Matt Cashore / IrishIllustrated.com

Master List: Offense

With the Blue-Gold Game in the books and the spring evaluation period underway, Irish Illustrated updates the Master List on offense. Receiver and offensive line remain priorities.

QUARTERBACK

Phil Jurkovec
6-5, 201 

Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Long
Committed on May 16, 2016
Jurkovec scored 14 points in a state title game loss in late March, worked out at The Opening Regional in Cleveland in early April and continues to be Notre Dame’s highest-rated commitment on Scout.com.

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. 49 prospect overall and fifth quarterback. He’s behind five-star prospects Trevor Lawrence and Matt Corral and four-stars Justin Fields and Tanner McKee. Jurkovec is without question one of the top quarterbacks nationally. And he might be the best athlete among them. Jurkovec led Pine-Richland basketball to a 32-3 record this season, falling in the state title game. Jurkovec has also been one of Notre Dame’s most active recruiters. Basically, 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
UPDATE: It’s not clear where Dixon is trending and it might take some movement among other top backs before a favorite emerges. Regardless, the Irish offered and continue to track this SEC country athlete.
Keaontay Ingram
6-0, 190
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Denson
Top Offers: Texas, USC, Florida St., LSU, Texas A&M
UPDATE: Notre Dame is probably a long shot for a couple reasons. For starters, Ingram hasn’t trekked much outside his home state. On top of that, Texas, Texas A&M and TCU all want him. They’ve all hosted him too.
Jahmir Smith
6-0, 195
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Denson
Top Offers: Cal, Duke, Georgia Tech, Northwestern, Minnesota
UPDATE: The good news is Notre Dame remains Smith’s best offer. The bad is that the Irish haven’t got him to campus yet. Smith is definitely worth tracking considering his interest in Northwestern and Vanderbilt. There’s an academic fit here.
Markese Stepp
6-0, 220
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Elston
Committed on June 19, 2016

UPDATE: Stepp was back in South Bend for the Blue-Gold Game to do some recruiting. He plans to get back on the field for The Opening Regional in New Jersey on April 30 for his first action since an August hamstring pull last season.

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 Jahmir Smith, Keaontay Ingram or Lyn-J Dixon during the spring evaluation period, 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. Jashaun Corbin is off the board coming out of spring ball following his commitment to Tennessee. 

RECEIVER

Kevin Austin
6-3, 190
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Denson
Top Offers: Florida, Miami, Duke, Ohio State, Michigan
UPDATE: Notre Dame got Austin up for the Blue-Gold Game as expected. Also as expected, the Irish feel like they’re in good shape with the Florida standout. The key here is simply keeping up the pressure.
Kamryn Babb
6-1, 190
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Alexander Top Offers:Auburn, Nebraska, Ohio State

UPDATE: Receivers coach Del Alexander made Babb one of his first visits of the spring evaluation period, although the Irish have some work to do to climb back into this race. He’s worth the effort.

Tommy Bush
6-5, 187
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Alexander
Top Offers: Texas A&M, TCU, Baylor, Alabama, Florida St.
NEW: 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
NEW: Notre Dame got Cota to the Blue-Gold Game and the Oregon athlete left saying all the right things to the other prospects in town. His father played at Oregon and in the NFL for Jim Mora, meaning there are some Pac-12 connections.
Jaquayln Crawford
5-10, 163
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Polian
Top Offers: Oklahoma, TCU, Texas
UPDATE: Crawford rates among Notre Dame’s top receiver targets even if some other programs see a cornerback. The in-state schools (Texas and TCU) have an edge for now. The Irish need to make a spring evaluation period move.
Micah Jones
6-5, 195
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Alexander Committed on Feb. 17, 2017

UPDATE: 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
UPDATE: 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.
Braden Lenzy
6-1, 160
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Alexander
Committed on Feb. 22, 2017

UPDATE: Another early enrollee at wide out, Lenzy was back in South Bend for the Blue-Gold Game. Like Micah Jones, Notre Dame can feel confident moving forward, even if Lenzy isn’t exactly in the backyard of the Irish.

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.
Amon-Ra St. Brown
6-1, 190
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter: Alexander   Top Offers: Alabama, Ohio State, Stanford

Another St. Brown in the pipeline? You bet. And he’s likely the most talented of the three brothers. St. Brown last visited for Irish Invasion last summer. Expect Notre Dame to be a longtime player, but this will be a tough pull.

