Master List: Defense

The summer camp season hasn’t netted Notre Dame much in the way of commitments, but the summer months have offered at least a little clarity on this side of the ball.

Defensive Line

Jayson Ademilola
6-3, 268
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Elston
Committed on June 26, 2016
UPDATE: No Irish commitment got a bigger spring rankings bump than Jayson Ademilola, now rated No. 122 overall on Scout and ticketed for The Opening Finals. Only Derrik Allen is higher among the defensive commits. The defensive tackle was good at Irish Invasion.
Justin Ademilola
6-2, 245
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Elston
Committed on June 26, 2016
UPDATE: Both twins returned for Irish Invasion and worked out. Justin will even head to The Opening Finals to support his brother and mix with some of the other commits at Nike. Based on his Irish Invasion performance, Justin appears to be a future strong-side end.
Thomas Booker
6-4, 260
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Lea
Top Offers: Stanford, Duke, Northwestern, Michigan
UPDATE: Notre Dame was on the verge of wrapping up Booker’s commitment in late June, but an offer from Stanford muddied the waters. Then a death in the family postponed a June 24 visit, one the Irish hoped could be a commitment event. Now it’s a fight again.
Ja’mion Franklin
6-2, 310
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Elston
Committed on June 6, 2017
UPDATE: Franklin had been a silent commitment for weeks before his announcement. He’s a body type the Irish didn’t sign last year as a potential true nose. Should he get a rankings boost? Check back after The Opening Finals. It’s a good place for three-star prospects to prove it.
Abdul-Malik McClain
6-3, 225
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Polian
Top Offers: UCLA, Virginia, Washington
UCLA leads and already has a rapport built with McClain, but the West Coast prospect continues to list Notre Dame among the schools he wants to check out. Getting an official visit is probably the next step.
P.J. Mustipher
6-5, 282
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Elston
Top Offers: Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State
UPDATE: Penn State looks like the pick for Mustipher, whose value to Notre Dame could be his versatility split between the defensive and offensive line. Despite the family connection with brother Sam, don’t look for that to carry the day.
Jayson Oweh
6-5, 236
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Elko
Top Offers: Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Harvard
UPDATE: In barely two months this spring Oweh went from an intriguing name to a national prospect. Now he might be the most important prospect on the Irish board at any position. He was outstanding at Irish Invasion. Ohio State is probably the biggest competition.
Tyreke Smith
6-4, 255
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Elston
Top Offers: Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State
UPDATE: At this point a commitment anywhere but Ohio State would be a shock. Despite Smith insisting he remains interested in Notre Dame, there just isn’t a log of visits to support that. It’s all Buckeyes here. Maybe it’s always been that way. Practically speaking, Smith doesn’t need to be on this board.

Notes: Notre Dame had worked itself into a strong spot along the defensive line in early June but will face a fight to land the ideal class. So much depends on the decisions of Jayson Oweh and Thomas Booker, a couple East Coast prospects with top academic profiles to go with ideal wing spans, top 40 times and outstanding vertical jumps. Basically, they’re everything Notre Dame wants in defensive linemen in terms of personality and production. Can the Irish get both? If Notre Dame was coming off a major bowl game or a double-digit win season, odds would be good there. Coming off a 4-8 disaster is harder to reconcile for elite talent. Stanford’s offer to Booker is a major stress point for Notre Dame, which appeared close to landing The Gilman School standout. Booker took summer school in Palo Alto earlier in high school, so there’s some familiarity. Stanford also just produced a Top 5 pick along the defensive line. Don’t give up on Booker to Notre Dame just yet, but it’s going to take a lot more work than it appeared just a month back. Oweh is a harder read only because everything is so new to him. Notre Dame and Ohio State both love his game, but the Irish should win out if there’s a serious academic decision to be made. And Oweh is a top-flight student with parents who graduated from Harvard. Land both these guys to go with the Ademilola twins and Ja’mion Franklin, and Notre Dame has its best defensive line haul in seven years.

