Master List: Offense

The spring evaluation period is complete and the Irish haven’t landed a commitment on offense in nearly three months. But who might be next?

QUARTERBACK

Phil Jurkovec
6-5, 201 

Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Long
Committed on May 16, 2016
UPDATE: Jurkovec returned to Notre Dame in June, helping seal the deal with tight end George Takacs. He’s been solid since his commitment and even tweeted some shade at Braden Lenzy after his Oregon flip.

Notes: Quarterback recruiting has been stress free for Notre Dame in this class thanks to the early commitment of Jurkovec, who was the first verbal pledge in the Class of 2018. Mike Sanford helped bring Jurkovec into the fold and Brian Kelly held him during the transition of assistant coaches. Scout rates Jurkovec its No. 77 prospect overall and eighth among quarterbacks after he didn’t excel at The Opening Regional in outside Cleveland. That’s a slight dip of about 30 spots overall, although he lost more ground within the quarterback rankings. Now Jurkovec is behind five-star prospects Trevor Lawrence (Clemson), Justin Fields (uncommitted) and Matt Corral (uncommitted), plus four-stars Tanner McKee (uncommitted), Dorian Thompson-Richardson (UCLA), Jack Tuttle (Utah), Jacob Sirmon (Washington), Artur Sitkowski (Miami), Emory Jones (Ohio State) and Joey Gatewood (Auburn). Still, Notre Dame couldn’t be more pleased with its quarterback recruiting position, especially after Ian Book’s strong spring practice as he grabbed the No. 2 spot behind Brandon Wimbush.

RUNNING BACK

Lyn-J Dixon
5-10, 177
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Denson
Top Offers: Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma
Notre Dame made the Top 12 for Dixon, but there’s no summer visit on the books and the Irish are a clear outlier among a list that includes Louisville, Oklahoma State, Tennessee and Ole Miss.
Deion Smith
6-0, 180
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Long
Top Offers: Utah, Colorado, TCU, Northwestern
NEW: The Irish see more of an athlete than a true running back in Smith, who rates among the most recent offers on the board. Until there’s a visit set, it’s hard to really know where Notre Dame stands.
Jahmir Smith
6-0, 195
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Denson
Top Offers: Cal, Duke, Georgia Tech, Northwestern, Minnesota
Smith is on record that Duke, Northwestern and Clemson are coming after him hardest entering the summer. Odds are the Irish like Smith, but maybe not enough to take him just now. Regardless, he hasn’t visited.
Markese Stepp
6-0, 220
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Elston
Committed on June 19, 2016

UPDATE: Stepp got back to Notre Dame for Irish Invasion and even worked out for the staff, a nice sign after basically a year off following last season’s hamstring pull. Stepp looked like a Jonas Gray style athlete at the event.

Lavonte Valentine
6-2, 190
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Denson
Top Offers: Florida, LSU, Kentucky, USC
UPDATE: Notre Dame made the top seven for Valentine but has not landed a visit. The Irish are playing more of a long game here with a second running back because space in the class is extremely limited.

Notes: The most likely scenario here is obvious considering Notre Dame’s scholarship crunch and roster. It’s all a hunch that Markese Stepp will be the only back the Irish take this cycle, even as the Irish staff works on other targets to be safe. It doesn’t make any sense for Autry Denson to shut down communication with other targets this summer, even if the Irish running backs coach is probably more focused on ’19 targets. With Josh Adams, Dexter Williams, Tony Jones, Deon McIntosh and C.J. Holmes already on the roster, the Irish will be pushing roster limits with Stepp. That’s a good place to be.

