Insider Report: Irish board trending up

The latest on Amari Carter, Jedrick Wills, Hezekiah Jones, Tarik Black and a pass rushing option that might be trending more toward Notre Dame than it seemed. Get all that in this week’s Insider Report.

Safety Amari Carter listed multiple schools still recruiting him earlier this week: Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Louisville, Miami and Notre Dame.

Notre Dame and Miami are regarded as the top contenders for Carter, who’s from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and attends the same high school that produced current Irish players Devin Studstill and Te’von Coney. Carter, however, has yet to narrow the list beyond that top list.

The 6-foot-2, 180-pound defensive back knows of one official visit he’ll take this fall and it’s a return to Notre Dame.

“I’m going to be coming up for the Stanford game,” Carter said. “I haven’t booked it yet but I’ve already talked to the coaches and my family, and it’s in the making.”

Carter’s first visit to South Bend happened in June for Irish Invasion.

A decision is fast-approaching for the three-star prospect. Carter told Irish Illustrated he plans to announce a commitment in September or October. The Irish host Stanford on Oct. 15. Could a decision come before then?

“That’s a good question,” Carter said. "I don’t know, I might visit (Notre Dame) and then commit or (Notre Dame) might get lucky and I will commit before I visit.”

Carter visited Miami earlier this month for the Hurricanes’ inaugural Paradise Camp. Carter insists the Canes don’t have a leg up in the race due to proximity.

"The distance or location doesn’t matter to me,” Carter said. “I’m going to have to get used to it at some point in my life, so it really wouldn’t be a factor. I’m fine wherever I go.”

Notre Dame has one safety committed in four-star prospect Isaiah Robertson and would like to add at least one more. Carter tops the list.

"Oh yeah, they tell me I’m their top priority safety,” Carter said. "It feels good to know that.”

Jedrick Wills trending to the Tide

To our knowledge, it’s only a matter of time before four-star offensive tackle Jedrick Wills pops for Alabama following a recent unofficial visit.

Notre Dame and Kentucky were considered the frontrunners for much of Wills’ recruitment, yet the Tide has not only re-entered the picture but taken the lead for the Lexington, Ky., native.

Irish Illustrated reported last week that Alabama wants to take two more tackles in 2017. Four-star tackle Kendall Randolph is expected to pull the trigger publicly for Alabama early next month. That would leave one spot remaining. Smart money is on Wills taking it.

Notre Dame would like to add at least one more tackle to this class. Five-star Foster Sarell is Harry Hiestand’s top target.

Don’t give up on Hezekiah Jones

Four-star wide receiver Hezekiah Jones will announce his commitment today with Alabama, Auburn, Houston, Notre Dame and Texas A&M all finalists.

Texas A&M is considered the heavy favorite. Notre Dame got the one-time Baylor commitment on campus for the Blue-Gold Game in the spring and hopes to do so again with an official visit this fall. Jones has talked about an Irish official for the Michigan State weekend in September.

Jones remains open to that idea as well, no matter where he commits.

“I would still really like to get up to Notre Dame because I’ve already talked to their coaches about visiting for an official,” Jones said. “I know I wanted to get up there for the Michigan State game. So we will see. I like Notre Dame a lot and really enjoyed it up there the first time I visited. The coaches are real cool and so I think I’d like to visit again.”

Notre Dame would like to take at least two more wide receivers in this class to complement Jordan Pouncey and Michael Young. Tarik Black, Jamire Calvin and Osiris St. Brown are Notre Dame’s best bets.

What’s next at receiver?

Notre Dame filled a need at slot receiver earlier this month with three-star prospect Michael Young, who visited for Irish Invasion.

Where does that leave other potential slot receivers? Jamire Calvin remains a possibility. Calvin told Irish Illustrated earlier this week he plans to take an official visit either for the Michigan State or Stanford games, possibly alongside four-star defensive end and high school teammate Hunter Echols.

Notre Dame plans to keep recruiting Calvin and host him for an official visit even with Young on board. In fact, the Irish could reasonably be considered the favorite.

But it bears watching wide receiver numbers in general. Young and Jordan Pouncey are on board. Tarik Black and Osiris St. Brown represent top targets with which Notre Dame is also in good position along with Calvin.

Noah Igbinoghene has also spoken highly of the Irish, putting them in a top five.

But there won’t be room for everybody. Some prospects might need to advance their timeline to secure a spot if they want it.

Black a natural pass catcher

Four-star receiver Tarik Black visited Notre Dame last month and plans to announce his college decision during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January.

Notre Dame is considered the favorite to land the 6-foot-4, 206-pounder from Cheshire Academy in Connecticut. Black is the high school teammate of Irish commitment C.J. Holmes.  

According to Cheshire Academy head coach David Dykeman, Black has game-breaking ability.

“From a football standpoint, Tarik, watching him grow and develop as a wide out, he has unbelievable ball skills and an ability to get in and out of routes,” Dykeman said. “At 6-foot-4, he has the ability to body up on a defender and run by somebody as well. He can do some great things.”

 Black can help the Irish in a number of different ways and can play inside or outside.  “Tarik is as natural a wide receiver as I have ever seen,” Dykeman said. “He's just got an incredible ability to run routes and find ways to get open. He gets in and out of breaks like he's a slot guy and yet he's 6-4 and has the ability to go up and be a true X receiver. There are so few of them out there.”

Four-star LB plans Irish return

For much of the spring, Tennessee and Clemson were regarded as the only real contenders to land Justin Foster, North Carolina’s top outside linebacker prospect. A visit to Notre Dame in mid-June gave Foster a new school to consider.

The 6-foot-4, 240-pound linebacker considers the Volunteers, Tigers and Irish his top three, in that order, heading to the fall.

The positive news for Notre Dame is Foster plans to visit all three schools again before making a decision.

Notre Dame has reached its numbers at linebacker already this cycle, but a fourth could be added. Five-star prospect Baron Browning headlines the other targets. Jacob Phillips and Rahyme Johnson are also in the mix. Top Stories