Spartan Digest

In The Film Room…Best Bets

With four verbal commitments last week and an uptick in interest from these five prospects, Notre Dame is blazing a path on the recruiting trail.

On Sunday, Feb. 19, Irish Illustrated editor Pete Sampson presented a “Who’s Next?” story on recruits that could be trending Notre Dame’s way after last week’s flurry of four verbal commitments, raising the Irish total to 10 in the Class of 2018.

http://www.scout.com/college/notre-dame/story/1756229-who-s-next

We take a closer look at the five prospects offered with a quick film evaluation of each.

We offer these evaluations beginning with the most impressive on high school film.

http://www.scout.com/player/202327-braden-lenzy?s=109
Top offers under consideration: Notre Dame, USC, Stanford, Oregon, Michigan State, Utah, UCLA, Colorado, Oregon State, Washington State, Cal, Illinois, Purdue
Film review: The Junior Day visitor is listed as a four-star, but is an ultra-athletic, lithe football player with numerous five-star qualities. A quality candidate at cornerback and receiver, which generally tips the scales to the defensive side of the football, but not necessarily in this case.

Gazelle-like athleticism. A beautiful, free-and-easy running motion with lightning-quick fast-twitch assets. Outstanding hip-turn capabilities at cornerback. Soft hands, ball skills – coupled with other assets – make him a big-time playmaker on either side of the ball.

Presuming he doesn’t warrant a fifth star from talent evaluators at this time because of his slight build. But wouldn’t be surprised is he ascends to that level as a prep senior. A difference-making get for whoever lands him with the Irish rapidly trending up.

http://www.scout.com/player/200613-malik-vann?s=109
Top offers under consideration: Notre Dame, Ohio State, Florida State, Oregon, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Tennessee, UCLA, Louisville, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Kentucky, Purdue
Film review: A physical, high-motor, disruptive force at strongside defensive end. Makes it extremely difficult to stay blocked. Uses his hands well out of a locked-and-loaded three-point stance. A powerful edge force while maintaining a light-on-his-feet presence.

Virtually impossible for a high school offensive lineman to cross his face. Maintains leverage. Runs extremely well for a strongside defensive end. Think a more athletic Ethan Johnson, a former four-star at Notre Dame. Should get sacks in a Mike Elko scheme with his above-average pass-rush skills as a strongside end.

Vann was not a part of last weekend’s Junior Day, but his activity on Twitter is a real positive sign for Notre Dame. If the Irish can hold off in-state Ohio State – a big if – this would be a significant addition to Notre Dame’s future at defensive end.

http://www.scout.com/player/201833-john-dirksen?s=109
Top offers under consideration: Notre Dame, Michigan State, Northwestern, Boston College, Kentucky, Iowa State, Minnesota, Toledo, Miami (Ohio)
Film review: Not sure why this kid is so far under the radar. Has all the qualities you’re looking for in an offensive lineman, including a high-motor, good short-space quickness (which plays to the guard position) and an aggressive frame of mind.

A blocker, not a pusher with active feet and a determined approach. A proactive blocker who is quick to engagement. Will literally make a block, a second block and seek a third on the same play, which shows outstanding football awareness.  Love everything about this kid’s long-term potential. Would recommend a lowering of the backside in three-point stance to maximize power base.

If you’re thinking sleeper based upon his offer list, he won’t be a sleeper for long once his tape is disseminated. Much closer to a finished product than Irish verbal commitment No. 9 Cole Mabry. With no offer from Ohio State – don’t be surprised if the Buckeyes follow in short order – Notre Dame should employ a full-court press on this kid.

http://www.scout.com/player/191383-houston-griffith?s=109
Top offers under consideration: Notre Dame, Ohio State, Florida State, Michigan, Oklahoma, Penn State, Michigan State, Georgia, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Illinois
Film review: Do not interpret Griffith’s fourth-place listing in this group of five as an indictment of his ability. He plays cornerback in high school, but projects (for me) more as a safety. Lacks a touch of explosiveness, suddenness for cornerback, so this evaluation is of a safety prospect.

A physical player with ample athleticism. Offers a sturdy, consistent “football position” against the run. Ample closing speed, change of direction for a safety with good ball skills. Displays a good awareness of on-the-run game situations. Could put up a better fight gaining inside leverage on a receiver, which will come with strength.

A multiple visitor (including Irish Invasion and Junior Day) to the Notre Dame campus, dating back two years. Spoke highly of Brian Kelly’s commitment to reinventing the Irish after last year’s dismal season. Recognizes opportunity in the Mike Elko system. Will tour the south with other IMG prospects, so this will prove to be a battle, but one in which the Irish find themselves heavily in the mix.

http://www.scout.com/player/202787-ryan-hayes?s=109
Top offers under consideration: Notre Dame, Michigan State, Northwestern, Virginia, Minnesota, Vanderbilt, Central Michigan
Film review: More difficult to evaluate than most offensive tackle prospects because he plays tight end. Not as much in-line blocking tape as most prospects, and nothing compared to what he’ll face as a tackle, but an athletic offensive tackle playing tight end.

Quick off the snap. Shows a degree of toughness, which he displays on offense and at defensive end. Does a good job of gaining leverage. Don’t see him as a four-star prospect at this time, but will inch closer to that classification if he continues to progress. Length suggests four-star. Mike McGlinchey comparison is appropriate.

Notre Dame’s top competition at the present time is Michigan State, although he is expected to visit the Irish in the spring. Seems to be trending toward an academic school, which favors Notre Dame over Vanderbilt, Northwestern and Virginia if the Irish push hard enough.


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