Josh Harvey, Scout.com

Master List: Defense

Offers continue to roll out along the defensive line, while one longtime target has a decision date set. Where do the Irish fit in? An updated Master List looks at some of the new targets on defense.

Defensive Line

Jayson Ademilola
6-3, 268
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Elston
Committed on June 26, 2016
Notre Dame got on the Ademilola twins early and it paid dividends with commitments last summer. Jayson is the more highly rated prospect and turned in a productive junior season at St. Peter’s Prep with 86 tackles, 22.5 TFLs and 10.5 sacks.
Justin Ademilola
6-2, 245
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Elston
Committed on June 26, 2016
Two defensive line prospects from the same family? Notre Dame will certainly take it. Justin had a similar junior season to his brother with 85 tackles, 10.5 sacks and 20 quarterback hurries.
Calvin Avery
6-2, 310
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Elston
Top Offers: Oklahoma, TCU Texas
NEW: Quick and powerful, Avery is an intriguing interior option. He plays at Bishop Dunne in Dallas, which produced Irish cornerback Nick Watkins. Dunne coach Michael Johnson thinks there could be a potential fit.
Thomas Booker
6-4, 260
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Lea
Top Offers: Clemson, Michigan, Ohio State
Booker has emerged as one of Notre Dame’s top targets on the defensive line. Booker has a rare combination of strong academics and elite football skills. Offers from Ohio State and Clemson are a testament to the latter.
Daniel Carson
6-5, 260
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Elston
Top Offers: Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma
Carson turned into a national prospect in February. Arizona State, Notre Dame, Louisville and Ohio State are some of the recent scholarship offers. Carson had 13 sacks as a junior.
Andrew Chatfield
6-3, 210
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Denson
Top Offers: Louisville, LSU, Oregon
NEW: Chatfield’s stock has risen this winter after an impressive showing at The Opening Regional, which earned him an invite to the finals at Nike. Chatfield hails from powerhouse American Heritage in Plantation, Fla., a program the Irish have mined in the past.
Aeneas Hawkins
6-3, 260
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Elston
Top Offers: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State
UPDATE: Hawkins has a May 10 decision date scheduled with Ohio State considered the favorite at this stage. Notre Dame has turned its attention elsewhere for help along the interior defensive line.
Cameron Latu
6-5, 236
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Polian
Top Offers: Alabama, USC, Washington
NEW: Latu is wide open after de-committing from BYU. He recently listed his Notre Dame offer as a “game changer.” Sure, it’s early but it’s always an encouraging sign when the Irish catch a prospect’s attention straight away.
Abdul-Malik McClain
6-3, 225
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Polian
Top Offers: UCLA, Virginia, Washington
McClain’s profile has been growing and the Irish got in on the ground floor. UCLA and Washington add some Pac-12 punch to the offer list. McClain plays at Santa Margarita Catholic, a top program in California.
P.J. Mustipher
6-5, 282
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Elston
Top Offers: Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State
Sound familiar? He should. Mustipher’s older brother, Sam, is the starting center at Notre Dame rig. That makes the Irish one of his favorites. Alabama, Ohio State and Penn State are some of the other contenders.
Joseph Ossai
6-4, 217
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Elston
Top Offers: Alabama, Texas, Texas A&M
Ossai plays at a large Texas program and that exposure has him emerging as spring approaches. Notre Dame and Alabama offered on the same day. Texas A&M is considered the favorite. But national offers have Ossai evaluating his options.
Micah Parsons
6-3, 236
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Elston
Top Offers: Alabama, Ohio State, Penn State
Parsons has been committed to Penn State for over a year yet continues to explore other options. Ohio State and Georgia hosted Parsons for recent junior days. Notre Dame has been in contact for months and is hopeful a visit will happen.
Ronnie Perkins
6-4, 245
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Elston
Top Offers: Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas
NEW: Perkins is a versatile prospect with a future at multiple defensive line positions. Notre Dame is one of the latest programs to join a national offer list. Heavy hitters in the Midlands — Oklahoma, Texas and Missouri — are among the top choices.
Tyreke Smith
6-4, 255
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Elston
Top Offers: Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State
Pulling pass rushers out of Ohio that the Buckeyes want is tough. But Smith has been listening to the Irish throughout the process. Getting another visit this spring has to be a top priority.

