Master List: Defense

Spring practice should move Notre Dame’s defensive recruiting forward, with some major visits in the books and a few more on the schedule. The Master List gets an update 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
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: Yes Recruiter:
Lea
Top Offers: Clemson, Michigan, Ohio State
UPDATE: Notre Dame continues to pursue Booker as maybe its top defensive line prospect. Booker followed up by visiting this spring. Stanford and Michigan are a couple other top contenders. Academics will play a legitimate role in this decision.
Andrew Chatfield
6-3, 210
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Denson
Top Offers: Louisville, LSU, Oregon
UPDATE: This speed rusher visited Notre Dame on April 13 as part of Midwest our of schools on spring break. While he’d be a great piece to the Irish pass rush, program fit is a question here. Notre Dame will continue to chase.
Ja’mion Franklin
6-2, 310
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Elston
Top Offers: Penn St., Duke, Louisville, Northwestern
NEW: Franklin made the trek to campus in March without an offer. Brian Kelly rewarded him by putting a scholarship on the table, making the Notre Dame an immediate contender. It’s likely the Irish lead at this stage.
Cameron Latu
6-5, 236
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Polian
Top Offers: Alabama, USC, Washington
UPDATE: Ten programs officially remain for Latu: Alabama, BYU, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon, UCLA, USC, Utah and Washington. Getting Latu off the West Coast will clearly be a chore, but that’s a good start to the proceedings anyway.
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
UPDATE: Spring has been busy for Mustipher with recent visits to Ohio State and Penn State. Notre Dame is up next with Mustipher planning for a return to South Bend for the Blue-Gold Game. He’ll get another chance to watch his older brother, Sam, in action.
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.
Ronnie Perkins
6-4, 245
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Elston
Top Offers: Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas
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
UPDATE: Smith has been tentatively scheduled to visit for the Blue-Gold Game. Getting him back on campus is certainly a positive as Smith is considered a heavy Ohio State lean. Chipping away at the Buckeyes necessitates more visits.

Notes: Commitments from Jayson and Justin Ademilola remain major positives. Both have seen their recruiting profiles grow after Alabama and Clemson offered this spring. Rutgers got a spring visit from the Ademilolas but that doesn’t feel like a real threat. Building around the twins continues to be top priority. Thomas Booker and Ja’Mion Franklin have been key spring visitors. P.J. Mustipher and Tyreke Smith should see campus for the spring game. Booker is the top target. He’s a high academic kid with legitimate, high-end talent. Notre Dame needs to hit more on those types of prospects. Arrow up with Franklin, who scored an offer during his visit. Notre Dame is the most high profile offer Franklin has landed to date. He raved about his visit. Seems like a guy Notre Dame can close out sooner than later. Mustipher and Smith represent a couple top targets and important visitors down the stretch of spring recruiting. Ohio State continues to be the heavy favorite for Smith with Penn State hanging around the fringes. Smith has been at the very least listening to Notre Dame and intends to visit. That’s something. Getting a visit in the spring and more down the line is the only hope for pulling Smith away from the Buckeyes. Mustipher’s older brother is already on the Irish roster, but he’s no given to follow in Sam’s footsteps to South Bend. Ohio State and Penn State have made their case with spring visits. Tennessee is in the mix too. Getting Mustipher back on campus at this stage is a major positive. He’ll no doubt be interested to see how the new staff has helped shape the current roster. Andrew Chatfield is worth monitoring. LSU is the presumptive favorite but Chatfield has continued to talk up the Irish since landing an offer. He’s mentioned the possibility of a spring visit. Maybe that doesn’t happen until summer. Either way, it’d be nice to get Chatfield on campus. He’s proven to be one of the best pass rushers in the country during the spring camp circuit.

Linebacker

Matthew Bauer
6-3, 208
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Lea
Committed on Aug. 3, 2016
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
UPDATE: Gant is down to five with Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan State left standing ahead of a May 16 announcement date. Notre Dame will get Gant back on campus for the Blue-Gold Game.
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.
Richard Jibunor
6-3, 206
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Denson
Top Offers: Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee
NEW: Spring has been very good to Jibunor, a standout on the camp circuit whose offer list continues to grow as a result. Alabama is already on board. Notre Dame made its move after Jibunor stood out as a pass rusher at The Opening Atlanta.
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.
Cameron McGrone
6-1, 210
Offer: No Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Elston
Top Offers: Louisville, Nebraska, Wisconsin
NEW: Slightly under the radar even as an in-state, four-star prospect, McGrone made a stop on campus in mid-April. McGrone has a nice group of regional scholarship offers. Could he be worth an Irish offer? Maybe not right now, but it’s worth monitoring.
Ovie Oghoufo
6-3, 220
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Lea
Committed on Aug. 3, 2016
UPDATE: Oghoufo continued to show why Notre Dame made a move on him early by participating at The Opening Chicago and earning an invitation to the Finals later this summer along with being named linebacker MVP. He’ll be in South Bend for the spring game.
Eli’jah Winston
6-3, 230
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Polian
Top Offers: Colorado, Oregon, UCLA
UPDATE: UCLA recent hosted Winston, whose older brother plays at Oregon. Winston keeps mentioning potential summer visits to LSU and Notre Dame. Smart money right now is on Winston following his brother to Oregon. But he’s legitimately considering other options.

