Big Board: Safety

Irish Illustrated examines Notre Dame’s recruiting outlook at safety, a position that suffered an offseason transfer and is featuring competitive depth chart battles this spring.

CURRENT OUTLOOK

Brian Kelly announced last week that rising sophomore Mykelti Williams is no longer with the program. Irish Illustrated later confirmed that the former three-star safety prospect has requested a transfer and has been granted his release.

That leaves the Irish with four returning players at the position – sixth-year graduate transfer Avery Sebastian, senior Max Redfield, junior Drue Tranquill and Nicco Fertitta.

Sebastian and Tranquill took medical red-shirts last season.

Redfield started the past two seasons but at times surrendered his starting position to Tranquill and former Irish defensive back Matthias Farley.

Now mid-year enrollee Devin Studstill is next to challenge for Redfield’s starting spot. 

“(Devin’s) running with our first group right now,” Kelly said after Notre Dame’s fifth spring practice. “He’s been really good. We’ve been very pleased with what he’s been doing and very happy with the way he’s picked up our defense.”

WHAT’S NEXT

Notre Dame signed seven defensive backs last cycle, but 6-foot-2, 190-pound strong-side safety D.J. Morgan has promising potential to transition to linebacker early in his career.

As for the other freshmen, Studstill (free safety), Jalen Elliott (free safety) and Spencer Perry (strong-side/Sam linebacker) are expected to play this fall. Perry is also a mid-year enrollee.

Donte Vaughn projects at cornerback but could receive reps at safety.  Likewise, Elliott could cross-train at cornerback.

Notre Dame would like to sign two or three safeties in 2017.

Here’s a look at the Watch List.

Offer: Yes
Visit: Yes
Recruiter: Lyght
Top Offers: Michigan, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA
Outlook: Notre Dame is among Ah You’s top group of schools following his Junior Day experience this past month. The competition for Ah You spans the country.
Arrow: Up

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Denson
Top Offers: Miami, North Carolina, Clemson
Outlook: From the same high school as Te’von Coney and Devin Studstill, Notre Dame will get consideration from Carter. Clemson, Miami and North Carolina are also in competitive position early.
Arrow: Horizontal

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Elston
Top Offers: Florida State, Georgia, Ohio State, USC
Outlook: Florida State, Tennessee and USC are the favorites for this nationally coveted recruit.
Arrow: Down

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: VanGorder
Top Offers: Stanford, Clemson, North Carolina, Virginia Tech
Outlook: Head committed to Stanford in December and the Irish offered in February. He’s solid to the Cardinal for now.
Arrow: Stanford commitment

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Elston
Top Offers: Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State
Outlook: Hunter hasn’t narrowed his list of suitors. Clemson is the next visit on his schedule. North Carolina and Florida are the most recent programs to host him.
Arrow: Horizontal

Offer: Yes
Visit: Yes
Recruiter: Gilmore
Top Offers: Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Stanford
Outlook: Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State figure to be Notre Dame’s toughest competitors. He’s expected on campus this week. 
Arrow: Horizontal

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Lyght
Top Offers: Alabama, Ohio State, Stanford, Texas
Outlook: LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Texas are standing out early to the nation’s No. 1 safety.
Arrow: Down

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Elston
Top Offers: Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Virginia Tech
Outlook: One of the fastest-rising prospects on the recruiting scene this spring, Nasilrildeen hasn’t trimmed his list. Notre Dame offered in February.
Arrow: Horizontal

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Booker
Top Offers: Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Tennessee
Outlook: An Alabama commitment since last September, McKinney plans on visiting Notre Dame this spring. The Irish offered in February.
Arrow: Alabama commitment

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Elston
Top Offers: Indiana, Iowa, Missouri  
Outlook: Notre Dame was the first to offer Potts last summer, but the Irish have moved on from making Potts a priority in-state target.
Arrow: Down

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Booker
Top Offers: Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, LSU
Outlook: The five-star is currently favoring Clemson, Georgia and LSU. The Irish haven’t gained much traction since offering in February.
Arrow: Down

Offer: Yes
Visit: Yes
Recruiter: Booker
Top Offers: Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Florida
Outlook: Following a Junior Day visit to Notre Dame this past month, Terrell named Notre Dame to his top five along with Alabama, Auburn, Florida and South Carolina. He’ll be a tough pull out of the South.
Arrow: Horizontal

Offer: Yes
Visit: No
Recruiter: Denson
Top Offers: Alabama, Florida State, LSU, Ohio State
Outlook: Clemson, Florida State and LSU are the leaders with the Seminoles operating as the favorite. Wright is teammates with incoming freshman running back Deon McIntosh.
Arrow: Horizontal


Read more of Anna Hickey's Big Board analysis here


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