WHAT NOTRE DAME HAS
Notre Dame’s second commitment and fourth overall in 2018 is Scout 300 talent Markese Stepp.
The four-star product of Indianapolis (Ind.) Cathedral rushed 155 times for 1,300 yards and 17 touchdowns last season in Indiana’s largest division (6A).
The 6-foot, 205-pound athlete is a power back that’s at his best getting the handoff in I-formation. He’s a true downhill runner but light enough on his feet to make linebackers and defensive backs miss in the open field. He’s a homerun threat once he makes his first cut just beyond the line of scrimmage.
WHY IT MATTERS
Notre Dame identified Stepp as a running back it wanted early in the process. The Irish offered back in February, just days after Michigan State and Tennessee. From the day he was offered, Notre Dame became the team to unseat.
The in-state running back would take visits to Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State in the spring, but Notre Dame never surrendered its status as the top school.
Alabama, Clemson, Florida State and Virginia Tech were among the programs that wanted to get him on campus this summer and fall. But once Stepp introduced his mother to Notre Dame for the first time at Irish Invasion, Stepp was ready to end his recruitment with a commitment.
Senior Cathedral linebacker Pete Werner is also a Notre Dame commitment. The Irish are evaluating 2018 Cathedral prospects offensive lineman Emil Ekiyor and linebacker Hugh Davis.
Stepp is one of Notre Dame’s best recruiters and is in consistent contact with numerous 2018 targets, including Jaelen Gill, Aeneas Hawkins, Houston Griffith, Ovie Oghoufo and Malik Vann.
WHAT NOTRE DAME WANTS
Until the quantity, quality and skillset of the running backs Notre Dame signs in 2017 is known, it's hard to tell what the Irish want in Stepp's class.
Four-star running back Jaelen Gill of Westerville (Ohio) Westerville-South has Notre Dame in his top group, but Ohio State probably has the edge.
The No. 1 running back in his class, Zamir White of Laurinburg (N.C.) Scotland, visited Notre Dame in June. Smart money has White landing somewhere in the South.
By 2018 Josh Adams, Justin Brent and Dexter Williams will all be in their final years, assuming they're still on the roster.
Pending redshirt usage, Tony Jones Jr. and Deon McIntosh will have two or three years remaining.