RECEIVER / TIGHT END

Kevin Austin
6-3, 190
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Denson
Top Offers: Clemson, Duke, Florida, Miami, Tennessee
UPDATE: Always a priority, Austin is now a must-have. The Irish struggled here last cycle and lost their best receiver this summer. Austin would be the highest-rated receiver commit since Javon McKinley.
Tommy Bush
6-5, 187
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Alexander
Top Offers: Texas A&M, TCU, Baylor, Alabama, Florida St.
Notre Dame is on the list for Bush, who comes from the same high school that produced former defensive end Kolin Hill. The Irish haven’t logged a visit, so give the edge to the in-state programs. They all want him.
Chase Cota
6-4, 195
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Alexander
Top Offers: USC, UCLA, Oregon, Alabama, Georgia
UPDATE: With Braden Lenzy off the board to Oregon, it’s hard to see how the Irish pull out Cota from the same state. The Ducks are suddenly hot with wide outs. Notre Dame still needs at least a couple.
Bryson Jackson
6-0, 174
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Alexander
Top Offers: Alabama, Miami, Nebraska, TCU, Texas A&M
UPDATE: The Irish looked like a solid player when Jackson was planning to visit this summer with his quarterback, Grant Gunnell. But Gunnell has since committed to Texas A&M. Jackson remains in play, it will just take more work.
Micah Jones
6-5, 195
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Alexander
Committed on Feb. 17, 2017

Jones will do early enrollment at Notre Dame and rates among the most solid commitments in the class. He’s a red zone threat that the Irish can feel confident will end up in South Bend next winter.

Lawrence Keys
5-11, 168
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Alexander
Top Offers: LSU, Miami, Texas A&M
Yes, Keys is a long shot on paper. But also yes, Notre Dame loves this lightning quick receiver who could help in the slot. We’ll see if the Irish can get a summer visit. A single official in the fall might have to be enough.
Geordon Porter
6-2, 175
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Polian
Top Offers: Cal, Colorado, Duke, UCLA, Utah
NEW: The Irish offered Porter on the same day Braden Lenzy de-committed, with this California prospect mainly a mid-level Pac-12 prospect to date. Porter is working on a visit after landing his Notre Dame offer.
Anthony Schwartz
6-0, 175
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Denson
Top Offers: Florida, Miami, Oregon
You want speed? Schwartz is one of the fastest prospects in the country, period. We’re talking about a prospect whose best time in the 100-meter dash is 10.26 seconds and ran a 4.34-second 40-yard dash at a recent The Opening regional. He’s made some SEC visits during spring ball.
Kobe Smith
6-2, 178
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Polian
Top Offers: USC, Arizona, Nebraska, Washington State
NEW: Smith plays at USC pipeline Serra outside Los Angeles, which makes the Trojans an overwhelming favorite if they want him. The Irish offered in June as they look to expand the board after losing Braden Lenzy.
Amon-Ra St. Brown
6-1, 190
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Alexander   Top Offers: Stanford, USC, UCLA, Ohio State, Michigan

UPDATE: St. Brown never made it back to Notre Dame this summer, but an Irish official is basically on the books. The same goes for Stanford, with a lead pack forming of the usual suspects. The Irish will have dogfight to St. Brown.

George Takacs
6-7, 236

Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Denson
Committed on June 14
UPDATE: The Florida tight end had been a priority target for Notre Dame for more than a year by the time he committed. His commitment was no surprise and gives the Irish another prototype frame for the position.
Tommy Tremble
6-4, 225
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Long
Top Offers: Georgia, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Virginia Tech
UPDATE: Unless Tremble can play a different position, it’s hard to see how he fits into this class. He was supposed to visit for Irish Invasion, but postponed until later in the month. Since then George Takacs committed.