Notes: Linebacker is one of the top position groups in this class. Matthew Bauer and Ovie Oghoufo, both four-star prospects, remain firmly committed. Oghoufo is headed to The Opening Finals this summer after a standout performance at the Chicago regional. Mike Elko keeps adding quality targets to the list, even without much room. Dallas Gant is likely next off the board with a May 16 decision date scheduled. Gant plans to visit Notre Dame again for the Blue-Gold Game. He’ll also visit Michigan or Ohio State for a spring game. They’re both on the same day, so Gant has to choose. He’s leaning toward the Michigan visit. Most still think Ohio State leads. Richard Jibunor is suddenly one of the most intriguing prospects on the board. He played defensive end at The Opening regional and stood out, leading to Notre Dame’s offer. Put simply, Jibunor excels at rushing the passer. He’s a long, lean athlete that can do some damage off the edge. Jibunor had been hoping for a Notre Dame offer before it arrived, noting the combination of academics and football is something he wants. Could he leave the South? That’s hard to envision. But get Jibunor on a visit and anything could happen. Cameron McGrone is one of the top linebackers in the Midwest. Notre Dame hasn’t shown a ton of interest but brought McGrone in for a visit during April. There’s no offer on the table yet. Could that change? It’s worth tracking, especially if Gant ends up committing elsewhere next month. Notre Dame becomes an instant contender with McGrone should it choose put a scholarship on the table. Keep an eye on Eli’jah Winston, although Oregon is the early favorite. Winston keeps saying a visit to Notre Dame is a possibility. It will take some work to make that more realistic than theoretical. Of note, Brian Asamoah is off the board. He released a top six of Pittsburgh, Penn State, Michigan, UCLA, West Virginia and Cincinnati.

Cornerback

Sevyn Banks
6-1, 180
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Lyght
Top Offers: Florida, Florida State, Ohio State
NEW: Although the field seems open, Florida is the presumptive leader. Notre Dame has a connection through Lo Wood Sr., who trains Banks away from school. That will at least help the Irish staff get a feel for what’s going on.
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
UPDATE: Firmly committed since February, Gervin has turned in a strong spring. He participated in The Opening Chicago and snagged an invite to the Finals this summer. Gervin is a cornerstone for Todd Lyght at cornerback.
Kyler Gordon
5-11, 176
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Polian
Top Offers: Oregon, Stanford, Washington
UPDATE: Gordon has continued to make the rounds with visits to Pac 12 programs. He’s looking to make farther flung trips during the season. He’s mentioned Nebraska, Notre Dame and TCU as potential official visits.
Houston Griffith
6-0, 180
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Lyght
Top Offers: Florida State, Michigan, Ohio State
UPDATE: Griffith is approaching double-digit visits to Notre Dame, meaning the Irish are a legitimate contender to land the four-star prospect no matter what happens going forward. Right now the plan is for a cut down perhaps sometime this summer. Griffith isn’t revealing much, but expect Notre Dame to make that cut.
Isaac Taylor-Stuart
6-2, 185
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Lyght
Top Offers: Florida, Florida State, Ohio State
NEW: Taylor-Stuart has been listing standouts recently with Notre Dame intermittently included. No doubt the Irish are giving chase to one of the nation’s top cornerbacks. Will he visit? Taylor-Stuart hasn’t mentioned the possibility recently.

Notes: Notre Dame struck unexpected gold in landing Kalon Gervin shortly after Junior Day. After years of trying to recruit talent from Cass Tech in Detroit, Gervin represents a rare commitment. He’s a solid four-star prospect and backed up that ranking at The Opening Chicago with a standout performance, landing a trip to The Opening Finals this summer. As it stands, adding to Gervin starts with potentially hauling in Houston Griffith down the line. Griffith is playing the process out slowly, choosing to take several visits to the contenders before even narrowing the list. Some kind of cut should be coming either in late spring or summer. Griffith has yet to indicate a target number. Either way, Notre Dame is a surefire bet to make the cut. He’s visited several times and has longstanding connections to the program. Notre Dame feels like more of a long shot with others. Bookie Radley-Hiles, a teammate of Griffith at IMG Academy, had listed the Irish as a top contender but committed to Nebraska at its spring game. Kyler Gordon and perhaps Isaac Taylor-Stuart are potential official visitors down the road. Their recruitments are worth tracking into the fall. Both attend Catholic high schools and figure to be solid fits with the program.

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
UPDATE: It’s an open field for Hufanga. He doesn’t plan to cut the list until August. Notre Dame has been in regular contact. There’s still plenty of time for the Irish to gain a real foothold.
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: Yes Recruiter:
Lea
Top Offers: Michigan, Ohio State, Stanford
UPDATE: Notre Dame got Simon on campus on April 13 and loves the St. Peter’s Prep standout at Rover more than safety. All indications from the player’s camp are that Simon’s saw an ideal fit in South Bend. His mother is a Michigan graduate.
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. 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 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. This position needs time to play out.

Updated: 4/15/17

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


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