Notes: Is there any question Notre Dame wants to upgrade here? Offers continue to come fast and furious to defensive ends and even defensive tackles, a spot where the Irish have plenty of bodies. Brian Kelly and staff are already in a solid position with early commitments from Jayson and Justin Ademilola. But that’s just a base from which to build. Calvin Avery, Andrew Chatfield, Cameron Latu and Ronnie Perkins are all recent additions to the board. And they’re an interesting cross section for how the Irish are approaching the position group this cycle. Chatfield and Latu are pass rushing defensive ends. Both impressed at The Opening regionals and punched tickets to The Opening Finals later this summer. That’s always a good gauge of talent, regardless of rating. Avery and Perkins are likely destined for the interior in college but their skill set is important: They’re both very, very disruptive players. They can get up the field, compress the pocket and make quarterbacks uncomfortable. That dynamism is key. P.J. Mustipher is a long standing interior target cut from a similar cloth. Notre Dame likes its board of interior prospects sufficiently at this stage to move on from Aeneas Hawkins. Looking for the potentially elite pass rushers? Micah Parsons, Joseph Ossai, Thomas Booker and Tyreke Smith are among the options. Parsons is committed to Penn State and will be a tough pull, but he’s been listening. Smith, while considered an Ohio State lean, is also taking a long look at Notre Dame. Booker has been more active engaging with current commitments on social media and has quietly emerged as one of the top targets regardless of position. Looking for a dark horse? Consider Ossai, who landed Notre Dame and Alabama offers on the same day. Texas A&M is considered the favorite but Ossai is taking stock of national options. He’s Catholic too, which never hurts.

Linebacker

Matthew Bauer
6-3, 208
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Lea
Committed on Aug. 3, 2016
Update: Baseball is another sport at which Bauer excels but he’s ready to focus on the gridiron for Notre Dame. New coordinator Mike Elko and linebackers coach Clark Lea haven’t tabbed a position for Bauer just yet.
Dallas Gant
6-3, 220
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Elston
Top Offers: Michigan, State, Ohio State, Penn State
Recent visits to Notre Dame and Ohio State shed some light on the contenders for Gant, one of the top linebackers in the Midwest. Penn State is also in the mix. Gant spent Junior Day learning more about the new system and how it utilizes players with his skill set.
Dax Hollifield
6-1, 220
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Lea
Top Offers: Alabama, LSU, Stanford
Hollifield recently released a top nine with Notre Dame, Alabama, Florida State, LSU, North Carolina, South Carolina, Stanford, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest left standing. Elko and Lea see a future “Mike” linebacker.
Brandon Kaho
6-3, 220
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Polian
Top Offers: BYU, Stanford, Washington
BYU has had a commitment from Kaho since last summer. But the major scholarship offers keep arriving and Kaho is considering other programs. Washington, Stanford and UCLA are a few possibilities. The door is open.
Ovie Oghoufo
6-3, 220
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Lea
Committed on Aug. 3, 2016
Oghoufo beat Bauer to the commitment punch by a few weeks last summer. He’s since visited on multiple occasions, including for The Echoes and Junior Day. Lea and Elko have talked with Oghoufo about either the “Buck” or rover positions, pending development.
Channing Tindall
6-2, 206
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Lea
Top Offers: Georgia, LSU, South Carolina
NEW: Mike Elko continues to go back into the Carolinas for talent, an area familiar from his Wake Forest days. Tindall has several SEC options, including in-state South Carolina. Clemson hasn’t made a move yet.
Alan Tisdale
6-3, 205
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Lea
Top Offers: Alabama, Clemson, Florida State
Previous connections to Elko and Lea during their stint at Wake Forest have helped. Tisdale is targeting a spring visit to reconnect with the coaching staff and see how their system fits his ability.
Eli’jah Winston
6-3, 230
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Polian
Top Offers: Colorado, Oregon, UCLA
NEW: Winston is one of the top linebackers out West. He’s been mostly a Pac 12 target until landing a Notre Dame offer. His older brother, Lamar, is a linebacker at Oregon. Keep an eye on the Ducks.