Notes: It was a rough spring at receiver for Notre Dame after Braden Lenzy flipped to Oregon in mid-June, depriving the Irish of the closest thing to Will Fuller on the recruiting board. Adding speed was a major priority from the start of this cycle, and Notre Dame has struggled to do that at wide out or cornerback to date. Micah Jones is a solid prospect, but he’s the next Miles Boykin or Corey Robinson, not the next Will Fuller or Golden Tate. So where does Notre Dame go to get a burner? Kevin Austin doesn’t fit the bill perfectly, but he’d be a great take and an upgrade over anybody the Irish have landed during the past couple cycles. Notre Dame remains optimistic that Austin will eventually chose the Irish, maybe before training camp. Austin will be at The Opening Finals, in what will be a loaded receiver group with Notre Dame interests. Amon-Ra St. Brown, Chase Cota, Tommy Bush and Anthony Schwartz will all be there too. Tight end was merge with wide receiver following George Takacs’ commitment. While Jeremy Ruckert insists that Notre Dame remains in play, there’s no room at the inn. Tommy Tremble might be work a look at another position, but tight end will be a tough sell.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Will Craig
6-5, 265
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Polian
Top Offers: Nebraska, Oregon, UCLA, Washington
NEW: Craig had a strong spring on the combine circuit, earning an invite to The Opening Finals and scoring a Notre Dame offer. The Sacramento area prospect’s offer list is Pac-12 based but doesn’t include USC.
John Dirksen
6-5, 275
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Hiestand
Committed on March 25, 2017

Dirksen might be the most media-averse commitment to go Notre Dame’s way in years. Somewhere, Harry Hiestand is probably applauding that. The Irish got a mauler with good size.

Cole Mabry
6-6, 270

Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Long
Committed on Feb. 14, 2017

Mabry came onto the radar through a previous relationship with offensive coordinator Chip Long when the latter was still at Memphis. Long recommended Mabry to Hiestand, who signed off on an offer. They accepted his commitment not long after hosting Mabry for Junior Day.

Nick Petit-Frere
6-6, 258
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Hiestand
Top Offers: Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, Georgia, Texas

The elite offensive tackle won’t do media but he appears to be listening to Notre Dame. The Irish got him on campus during spring practice, which is half the battle with out-of-area prospects.

Jamaree Salyer
6-4, 327
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Hiestand
Top Offers: Clemson, Ohio State, Georgia, Michigan, Alabama

UPDATE: The Irish got Salyer back to campus this summer and Notre Dame believes that it’s a serious player. Pace Academy in Atlanta hasn’t been easy for the Irish to crack. This would be a good place to start.

Sam Vakalahi
6-2, 296
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Polian
Top Offers: Alabama, Washington, Utah, UCLA
NEW: Vakalahi could also be listed on the defensive line, but he’s a elite guard prospect too. He’ll compete there during The Opening Finals. The Irish are in his Top 7 with a summer visit in the works for the Utah athlete.
Rasheed Walker
6-6, 295
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Hiestand
Top Offers: Ohio State, North Carolina, Maryland, Penn State
Notre Dame offered during the spring evaluation period and needs to get a visit on the books to have a real shot. But with targets in short supply despite the Irish needing offensive linemen, Notre Dame has to make a push.

Notes: Finally, fresh blood along the offensive line. The transfers out of Parker Boudreaux and Tristen Hoge demanded a deeper dive at this position for targets considering the sudden lack of depth in the middle of the roster. The Irish have an outstanding senior class and a potentially great freshman one. Between them, however, is a bit of a mess. Trevor Ruhland, Tommy Kraemer and Liam Eichenberg are it for the junior and sophomore classes, with three linemen in a two-year window simply not enough. That means the Irish must sign four this cycle to reset the roster, with only Cole Mabry and John Dirksen on board. The Irish have been choosy to date with new offers and new targets, but there are a couple additions to this late June update, with Sam Vakalahi and Will Craig now included. Vakalahi could double as an athletic defensive tackle, although the Irish are set at that position. The Irish continue to give realistic chase to Nick Petit-Frere too, following his spring visit. Look for a fall official to follow. After losing Ryan Hayes to Michigan during the summer, Notre Dame needed to think more nationally at this position. Going hard after prospects from California, Utah, Florida and Georgia means the Irish will.

Updated: 6/20/17

http://www.scout.com/college/notre-dame/story/1758596-master-list-defense


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