Master List: Offense

Wide receiver is the big need with only Michael Young on board. Notre Dame has sent out some new offers and has visits lined up. Now it’s all about closing.


Avery Davis
6-0, 193
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Sanford Committed on March 19
UPDATE: Speculation ran rampant on Davis for a few days with Mike Sanford leaving Notre Dame and Cedar Hill head coach Joey McGuire accepting a job at Baylor. Consider it squashed. Davis went to Twitter and put down any notion he’s looking elsewhere.
Notes: : Recruiting is never without twists and turns, as Davis found out in December. Davis visited Notre Dame again for The Echoes only to see offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Sanford accept the head job at Western Kentucky. Baylor offered after Matt Rhule took that job. He then hired Cedar Hill head coach Joey McGuire as an assistant, upping the stakes. How did the four-star prospect handle it? By saying on Twitter he wasn’t doing interviews because there’s nothing to talk about. Davis said he’s solid in his pledge to the Irish and reiterated his trust in Brian Kelly during registration interviews to start Under Armour All-America Game week. As for his talent, Davis turned in a stellar senior season. Cedar Hill went 11-3 with another deep postseason run behind its star quarterback. Davis posted eye-popping numbers. He threw for 2,876 yards and 37 touchdowns with just five interceptions while completing 69 percent (189-of-272) of his attempts. Davis added another 369 yards and six touchdowns on the ground on 84 carries. And that’s even with missing two games early in the season with an ankle injury and another late while resting ahead of the playoffs. He also went out with a bang, even as Cedar Hill bowed out of the Texas Class 6A Division II playoffs with a 55-41 loss to DeSoto in the quarterfinals. He accounted for 572 total yards (463 passing) and six touchdowns in defeat. That’ll work.

Running Back

C.J. Holmes
6-0, 190
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Booker Committed on July 8

Holmes returned to Notre Dame for The Echoes, finalizing some details of his early enrollment. He’ll jump right into winter workouts in hopes of carving out a niche in the backfield by next fall.

Notes: Notre Dame will add C.J. Holmes to its backfield this weekend with the four-star prospect opting for early enrollment. He’ll join a position with plenty of competition. Josh Adams, Dexter Williams and Tony Jones Jr. are back at the very least. Holmes will have work to do if he wants to earn carries during the 2017 season. Getting on campus a semester early should help, as should his skill set. Holmes is one of the more explosive athletes in the current commitment haul. He’s also versatile enough to split out wide and play some slot receiver.