Notes: Defensive coordinator Mike Elko and linebackers coach Clark Lea inherited a pair of four-star commitments in Matthew Bauer and Ovie Oghoufo. Bauer decided to forego a promising baseball career to focus on football, then pledged to Notre Dame last August. Oghoufo committed a few weeks earlier. They both offer position flexibility. Oghoufo is a great example. He plays outside linebacker and tight end at the high school level. Lea has talked to the 6-foot-3, 220-pound prospect about either the Buck or Rover positions depending on his development. Right now taking one more linebacker seems like the target, depending on where exactly the coaching staff projects them. Dallas Gant is undeniably the top target based on familiarity with Notre Dame and ability. Gant returned for Junior Day sees a potential fit. But he’s continued to talk about stringing the process out at least into the season. Alan Tisdale is another worth watching as spring practice approaches. Tisdale wants to visit during that period for a closer look at the system and program as a whole. He’s spoken many positives on Elko and Lea dating back to their time at Wake Forest when Tisdale first hit the radar. Channing Tindall and Eli’jah Winston are new additions to the list. Both are likely to stay in their regions at this stage, but it’s worth a shot to convince them to play elsewhere. Notre Dame doesn’t need a vast array of options at linebacker. Compiling a talented but small group of targets is the way to go.

Cornerback

Tre Douglas
6-2, 183
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Elko
Top Offers: Alabama, Georgia, Stanford
Connections abound with Douglas, who hails from the same prep program that produced former Notre Dame defensive end Isaac Rochell. Douglas has turned into one of the most highly recruited defensive backs on the South with a national offer list.
Kalon Gervin
5-11, 180
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Lyght
Committed on Feb. 13, 2017
Looking for the biggest surprise commitment at this stage? Gervin might be it. Notre Dame has notoriously struggled to pull talent out of Cass Tech over the years. Gervin reversed that trend less than a week after landing his offer.
Kyler Gordon
5-11, 176
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Polian
Top Offers: Oregon, Stanford, Washington
Remember the last prospect Notre Dame pursued out of Everett, Wash? That’d be KeiVarae Russell. Gordon is one of the top cornerbacks out West. Washington and Stanford are viewed as the primary contenders.
Houston Griffith
6-0, 180
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Lyght
Top Offers: Florida State, Michigan, Ohio State
Griffith is now at IMG Academy but is essentially a local target as he grew up in Chicago. Notre Dame offered last spring and has been a top contender ever since. Griffith has visited many times, including in February during a trip back to the Midwest.
Bookie Radley-Hiles
5-9, 183
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Lyght
Top Offers: Alabama, Ohio State, USC
Another IMG Academy product, Radley-Hiles is originally from Southern California. Most players at IMG end up moving back toward their home areas. Radley-Hiles, however, seems a little more wide open. At least for now.
D’Shawn Jamison
5-10, 173
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Lyght
Top Offers: Michigan, TCU, Texas
NEW: Jamison has cemented his status as one of the nation’s most talented cornerbacks with camp performances this spring. Notre Dame is in the mix, but most think Jamison doesn’t get out of Texas.
Myles Sims
6-2, 173
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Elko
Top Offers: Alabama, Clemson, Georgia
Combine length with top end athleticism and those are the hallmarks of an elite cornerback prospect. Sims fits the bill, which explains why his offer list has grown so long. As ever, it’ll be a battle to pull a Georgia kid out of the South.
Christian Tutt
5-11, 179
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Elko
Top Offers: Alabama, Clemson, Georgia
Most view Georgia as the team to beat for Tutt, likely with good reason, but he’s at least given out-of-region programs a look. Notre Dame, Penn State and Ohio State all received visits during the season.