Linebacker

Matthew Bauer
6-3, 220
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Lea
Committed on Aug. 3, 2016
UPDATE: Bauer returned for Irish Invasion and appears to be growing into his growing frame, if that makes sense. He’s up about 20 pounds from last year and is still getting used to the bulk. That’s hurt Bauer’s speed, but he still looks the part. He’s got plus height for the Mike spot.
Bo Calvert
6-4, 210
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Polian
Top Offers: USC
Notre Dame offered the USC commitment during the spring and offered his younger brother too, a ’19 safety target. That has Calvert thinking, with a visit likely. At a minimum, it’s easy to see him at the USC game here in October.
Jack Lamb
6-4, 220
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Elston
Top Offers: Oregon, Washington, Oklahoma, Duke, Arizona St.
UPDATE: Lamb will be on campus during the June 24 weekend as the Irish evaluate his long-term fit. Could he grow into a defensive end? The California athlete may have the range for it. Lamb will be at The Opening Finals later this summer too. There’s a lot to like here. The question may be about numbers.
Cam McGrone
6-1, 210
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Elston
Top Offers: Louisville, Nebraska, Wisconsin
UPDATE: McGrone was good at Irish Invasion and looked like the kind of linebacker who should be headed to The Opening Finals after missing out last season due to an ACL tear. Assuming the Irish want a third traditional linebacker, McGrone should be it considering he’s in-state and an academic fit.
Ovie Oghoufo
6-3, 220
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Lea
Committed on Aug. 3, 2016
UPDATE: After starring at Notre Dame’s camp last summer, Oghoufo has been steady in his Irish commitment despite watching friend Kalon Gervin drop out of the class. Oghoufo will get another shot to prove himself at The Opening Finals as not everyone has him as a four-star talent.
Shayne Simon
6-3, 210
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Lea
Top Offers: Ohio State, UCLA, Michigan
UPDATE: Notre Dame’s No. 1 rover target, Simon got back for Irish Invasion and starred. Sources indicate the Irish lead, although it’s not clear who’s No. 2. While Simon won’t admit to any leaders, having a couple St. Peter’s Prep teammates in the commit column helps. In fact, it should wrap up this one.

Notes: This position didn’t add a commitment during the Irish Invasion weekend or the summer camp schedule, but it got some clarity. Shayne Simon and Cam McGrone both worked out at Invasion. Jack Lamb visits in late June. Even commitment Matt Bauer got back to campus. Basically, the Irish are in excellent shape, looking for a rover and a potential inside linebacker too. There’s no question who’s No. 1 at the rover, where Shayne Simon is built like a prospect that linebackers coach Clark Lea would grow in a lab. The Irish believe they’re in front for good reason considering he attends the same St. Peter’s Prep program that’s developed twins Jayson and Justin Ademilola. Ohio State might be a threat, but do the Buckeyes have room? Ohio State already has a couple commitments with similar builds in what might be a historically good haul. Basically, Notre Dame needs to land Simon. He’s too good a fit to let get away. McGrone is less critical only because he’s not a rover and the Irish have Ovie Oghoufo committed at the Buck (i.e. Will linebacker) while Matt Bauer will play the Mike. Do the Irish really need two Buck linebackers in a class tight on numbers? The coaching staff appears to be operating that way heading toward the dead of summer.

Cornerback

Tariq Bracy
5-11, 170
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Polian
Top Offers: Cal, Utah, Washington State, Boise State
Bracy could be a slot receiver or return specialist, but the Irish like him at cornerback. There’s no summer visit on the books just yet, likely meaning an in-season official visit would be required for the California product.
Donte Burton
5-11, 172
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Lyght
Top Offers: Nebraska, UNC, Oregon, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech
UPDATE: Burton scratched on Irish Invasion but is on record that Notre Dame leads. The Irish need a cornerback to say yes. Burton is a good bet, even coming from Georgia.
Kyler Gordon
5-11, 176
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Polian
Top Offers: Oregon, Stanford, Washington
Gordon told Irish Illustrated that Notre Dame rates among the programs coming after him hardest and an official visit is all but assured. It’s a good place for Notre Dame to be entering summer for the Seattle area athlete.
D.J. Johnson
5-11, 170
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Elston
Top Offers: Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana
UPDATE: It would be a shock if Johnson wasn’t part of Notre Dame’s next class considering his offer list and Irish needs. While Johnson said he won’t make a decision until fall, he has all the markings of a silent commitment. He’s already looking at an official visit for the Georgia weekend.
D’Angelo McKenzie
6-0, 175
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Polian
Top Offers: UCLA, Utah, Arizona, Arizona State
Notre Dame would love to get McKenzie on campus to work him out, but it doesn’t look like that will happen this summer. However, the San Jose, Calif., product said it’s Notre Dame and UCLA on top for now.
Chris Mitchell
6-0, 190
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Polian
Top Offers: Washington State, Colorado State, UConn
NEW: Notre Dame’s offer shocked Mitchell, whose recruiting profile had been mid-major to date. Still, the Irish saw him work out twice during the spring evaluation period and liked what they saw. Maybe Notre Dame found something that everybody else has missed. Look for a fall official visit.
Telly Plummer
6-0, 185
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Lyght
Top Offers: Penn State, Virginia Tech, Ole Miss, Maryland
A spring evaluation period offer, Plummer cut to a Top 10 in mid-May with the Irish included. Until Plummer gets to campus it’s hard to include Notre Dame as more than a school on the list.
Nasir Peoples
6-0, 185
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Lyght
Top Offers: Virginia Tech
Peoples visited for the Blue-Gold Game and seemed to scratch the Irish off his list afterward, re-affirming his Virginia Tech commitment. Yet, communication is back on. The Irish have flirted with Hokies corner commits before.

