Big Board: Outside Linebacker

Notre Dame has valued versatility in the early stages of outside linebacker recruiting. That means the Irish could take the position in multiple directions this cycle.

CURRENT OUTLOOK

James Onwualu returns for his final season, which will be his third year starting at the Sam linebacker spot in Brian VanGorder’s defense.

Greer Martini should also factor at the position after getting work their last season as a sophomore, although he’ll be limited during spring practice following off-season surgery. Asmar Bilal, coming off a red-shirt season when he won Scout Team Player of the Year, could also contribute.

WHAT’S NEXT

Notre Dame signed two prospects in 2016 with the ability to play outside linebacker. However, Daelin Hayes and Jamir Jones are on track to develop as defensive ends in the long-term.

Hayes, a mid-year enrollee, could fit the role as weak-side or strong-side linebacker, but Keith Gilmore is high on his potential on the edge as a rush end. Jones is rated as an outside linebacker, but he knows he could grow into a defensive end and is open to the move.

Depending on defensive end recruiting, Notre Dame would like to sign at least one true outside linebacker.

Here’s a look at the Watch List at the position.

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter:  Sanford
Top Offers: Alabama, Oklahoma, Stanford, Texas
Outlook: After de-committing from Baylor last month, it appears Texas has emerged as a contender. A handful of SEC schools along with Notre Dame, Ohio State and USC are also in the mix.
Arrow: Horizontal

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Gilmore
Top Offers: Alabama, Florida State, Stanford, Texas A&M
Outlook: This one-time Oklahoma State commitment seems solid to the Sooners for now, though he could explore his options down the line. Notre Dame offered three months after his verbal to Oklahoma.
Arrow: Down

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Elston
 Top Offers: Alabama, Clemson, LSU, Tennessee
Outlook: Clemson and Tennessee have emerged as the early favorites. Notre Dame has work to do if it wants to be in contention near the end.
Arrow: Horizontal

Offer: No
Visit: No
Recruiter: Gilmore
Top Offers: Louisville, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Virginia
Outlook: Notre Dame is in touch but hasn’t offered. The Irish will likely continue to evaluate as this cycle progresses.
Arrow: Horizontal

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Denson
Top Offers: Alabama, LSU, Texas, USC
Outlook: Alabama and LSU are expected to go head-to-head for this IMG product that exploded onto the recruiting scene as an 8th grader.
Arrow: Horizontal

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Elston
Top Offers: Florida, Georgia, Penn State, Virginia Tech
Outlook: Schools along the East Coast have the most traction with Proctor. He hasn’t released a list of favorites to date.
Arrow: Horizontal

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Gilmore
Top Offers: LSU, Michigan, Michigan State, Texas A&M
Outlook: Simmons committed to Ohio State last week. Notre Dame was considered a co-leader. The Irish received a visit last fall.
Arrow: Down

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Booker
Top Offers: Alabama, Clemson, Michigan State, Miami
Outlook: Michigan and Clemson lead from Singleton, who hails from the same school as defensive end Rashan Gary, last year’s No. 1 overall prospect. Gary signed with the Wolverines over the Tigers.
Arrow: Horizontal

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: VanGorder
Top Offers: Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Stanford
Outlook: Notre Dame was left off Warner’s top five in November. A spring commitment could be on the horizon.
Arrow: Down

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Elston
Top Offers: Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Tennessee
Outlook: If Stanford offers, it could be game over, but for now Notre Dame is situated near top of his list. His first visit to campus is likely to occur this spring.
Arrow: Horizontal

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Denson
Top Offers: Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia
Outlook: It would surprise many if Wilder went somewhere outside of the South, but that won’t stop Denson from pursuing.
Arrow: Horizontal


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