Who are Notre Dame’s best bets?

Irish Illustrated reveals our 10 prospects most likely to commit to Notre Dame. Another dozen just missed the cut.

Notre Dame sits fifth in the Scout.com Team Recruiting Rankings behind Ohio State, Oklahoma, Alabama and Georgia. The Irish have 10 commitments from eight four-stars and two three-stars.

Here’s how we see an ideal class breaking down by position on National Signing Day next February.

Quarterback - 1 (Done)
Running Back - 2
Wide Receiver - 3/4
Tight End - 2 (Done)
Offensive Line – 5 (2 committed)
Defensive Line - 4/5 (1 committed)
Linebacker - 3/4 (3 committed)
Defensive Back – 4 (1 committed)

Notre Dame hasn’t added a ‘17 commitment since safety Isaiah Robertson in mid-April, but that doesn’t mean the Irish stalled out during the spring evaluation period. If recent history repeats itself, Notre Dame will land a handful of prospects before training camp, and Irish Invasion (June 18) should put the Brian Kelly commitment bat signal #WeAreND into motion.

Without further ado, in alphabetical order, our 10 prospects Notre Dame is most likely to land:

Notre Dame leads, but Big 12 programs are predictably in position to make a run at this cornerback. Notre Dame will get him back on campus this fall for an official visit.
Recruiter: Lyght
Visit: Junior Day (March 19)

While Black may favor UCLA, his parents would prefer Notre Dame or Stanford. The receiver returns to campus this month, giving Notre Dame the opportunity to pull even or possibly ahead of the Bruins. Notre Dame offered his teammate, wide receiver C.J. Holmes, last month. A decision isn’t expected until January.
Recruiter: Booker
Visits: Junior Day (March 19), June 23-24

Notre Dame has a good shot of flipping one of its top running back prospects. A Miami commit since February of 2015, Burns is strongly considering Notre Dame. He plans to get his mom on campus for the first time either for Irish Invasion or in the fall.
Recruiter: Denson
Visits: Junior Day (March 19), Irish Invasion

Miami holds the lead, but Notre Dame should like its chances to close the gap once the safety is on campus for Irish Invasion. Carter hails from the same school (Palm Beach Gardens) as Te’von Coney and Devin Studstill.
Recruiter: Denson
Visit: Irish Invasion

Irish Invasion will mark the first time Daley sees Notre Dame. Even so, the defensive end is eyeing a decision announcement in the days that follow. Oklahoma is presumably Notre Dame’s biggest threat, but the Sooners have yet to receive a visit.
Recruiter: Denson
Visit: Irish Invasion

Notre Dame, Ohio State and Oregon make up MacCollister’s top three. The Buckeyes are recruiting him for tight end while Notre Dame likes him at defensive end. He plans to make a decision at the end of this month. Whether or not he visits Columbus during his trip to the Midwest for Irish Invasion could be a giveaway.
Recruiter: Gilmore
Visit: Irish Invasion

This Florida receiver will make cameos at more than 10 schools this summer, but Notre Dame will get an overnight visit for Irish Invasion. Notre Dame could surface as the team to beat. And that’s assuming the Irish don’t already claim that title.
Recruiter: Denson
Visit: Irish Invasion

Stanford and Washington join the Irish as the main contenders for Sarell, who could end up favoring Notre Dame if his Irish Invasion visit hits the right notes. The Irish usually get who they won’t on the offensive line. Sarell is the nation’s top offensive tackle on Scout.com.
Recruiter: Hiestand
Visit: Irish Invasion

The defensive end called Notre Dame his “dream offer” after adding an Irish scholarship on Tuesday. It’s early, but Notre Dame is in pole position.
Recruiter: Denson
Visit: None

It’s a toss-up between in-state Kentucky and Notre Dame. The Irish will get the offensive tackle back on campus Wednesday, but a decision is not expected until the fall or winter.
Recruiter: Hiestand
Visits: Irish Invasion 2015, Junior Day (January 23), June 8

Missing the cut

Cutting to a Top 10 was a challenge. With that in mind, here are 12 additional prospects that are worth tracking as potential future Notre Dame commitments.

Chaz Ah You  – UCLA likely leads, but Notre Dame’s in the top three. The safety has plans to go on his Mormon mission out of high school, so he’d be a true freshman in 2018.

Cortez Alston – Notre Dame is in Alston’s top three along with California and USC, and the defensive end is tentatively scheduled to visit for Irish Invasion.

Robert Beal – Alabama, Florida State and Georgia make up Beal’s top three. Notre Dame is likely in the next tier, along with Texas. The Irish should know much ground they have to make up when the rush end visits for the Irish Invasion.

Keldrick Carper – Notre Dame made the safety’s top four with Arkansas, Miami and Texas A&M. He’s expected in College Station this weekend, and the Aggies and Razorbacks have the edge. Notre Dame hopes to get him on campus for the first time this summer.

Thomas Graham – The cornerback already has an official visit locked in with Notre Dame (Sept. 17). The former USC commit is also high on Arizona, Oregon and UCLA. The Ducks get the nod at this point. 

Noah Igbinoghene – Notre Dame is one the athlete’s bigger offers, but he’s a top candidate to develop more SEC interest in the fall. He’s also considering running track in college. Notre Dame could gain the inside track if it can get him on campus this summer. 

Hezekiah Jones – The former Baylor commit considers Notre Dame his favorite visit so far. But with Auburn, Oklahoma and Texas A&M emerging after his de-commitment from the Bears, competition will be stiff for this elite receiver.

Joshua Kaindoh – If he elects to take visits in the fall, Notre Dame should receive one from the Maryland commitment. Five-star defensive ends are worth the effort, even if the odds are long.

Jacob Phillips – Notre Dame got him on campus for Junior Day, which put the Irish in the mix going forward. Oklahoma and Ole Miss are the main competition for the linebacker.

Trey Smith – This recruitment will likely go the distance and Notre Dame should be in contention until the end. What’s keeping this offensive tackle from our Top 10 is the overwhelming SEC attention coming at Smith.

Osiris St. Brown – A two-team race between Notre Dame and Stanford has emerged, and the Cardinal have made him a top priority. Time will tell if the receiver wants to follow in his brother’s footsteps at Notre Dame.

Dalyn Wade-Perry – Stanford and Notre Dame top the defensive tackle’s list, but the Cardinal hold the edge. Distance won’t play a factor considering Wade-Perry’s roots in New Jersey.


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