Notes: Notre Dame got an off-profile commitment when Kalon Gervin announced his pledge shortly after visiting for Junior Day. Detroit Cass Tech has traditionally been a desert for the Irish from a recruiting perspective. Gervin broke that trend by giving Todd Lyght his first pledge at the position in the Class of 2018. More are needed after no cornerbacks signed in the previous cycle. Houston Griffith is likely the top target based on familiarity alone. Griffith, a Chicago native now at IMG Academy, is approaching double-digit visits to campus. He’s familiar with the program, coaches, current players and verbal commitments. It’s all there. Griffith will take more visits and narrow down the list this spring or summer. Notre Dame will be a contender no matter what happens from here on out. Kyler Gordon might be the next most intriguing possibility. Gordon has drawn comparisons to the last Pacific Northwest cornerback to come through Notre Dame: KeiVarae Russell. Don’t be surprised if the cornerback board continues to expand. Adding at this position is critical. It’d be nice to cultivate more options in case the top targets start trending elsewhere.

Safety

Derrik Allen
6-2, 206
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Elko
Committed on Feb. 13, 2017
OK, maybe Allen makes a run at Gervin for biggest surprise commitment. Allen hadn’t visited in months before going public with his pledge, adding even more momentum to a hot February stretch of recruiting.
Trey Dean
6-2, 180
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Elko
Top Offers: Alabama, Florida, Georgia
Consensus has Georgia as the favorite. Not a surprise, certainly. But the Irish have been at least preliminarily in the mix as man other top programs have extended scholarship offers.
Tre’Shaun Harrison
6-2, 190
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Polian
Top Offers: Michigan, UCLA, Washington
Sneakily, Washington has started to put up a fence around prospects in the Seattle area. Harrison is from Seattle proper, meaning the Huskies will be tough to beat. He’s a physical, fast athlete that could end up on either side of the ball.
Talanoa Hufanga
6-1, 194
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Polian
Top Offers: Oregon, USC, Washington
Hufanga has said it’s a goal to visit Notre Dame after adding an offer this winter. Adding a commitment from Braden Lenzy might help. One Oregon prospect can inform the other about why the Irish should be a legitimate possibility.
Julius Irvin
6-2, 175
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Polian
Top Offers: UCLA, USC, Washington
Irvin spoke highly of Notre Dame after the offer and has a connection: He attends the same school that produced Irish receiver Equanimeous St. Brown. Irvin said he’s “very close” with the family, which should be a positive.
Shayne Simon
6-1, 193
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Lea
Top Offers: Michigan, Ohio State, Stanford
Maybe Notre Dame can go 3-for-3 at St. Peters Prep in the Class of 2018. Simon teams at Prep with the Ademilola twins. Right now the field seems wide open ahead of spring practice.
Devon Williams
6-4, 199
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Polian
Top Offers: Florida State, UCLA, USC
Safety? Rover? Who cares? Williams shows major explosiveness on film and the offers are starting to catch up. Alabama, Florida State and USC are all on board. Notre Dame is now too.

Notes: Adding Derrik Allen gave Notre Dame a commitment at every level of the defense. Allen, a U.S. Army All-American visited during the season and hadn’t returned before offering a verbal pledge. Alabama, Georgia and Clemson had all offered. That’s pretty good company. Talk about starting the position with a bang. Where does Notre Dame turn next? That’s a good question, but there are plenty of viable options. Julius Irvin is predisposed to the program. Same goes for Shayne Simon, perhaps. But a look around reveals Notre Dame will likely need more time before another commitment materializes. Few of the current targets have visited even once, let alone multiple times to get comfortable with the program. Many got their offers in January and February. Keep in mind another thing: There could be position flexibility between cornerback and safety with someone like Houston Griffith, who mentioned in recent interview the staff envisioned him at either spot. Adding talent to the back end of the defense continues to be a priority. It’ll just have to play out for a little while.

Updated: 3/15/17

http://www.scout.com/college/notre-dame/story/1757084-master-list-offense


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