Class of 2017
Scouting report: Point guard isn't a priority in this class even with Demetrius Jackson lost to the NBA. Former four-star prospect T.J. Gibbs and veteran Matt Farrell, who played well late last season, will manage the workload as primary ball handlers. That didn’t keep the Irish from pursuing one point guard — Chris Lykes, a four-star prospect from Gonzaga Prep in Washington D.C. Lykes landed an offer and listed Notre Dame in his top five but never visited, paving the way for Miami to score a June commitment. There hasn’t been another serious pursuit of a point guard since.
Scouting Report: Notre Dame made its move with Brandon Randolph during the spring, as did a slew of other major programs. Randolph led PSA Cardinals to a 14-2 record during the EYBL regular season while scoring 16.5 points per game. He shot 40 percent from three-point range, which will always attract attention. Randolph came out of July with a top 12: Alabama, Louisville, Miami, Arizona, Notre Dame, Indiana, Oregon, North Carolina, Kansas, Syracuse, Xavier and Wake Forest. But a longstanding friendship with TJ Gibbs couldn’t keep the Irish in the mix for long. Randolph cut to four in early September with Arizona, Oregon, Syracuse and Wake Forest making the cut.
Top offers: Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State
New: Bowen dropped off the list after not including Notre Dame in his top group coming out of the summer. But that didn’t keep him from visiting campus during the Michigan State football weekend for a look around. Still, most people believe the Spartans are the team to beat eventually.
Top Offers: Committed on Sept. 20, 2016
Update: Maybe it took longer than some expected, but Notre Dame eventually got its man. Harvey gave Mike Brey his first commitment in the Class of 2017 one day after the entire coaching staff visited DeMatha Catholic and had an in-home visit.
Top offers: Maryland, Villanova, West Virginia
Update: Morsell visited Notre Dame in mid-September and gave the trip positive reviews. Now the Irish need to hold off stiff competition. Villanova (Sept. 24), Maryland (Oct. 1) and Dayton (Oct. 22) all have visits on the schedule. Virginia Tech rounds out the top five.
Scouting Report: Replenishing talent on the wings has been top priority for Notre Dame in the Class of 2017. Finally, it’s off to a good start. D.J. Harvey gives the Irish a top 50 talent with five-star upside and from a familiar high school program to boot. Mike Brey hasn’t had much success at his alma mater, DeMatha Catholic, since landing Jerian Grant. Harvey reverses those fortunes and in a big way. He’s an elite scorer on the wing that arguably found the perfect landing spot with a system that fits and a coach proven in nurturing confidence in talented players. Now the Irish would like to land one more with V.J. Beachem and Steve Vasturia exiting the program after this season. Darryl Morsell is the top target. Morsell also hails from a high school program where Brey has had success — Mount Saint Joseph in Baltimore, which produced former point guard Eric Atkins. Morsell visited for the Michigan State football weekend and walked away from the trip feeling he’d learned everything he needed about the university and program. But he’s not quite ready to end the process. Villanova gets the next visit and the defending national champions are probably the biggest threat. Maryland and Dayton have visits on the schedule in October, although Morsell’s recruitment might not even get that far. Right now there’s not time line, so it’s just a matter of when he feels comfortable. Notre Dame would like that to be sooner than later in its favor. Brian Bowen is worth monitoring. Considered a longtime, heavy Michigan State lean, Bowen made the short trip over from La Lumiere School for a closer look at Notre Dame in mid-September. It’s hard to see the Irish becoming a real threat, but willingness to visit isn’t a bad thing. Bowen is talented enough to be a take no matter what.
Top Offers: Georgetown, Iowa State, Providence
Update: Will Simms actually visit? That’s the question. Four other programs have trips on the schedule and there’s been talk of Simms coming to South Bend in October, but it’s more tentative at this point than a sure thing.
Scouting Report: Movement on the big man front leave Aamir Simms as the only remaining target. Luka Garza (Iowa) and Jaren Jackson (Michigan State) made recent commitments. Jackson in particular feels like one that got away, an in-state target with a longtime relationship that visited again before making a choice. Garza landed an offer coming out of summer and had talked about visiting. Iowa, however, had been involved for longer and scored a pledge. Simms put the Irish in his top six before setting up visits. Clemson played host earlier this month. Miami (Sept. 24), VCU (Sept. 30) and Pittsburgh (Oct. 8) are on the schedule with Notre Dame a potential Oct. 16 stop, although that’s yet to be firmed up. Getting him on campus sooner would be a positive, especially since Simms has been bullish on the Irish since landing an offer. It might depend on just how much the staff wants to add a big in the class. Should they choose to go in that direction, it’ll have to push past the other four programs on the official visit slate. VCU in particular has been trending up, it seems.