. Barring a last minute change of heart, Studstill should end up in South Bend. He will enroll in college in January.
SEC assistant praises Irish QB target
Notre Dame’s top junior quarterback target is four-star Avery Davis of Cedar Hill, Texas. An SEC assistant coach offered these comments to Irish Illustrated regarding Davis:
“Avery Davis will kill it (at Notre Dame). I've never been around a better kid and ultimate winner. He's freakishly good. The whole '17 class at his school is loaded.
“He loved going up (to Notre Dame) a few weeks ago. I was hoping we could get him here but we already have some QB commits. He's not the type to just jump in, he's gonna make sure it's the best fit for him. When he commits he's all in.”
Davis took his first visit to Notre Dame last month. Irish offensive coordinator Mike Sanford visited his school last week.
Davis picked up his ninth offer from Houston this past week.
Tennessee de-commit has Notre Dame interest
Three-star defensive end Chidi Okonya of Riverdale, Ga. de-committed from Tennessee this past week. Okonya first committed to the Vols in May.
Okonya holds a Notre Dame offer and has communicated with the Irish staff since his de-commitment. Notre Dame is working to get him on campus for a visit in January. Okonya will visit Duke, which leads for his services, this weekend.
Okonya’s parents are doctors, and academics are important. Notre Dame expects to communicate more with Okonya today to assess interest.
Robertson won’t visit this weekend
Four-star athlete Demetris Robertson of Savannah (Ga.) Christian Academy was tentatively scheduled to return to Notre Dame this weekend. Instead he will likely head to Georgia for a visit under new head coach Kirby Smart. Ohio State had been a potential destination as well, but the Buckeyes won't get the four-star to campus this weekend. Robertson took his official visit to Notre Dame for the Texas game.
Alabama, Georgia, Stanford and Notre Dame are Robertson’s top four. Getting Robertson back on campus in January is vital if Notre Dame wants to remain an active threat in his recruitment.
Five-star defensive end favoring USC
Five-star defensive end Oluwole Betiku of Gardena (Calif.) Serra will announce a decision on Jan. 2 at the Under Armour All-America Game.
Per a source, Betiku has gone quiet on the recruiting front, not even disclosing to his coaches at Serra where he’s leaning. However, many believe the Trojans hold the edge in his recruitment with Texas A&M not far behind. Notre Dame rounds out his top three.
The former UCLA commitment took an official visit to Notre Dame for its game vs. Wake Forest. Betiku will take his official visit to USC this weekend. He will enroll in college in January.
Regional contenders for Morris
One-time Michigan State linebacker commitment Jonah Morris won't visit Notre Dame this weekend, pushing that trip back to mid-January in hopes of getting a fuller experience on campus. Morris backed away from the Spartans but they remain in contact every day. Pittsburgh is also expected to receive a visit and Ohio State remains involved, although the Buckeyes have yet to offer. Should Ohio State join the mix officially, it could be a game-changer.
Prospects visiting elsewhere
In addition to Betiku visiting USC, Robertson visiting Georgia or Ohio State, and Studstill visiting Texas, a couple other Irish prospects will take official visits this weekend.
Orlando (Fla.) Oak Ridge three-star linebacker Jonathan Jones will visit Michigan. The Wolverines are considered the favorite with Notre Dame not far behind. Notre Dame hosted Jones on an official visit in September.
Houston (Texas) Davis four-star linebacker Jeffrey McCulloch will visit Texas A&M, the leader in his recruitment. Kelly and Mike Elston went in-home last week. Notre Dame, which hosted McCulloch on an official visit for the USC game, is likely running second. McCulloch will announce a decision at the Under Armour All-America Game.
New offer roundup
Baron Browning – defensive end - 2017
Notre Dame offered the four-star junior pass rusher during the week when offensive coordinator Mike Sanford visited the school. Browning has been committed to Baylor since the summer but expressed excitement over the new scholarship.
Toneil Carter Jr. - running back – 2017
Carter, one of the top running back prospects in the Class of 2017, added Notre Dame to an already elite list of scholarship offers. Alabama, LSU, TCU, Texas A&M
and Michigan are among those already involved with the Houston native.
Kevaughn Dingle – wide receiver – 2017
Dingle of Miami (Fla.) Carol City added Notre Dame and West Virginia offers this week. Miami has been the longtime favorite for the three-star prospect.
Deandre Wilder - outside linebacker - 2017
The Miami (Fla.) Carol City four-star considers Miami his leader.