Big Board: Running Back

Notre Dame is hunting big game at running back in 2017 and recently made a handful of new offers at the position.

CURRENT OUTLOOK

Even with the early departure by C.J. Prosise to the NFL Draft, Notre Dame could feature seven scholarship running backs on its roster this fall.

Tarean Folston and Josh Adams figure to be listed as co-starters this spring, assuming Folston is a go after tearing his ACL in the season-opener against Texas last season. Dexter Williams and Justin Brent will follow, with incoming freshmen Tony Jones Jr. and Deon McIntosh set to enroll this summer.

After this season it’s a safe bet that a healthy Folston tests NFL waters. Adams and Williams will be true juniors in 2017, and pending on how the staff manages red-shirts this fall, Jones and McIntosh will have three to four years remaining.

The positional status of Brent is unknown, and it’s possible he gets a look back at receiver. Assuming he remains on the roster, Brent would enter the 2017 season with two years of eligibility remaining after taking a red-shirt last fall.

WHAT’S NEXT

Notre Dame would like to sign at least one running back this cycle.

So far only one running back in 2017 has been deemed worthy of five stars, California native Najee Harris, who doubles as the nation’s top-ranked back and No. 1 prospect overall. Harris committed to Alabama last April and holds an Irish offer. He was a 7-on-7 teammate of incoming freshman quarterback Ian Book.

The Irish offered the second-ranked junior running back, four-star Stephen Carr, a USC commitment, last week. Carr hasn’t shut down his recruitment by any stretch despite his verbal to the Trojans, and Notre Dame is optimistic it will receive a visit.

Mike Sanford is heading the recruitments of both Harris and Carr.

Here’s a look at the first Watch List at running back.

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Sanford
Top Offers: Georgia, UCLA, USC
Outlook: Carr has been committed to USC since last March, but he’s open to looking at his options; Notre Dame offered on National Signing Day.
Arrow: Horizontal 


Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Denson
Top Offers: Alabama, LSU, Michigan, Texas A&M
Outlook: The process is still in the early stages for Carter, who added an Irish offer in December.
Arrow: Horizontal


Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Booker
Top Offers: Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee
Outlook: A top in-state target for the Vols, Chandler picked up a Notre Dame offer last June. He plays at the same Montgomery Bell Academy that produced Alex Bars.
Arrow: Horizontal


Offer: Yes
Visit: Yes
Recruiter: Booker
Top Offers: Michigan, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin
Outlook: Dillon is the grandson of former Irish receiver Tom Gatewood and was offered in January. Notre Dame has emerged as the team to beat, and he took in Irish Invasion last year.
Arrow: Up


Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Denson
Top Offers: Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M, Stanford
Outlook: Notre Dame offered in early February. Big 12 programs will likely prove tough to beat, although interest in Stanford could be telling.
Arrow: Horizontal


Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Sanford
Top Offers: Alabama, Michigan, UCLA, USC
Outlook: A Tide commitment since last April, Sanford has visited Harris’ school multiple times in hopes to getting the Irish in contention to land a visit. Arrow: Horizontal


Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Booker
Top Offers: Alabama, Georgia, Clemson, Michigan
Outlook: McFarland is on record multiple times that he likes a system that rotates its backs. Oklahoma and Notre Dame could emerge as dark horses.
Arrow: Horizontal


Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Booker
Top Offers: Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Ohio State, Stanford
Outlook: The Buckeyes are the early front-runner after Sermon visited Columbus last summer. Sermon is eyeing an early commitment as a future mid-year enrollee.
Arrow: Horizontal


Offer: Yes
Visit: Yes
Recruiter: Denson
Top offers: Auburn, Alabama, Georgia
Outlook: This Auburn commitment first visited Notre Dame for the Navy game last year. He saw the Irish play a second time in Boston. Denson maintains consistent contact.
Arrow: Horizontal


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