A top WR target will visit in June
Kolby Taylor, a top wide receiver target, will get his first look at Notre Dame on June 23.
“I’m excited to see Notre Dame,” Taylor said. “I’ve heard too much about it and I’ve been talking to coach (Todd) Lyght for a while now, so I’m excited to meet the coaches and learn their offensive philosophy.”
Taylor, who attends Chandler High School in Chandler, Ariz., has the Irish in his top five right now. Arizona State, another Pac 12 possibility plus programs from the Big Ten and SEC are also represented.
A commitment announcement is expected before the beginning of September.
“ASU, Oregon State, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Missouri are my top schools, in no order,” Taylor said.
Taylor listed a top business school as one of the aspects he’s considering most in evaluating programs.
“Relationship with coaches, the business school, and the situation with football and scheme, and I’d like to play early,” Taylor said. “I know Notre Dame has a good business school. I’m excited to learn more.”
Taylor will also visit Missouri and Northwestern during his trip to the Midwest. He visited Arizona State and Oregon State in April.
The Irish are still looking for their first receiver commitment in the 2017 class. Notre Dame would ideally like to ink three to four at the position come National Signing Day.
Scout 100 OT has Notre Dame in top 3
Atlanta (Ga.) Pace Academy four-star offensive tackle Andrew Thomas has Notre Dame in third place among an offer list that includes Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, USC and Virginia.
The top ranked tackle in Georgia took his first visit to Notre Dame in January for Junior Day. He’ll return to Notre Dame on June 18 for the Irish Invasion.
“Georgia and Clemson are my top two, and Notre Dame is in third,” Thomas said. “I would get the chance to come in and play early (at Notre Dame). Obviously, the education is very good.”
Incoming Irish walk-on athlete Mick Assaf, also a product of Pace, is doing his best to recruit Thomas to South Bend.
“He’s definitely recruiting me really hard,” Thomas said. “He says I’d be a great fit up there and tells me I can be the next Ronnie Stanley.”
Notre Dame is only program on Thomas’ upcoming visit schedule.
The Irish also coveted ’17 wide receiver Trey Blount from Pace Academy, but he committed to Georgia earlier this month.
Detroit duo plan visit
Kelly-Powell, a safety from Cass Tech High in Detroit, is going on at least his fourth visit to campus, the most recent being for the Blue-Gold Game last month. Thomas, who attends King High School, will be making his first stop back in South Bend since a Junior Day in January.
Defensive backs coach Todd Lyght has been a mainstay in each recruitment.
“Me and him have a great relationship,” Kelly-Powell told Irish Illustrated last week. “We talk all the time. He talks to me about technique but most of the time we don’t talk about football. He talks to me about life, which is kind of a good thing.”
Kelly-Powell maintains an open recruitment with offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Stanford, Tennessee and UCLA among those on board.
“Michigan is the team to beat in my opinion,” said Allen Trieu, Scout.com Midwest recruiting manager. “After that, I don't think his list is real clear.”
Thomas, a cornerback, boasts a similarly long offer list. Auburn, Clemson, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, and Wisconsin are just a few of the options available.
“Pretty open,” Trieu said. “I keep hearing Ohio State has his attention, but Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and SEC schools are still in it too. I even think Pitt and West Virginia are in it. I could see Notre Dame rising here with a good visit because he's very open.”
After visiting Notre Dame, the Detroit duo will head to Chicagoland for Saturday’s Opening Regional. Afterward they’ll make the trek north for an unofficial visit to Wisconsin, which has offered both.
The Opening heads to Chicagoland
Prospects from the region will descend on the Chicago suburbs Saturday for a chance to punch their ticket to The Opening Finals later this summer.
Despite some notable absences, Notre Dame fans will have plenty to track. Headliners expected to participate include offensive tackle commitment Josh Lugg, Kelly-Powell, four-star offensive tackle Trey Smith, four-star linebacker Jacob Phillips and rising junior defensive end Malik Vann.
Kelly-Powell participated in the Columbus regional last week but didn’t score an invitation to the finals after camp ended. He’s taking one more shot in hopes of joining friends at the NIKE campus in July.
“I really want to go and make it another Detroit thing,” Kelly-Powell said.
Thomas, four-star receiver Donovan Peoples Jones and three-star offensive guard Jordan Reid punched their tickets to Oregon at the Columbus camp. They’re all friends and Detroit natives.
Peoples-Jones and Reid team with Kelly-Powell at Cass Tech. Rising junior cornerback Kalon Gervin, another Cass Tech product, will participate in Chicago. He’s visited Notre Dame as well and been in contact with Lyght.
Other prospects worth noting in the Class of 2018 include four-star offensive guard Emil Ekiyor, offensive tackle Antwan Reed, wide receiver Micah Jones and offensive guard Wyatt Blake.
“I just want to get good experience and play against the best Chicago has to bring,” said Jones, who plans to visit Notre Dame again next month for the Irish Invasion. “Just get better overall as a player. I want to run good routes and catch all the balls thrown to me. If I do that then I will be very happy with my performance.”
Four-star tight end Cole Kmet and four-star athlete Isaiah Robertson don’t plan to attend despite the camp setting up in their backyard. The same goes for rising junior cornerback target Houston Griffith, who scored an offer this spring.
Kmet will be pitching for the St. Viator baseball team Saturday while Robertson and Griffith will be out of town.
New offer roundup
Alston picked up an offer from Brian VanGorder after the Irish defensive coordinator saw him work out last week. Alston said Notre Dame is “up there” among schools on his list. He plans to visit for the Irish Invasion. Other schools in contention include California, Michigan and North Carolina.
An Alabama lean, Bennett was one of three St. Thomas Aquinas players offered this week. Bennett visited the Tide and Tennessee this spring.
Elliss is the son of former NFL first-round draft pick Luther Elliss, who was teammates with Irish defensive backs coach Todd Lyght in Detroit. Elliss has kept his recruitment close to the vest so far, but Notre Dame would like to get him on campus this summer.
MacCollister put Notre Dame in his top three upon adding an Irish offer. Other schools high on his list include Oregon, Tennessee, UCLA and Virginia Tech. A visit to campus for the Irish Invasion is likely, and a summer is expected prior to the start of the season. He’s a former prep teammate of incoming freshman Parker Boudreaux.
Paulino-Bell visited Notre Dame before his junior year and is expected to return to campus in the fall. Notre Dame is high on his list, as is Georgia.
In a span of less than three weeks, Ohonba added offers from Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Louisville, Missouri, Stanford, Tennessee and Virginia Tech. The Irish are the latest to join the mix for the 2018 lineman. Ohonba considers Alabama, Georgia and Virginia Tech his early leaders.
The son of former All-Pro defensive back with the same name, Samuel Jr. has in-state programs Florida State and Miami in front. More than 20 programs have already offered the 2018 prospect.