Wide Receiver / Tight End

Jafar Armstrong
6-0, 200
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Long Top Offers: Illinois, Iowa, Missouri
NEW: Notre Dame has some connections to Armstrong through his coach, Tim Grunhard, who started on the 1988 national championship team. Armstrong is committed to Missouri but weighing other visits. It seems the Irish could be in line for one.
Gavin Holmes
5-11, 178
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Denbrock Top Offers: Arizona State, Nebraska, UCLA
UPDATE: Putting out an offer in December landed Notre Dame in a top seven and secured a Jan. 27 visit date. Arizona State, Baylor and UCLA are also in line to get January visits as Holmes, a one-time Iowa pledge, looks for a landing spot.
Cole Kmet
6-6, 240
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Denbrock Committed on Oct. 2, 2015  
UPDATE: Although not targeted during the game, Kmet played well during Army Bowl week and showed improvement as a blocker. He’s been as solid as any prospect in the recruiting haul despite losing both primary recruiter and position coach.
Oliver Martin
6-1, 185?
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Denbrock Top Offers: Michigan, Michigan State, Oregon
UPDATE: Martin acquitted himself well during Army Bowl week and will now dive back into recruiting with a Jan. 13 visit to Michigan State set. Iowa and Notre Dame received official visits in December. That looks like a top three, if not formally named.
Jordan Pouncey
6-3, 186
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Denson Top Offers: Miami, Tennessee, Texas
NEW: Theoretically, Pouncey is still in play despite his de-commitent. He later released a top four that includes Miami, Notre Dame, Tennessee and Texas. But using history as a guide, he’s likely headed elsewhere. Miami looks like the spot.
Braylon Sanders
6-0, 172
Offer: No Visit: No Recruiter: Denbrock Top Offers: Georgia, Ole Miss, Mississippi State
Sanders popped onto the radar during the contact period when Scott Booker made a visit. Booker is gone but it’s unlikely Irish interest will fade. There are plans for a January visit even though there’s yet to be an offer made.
Michael Smith
6-2, 200
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter: Denson Top Offers: Indiana, Pittsburgh
Another December offer, Smith locked in an official visit for the Jan. 20 weekend almost immediately. He’s been a fast rising target this offseason after making 67 catches for 1,561 yards and 24 touchdowns in 13 games.
Brock Wright
6-5, 240
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Booker Committed on June 26, 2015
UPDATE: Few prospects impressed more during Under Armour Game week than Wright, who will enroll for the second semester. Wright makes up a formidable tight end duo with Kmet.
Michael Young
5-11, 178
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Denson Committed on July 20
UPDATE: Young is now the only wide receiver commitment on board with Jordan Pouncey backing off his pledge. Offensive coordinator Chip Long has been in touch and the expectation is he’ll visit Young in Destrehan soon.
Notes: Wide receiver represents, really, the only position of need remaining on offense. Losing Jordan Pouncey leaves Notre Dame with just one commitment — Michael Young. Incoming pass catching talent is bolstered with the pledges of Brock Wright and Cole Kmet at tight end, especially since Wright is set for early enrollment. But there’s still work to be done at receiver. Pouncey is still technically in play and the current commitments are working to get him back on board. But let’s be real: Most often when a prospect de-commits he’s headed elsewhere. Pouncey plans to announce his final choice on National Signing Day. Miami feels like the leader. Jamire Calvin is off the board after his commitment to Oregon State. Oliver Martin remains in play and has said coaching turnover, notably the loss of primary recruiter and potential position coach Mike Denbrock, won’t impact his decision making. Iowa and Michigan State are legitimate threats while Michigan has faded. Auburn might get a visit, but shouldn’t be considered a real possibility at this stage. Martin plays things extremely close to the vest, so it’s hard to pick out a leader at this stage. Notre Dam is right in the mix either way. Now enter some new targets: Jafar Armstrong, Gavin Holmes and Michael Smith most notably. Smith (Jan. 20) and Holmes (Jan. 27) are on track for official visits. Armstrong could very well get on the schedule sooner than later, especially given his Notre Dame connections. Adding at least one of those prospects has to be a priority. Hauling in two would be ideal. Smith seems the most likely given the connection to Autry Denson and the Irish being his best offer to date. Holmes will at least give the Irish a serious look. No matter how it shakes out, receiver recruiting is likely to go down to the wire.

Offensive Line

Aaron Banks
6-7, 344
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Hiestand Committed on Dec. 9
Banks is a big get both in terms of the recruiting big picture and, well, his actual size. He’s a massive guard prospect that could even be trending toward a future right tackle or nose tackle. Regardless, he’s a quality addition and early enrollee.
Dillan Gibbons
6-5, 315
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Hiestand Committed on April 4, 2015
Harry Hiestand struck early with Gibbons, who’s already been committed for more than a year. Gibbons was the first pledge in the Class of 2017. He’s likely destined for guard at the next level.
Robert Hainsey
6-5. 270
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Hiestand Committed on July 10
UPDATE: Hainsey turned in a notably strong week at the Under Armour Game, playing both guard and tackle. He’s likely destined for guard at the next level and brings not only talent but a mean streak to that position. Next up is early enrollment.
Josh Lugg
6-6, 280
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Hiestand Committed on August 14, 2015
UPDATE: One of the more impressive prospects for the East team, Lugg raised his stock during Army Bowl week. He played mostly right tackle, which might be his best position at the college level too. Lugg has remained steadfast in his commitment.
Notes: Offensive line recruiting is done at four commitments. Credit to Harry Hiestand for piecing together another strong group. Dillan Gibbons, Josh Lugg, Robert Hainsey and Aaron Banks are all four-star prospects. Lugg (Army) and Hainsey (Under Armour) both acquitted themselves well at their respective all-star games. Hainsey will be among the early enrollments after his school career at IMG Academy. Banks essentially rounded out the class with his Dec. 9 commitment, giving Hiestand a finishing touch after landing the other three months (or even years0 ago. Hiestand only awaited a decision from five-star offensive tackle Foster Sarell, although he likely knew the answer before the Army Bowl announcement came down. Sarell picked Stanford over Washington and Notre Dame. Frankly, it’s a testament to Hiestand that the Irish hung around so long against the long time favorite and the hometown school. But even without Sarell in the fold, Notre Dame has again brought together one of the most talented offensive line classes in the country.


Updated 1/12/17 Top Stories