Notes: Notre Dame wants two more receivers in this class to rebalance a roster that could be short at the position after this season. Consider that the Irish will open training camp with 10 scholarship receivers, assuming Kevin Stepherson remains in play. After the season there’s a chance Equanimeous St. Brown jumps to the NFL Draft. There’s no telling how graduate transfer Freddy Canteen will perform or how Michael Young or Jafar Armstrong will assimilate into the program until they get here. Basically, it’s a lot of unknowns. Micah Jones and Braden Lenzy are already on board and seem solid, but the Irish need more speed in this class considering the current roster and the fact Jones is more of a red zone target. Basically, Notre Dame wants Lenzy and a carbon copy of him, plus an all-around receiver type. Kevin Austin fits the all-around spot and was in South Bend for the Blue-Gold Game. The Irish rate him near the top of their board. If Notre Dame can get Austin, they’d probably take any one of the remaining targets. There’s no rush to add commitments, but it will be a busy spring evaluation period for Del Alexander at a need position. The board could expand, but don’t look for the Irish to rush new offers.

TIGHT END

Jeremy Ruckert
6-5, 220
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Long
Top Offers: Alabama, Ohio State, Stanford
Notre Dame got Ruckert on campus during spring but it doesn’t appear the Irish got traction coming out of that look. Ohio State has built a strong rapport with the East Coast athlete who’s more flex than in-line at tight end.

George Takacs
6-7, 236

Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Denson
Top Offers: Georgia, Florida, Wisconsin, LSU
There’s a lot to like about Notre Dame’s position considering Tackacs grew up in Indiana, still has family in the state and has already seen the Irish. Tackacs has been good enough on the camp circuit to earn an invite to The Opening Finals.

Notes: It’s easy to look at tight end as a luxury position this cycle considering what’s on the roster. But, Durham Smythe is down to his final year, Nic Weishar could do a graduate transfer, Tyler Luatua nearly left once and Alizé Mack is far from a sure thing for four years. Not that Brock Wright and Cole Kmet wouldn’t offer Notre Dame a top combo moving forward, but the Irish could be down to three tight ends after this season without any bizarre attrition. So maybe that makes this position more of a priority as Chip Long advertises his offense as “tight end heaven.” By far, the best bet is George Takacs of Naples, Fla., with his Indiana roots and Notre Dame visit already banked. While it’s not clear when he’ll make a decision, the Irish should like their position. Moving on some top 2019 prospects might be the best use of Long’s recruiting energy. The Irish offensive coordinator definitely has been looking that way.

OFFENSIVE LINE

John Dirksen
6-5, 275
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Hiestand
Committed on March 25

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.

Warren Ericson
6-4, 317
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Hiestand
Top Offers: Kentucky, Michigan State, Northwestern

Notre Dame is one of the latest offers to Ericson, a top 20 guard nationally. Michigan has been listed as a standout recently. Florida, Miami, Auburn and South Carolina are some of the others involved.

Ryan Hayes
6-7, 250
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Hiestand
Top Offers: Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern

UPDATE: The buzz is about Michigan with Notre Dame finishing second despite a better rapport with the prospect when this recruitment started. Hayes could be an ideal tackle project for Harry Hiestand.

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

This ranked among the bigger shock visitors during spring ball when Petit-Frere travelled from Florida to South Bend. Now the Irish need to keep it up and land an official visit. Notre Dame loves this tackle’s athleticism.

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

There aren’t many guards in any given cycle that attain five-star status. Salyer is a unique prospect. Physical and athletic, Salyer is one of the best offensive linemen in the Class of 2018. He’s already visited Notre Dame and raves about Harry Hiestand.

Penei Sewell
6-5, 330
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Hiestand
Top Offers: Michigan, Oklahoma, USC

Getting Sewell out of the West will be no simple feat. But he’s worth the effort as one of the top offensive linemen there. USC recently offered and, of course, the in-state programs plus UCLA are heavily involved.

Notes: Notre Dame probably needs to expand its offensive line board but the Irish aren’t in any hurry to do it coming out of the Blue-Gold Game and heading into the spring evaluation period. Consider that the Irish hosted four-star tackle Jalen Mayfield out of Grand Rapids, Mich., for the spring game but didn’t go hard after him while he was on campus. Mayfield is talented enough to hold a Michigan offer and the Wolverines seem like the pick now. Michigan might win out for Ryan Hayes too as his camp has indicated the four-star is looking more toward Ann Arbor than South Bend. So where does Notre Dame turn next? That’s what the spring evaluation period has to be about for the Irish.

Updated: 4/26/17

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


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