Sure, Junior Day is this weekend and marks the unofficial start to another recruiting campaign at Notre Dame. Yet the Irish coaching staff has been looking ahead by a full cycle to its next recruiting push, targeting some top sophomores that could fit Notre Dame’s program.
Here’s a look at 10 of the most important sophomores to know.
Bell, a 6-foot-1, 165-pounder from Indianapolis, caught 68 passes for 1,201 yards as a sophomore. He drew early offers from the Irish, Indiana, Iowa and Syracuse.
He visited South Bend for the game against Stanford and was impressed with what he saw.
“I liked how the stadium is set up and that nobody sits down,” Bell told Scout.com in December. “It was a fun game and I liked the atmosphere around the school.”
Notre Dame assistant coach Mike Elston remains in close contact with Bell, who also hears from Ohio State.
Daniels, a 6-foot-1, 180-pounder from Santa Ana, Calif., completed 315-of-423 passes for 4,849 yards and threw an amazing 67 touchdowns passes to just six interceptions as a sophomore.
The four-star prospect holds scholarship offers from many of the nation’s top programs and was the first 2019 prospect to land an Irish offer.
Daniels told Scout.com in December he has plans to visit both Notre Dame and Stanford during the off-season. He previously visited South Bend for the Irish Invasion camp.
“Daniels will finish his career as one of the most prolific high school quarterbacks in California history but is more than just a stat guy, he’s a high major prospect,” said Scout.com West Coast Analyst Greg Biggins. “In terms of his ability to process things around him, slow the game down and make quick decisions, he’s light years ahead of the game. He’s a pure pocket passer who can make every throw and change speeds depending on what the throw requires. He’s poised beyond his years, is improving his pocket mobility and is a natural leader and a very good teammate. He’ll be among the top two or three quarterbacks in the national 2019 class when he’s a senior.”
Floyd, a 6-foot-3, 225-pounder, became the sixth Augustus Hawkins player to land an offer from the Irish over the course of the last two recruiting cycles.
As a sophomore, Floyd rushed for 736 yards on just 65 carries and recorded 54 tackles and a team-high 10 sacks.
Notre Dame offered Floyd as an athlete and could use him at any number of different positions including running back, wide receiver, defensive end or outside linebacker.
“If you look at his highlight tape you see him doing various things, so it's really hard to pinpoint exactly what position he'll play,” said Augustus Hawkins offensive coordinator Malik James. “He's scoring at quarterback, he's scoring at running back. He's running off 75-yard touchdowns. At defensive end he's getting sacks and at linebacker he's blitzing, so I'm not sure exactly where they want him at. I think they want him as a ball player. The way his body is built who knows what he can grow into. He can grow into a true outside linebacker. He can grow into a player at the position or he can play defensive end or tight end. He can play wherever. He can even play as a running back. A few teams that have seen him as a fullback said he could play that position or H-Back. The sky's the limit for Floyd.”
Harrison, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound tight end/defensive end from Lewis Center, Ohio, landed an offer from Notre Dame this fall and added one from the in-state Ohio State Buckeyes this winter.
Several other Big Ten schools also hope to land the dynamic sophomore.
Most schools are recruiting Harrison to play on defense.
“I think Zach is a very high level prospect,” said Scout.com Midwest Analyst Allen Trieu. “He has a rare body type and athleticism to go with it and I think he is a power five prospect on either side of the football even though right now defense appears to be where he will head to in college. I think he will challenge for high four possibly even five-star status.”
Knight-Goff, a 6-foot-4, 210-pounder from Louisville, already holds offers from Kentucky, Louisville, Cincinnati and Purdue and has drawn interest from Notre Dame, Florida, Florida State, Duke and Oregon, among others.
Doss High School coach Phil Taylor believes Knight-Goff’s offer list is going to grow in the very near future.
“He will be highly sought after by many,” Taylor said. “He is a machine.”
Lacey, a 6-foot-2, 300-pound defensive tackle, landed an Irish offer after a strong summer camp performance and he returned in the fall for an unofficial visit. The Irish are among his early leaders but he has offers from both in-state powerhouses and Ohio State has been poking around.
Notre Dame assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Mike Elston has remained in close contact with Lacey.
“I talk with Coach Elston every so often,” Lacey said. “They are busy with 2017 told me to call after Feb. 1.”
Lacey plans to return to South Bend in the off-season if possible. He’s looking forward to seeing Irish head coach Brian Kelly.
“Every time I come to campus they get me in front of coach Kelly,” Lacey said. “When I talk to him every time he says they are going to be recruiting me very hard and that they really like me. He tells me to keep doing what I'm doing and keep the grades up. Coach Kelly is an amazing coach.”
Notre Dame was one of the 6-foot-3, 205-pound wide receiver’s first offers. That came last April following McCoy’s freshman season when he saw limited varsity action.
The early offers McCoy landed speak volumes about his potential.
Both USC and UCLA have offered, leaving the Irish in a difficult position trying to lure the talented prospect to the Midwest.
Williams, a 5-foot-10, 160-pound cornerback, could be one of the top Irish targets in 2019, especially after Notre Dame whiffed at the position last cycle.
The problem is Williams is among the top players in the class and already holds a national offer list.
“Williams is a very talented cover corner with great natural instincts and he plays with a nice edge to him,” said Scout.com West Coast Analyst Greg Biggins.
Notre Dame’s coaching staff visited Junipero Serra High School in January to check in on Williams and the Irish will be back in the spring.
Notre Dame has had some success recruiting South Florida and the Irish would love to land the 5-foot-9, 185-pound combo back.
Wright has the speed and power to fit into any offensive scheme and his production, although limited by injury, helped Miami’s Carol City High School win the state championship.
Alabama also has offered, and although Wright claims he has no favorites, the Crimson Tide usually get the running backs they covet.