Notes: Is it too early to worry about cornerback recruiting? Maybe. But not by a lot. Irish Invasion should have been a pivot for this position with plenty of talent working out. Instead, Notre Dame exited its big summer camp without a commitment. Yes, D.J. Johnson might be a silent commitment, but the Indianapolis product can only be part of the cornerback solution. Notre Dame needs a couple Kalon Gervin type prospects in this class, basically duplicating the three-man haul of Julian Love, Donte Vaughn and Troy Pride from a couple years ago. Right now it’s hard to see how Notre Dame pulls that off without a public commitment and the camp season all but complete. There is hope that Donte Burton will end up at Notre Dame after he said the Irish are his best offer. He’d hoped to attend Irish Invasion but couldn’t make the trip. Beyond Johnson and Burton, it’s difficult to know where Notre Dame can turn next. The Master Lister dropped a bunch of cornerbacks without offers this week but added a couple new California targets that picked up scholarships in June. There’s a good chance Notre Dame will enter the season with just one cornerback commitment while needing three total. It’s a precarious position, even acknowledging there’s still seven months until National Signing Day.

Safety

Derrik Allen
6-2, 206
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Elko
Committed on Feb. 13, 2017
Allen was outstanding at The Opening Regional in Atlanta, earning an invite to The Opening Finals in the process. The Irish haven’t landed a safety of Allen’s profile since Max Redfield, at least in terms of raw talent.
Chigozie Anusiem
6-2, 175
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Polian
Top Offers: Arizona, Cal, Washington State
NEW: Notre Dame offered after the spring evaluation period, with Anusiem’s length a major selling point in this recruitment. Like most West Coast talent, look for an official visit to go down during the USC weekend. Notre Dame likes what it sees here and obviously needs cornerbacks.
Houston Griffith
6-0, 180
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Lyght
Top Offers: Florida State, Michigan, Ohio State
UPDATE: Maybe it’s time to just let Griffith make a decision. Because at this point he seems to be predicted to land wherever he visits last. Notre Dame, Ohio State and Florida State have all been trendy picks in the past couple months.
Talanoa Hufanga
6-1, 194
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Polian
Top Offers: Oregon, USC, Washington
Hufanga cut to a Top 10 in early June, with Notre Dame making the cut with USC, Michigan, Alabama, Washington, Oregon and a host of others. Quietly, the Irish think they have serious shot with the Oregon athlete.
Julius Irvin
6-2, 175
Offer: Yes Visit: No Recruiter:
Polian
Top Offers: UCLA, USC, Washington
UPDATE: It’s a good sign when prospects take note of recruiting edits on social media. Irvin did with Notre Dame in mid-June with a Bednarik Award graphic. While Pac-12 options likely lead for now, the Irish should be able to get Irvin to campus this fall on an official visit.
Paul Moala
6-1, 190
Offer: Yes Visit: Yes Recruiter:
Elston
Top Offers: Iowa, BYU, Hawaii
NEW: The surprise performance and offer from Irish Invasion, Moala now looks like a near lock to be part of Notre Dame’s class. Not only is he a local prospect from Penn High School, he’s also connected to Manti Te’o and Robby Toma through family. It’s hard to see Moala elsewhere.

Notes: Even without a traditional summer commitment, Notre Dame made progress at safety this off-season by taking Navy transfer Alohi Gilman. There’s a chance he gets eligible for this fall, but for now consider the Hawaii product to be part of this recruiting class alongside Derrik Allen. That changes the math a little bit, although Notre Dame still needs another athlete at the back end of the defense. Paul Moala will probably be that player after picking up an offer at Irish Invasion. The local product doesn’t have ideal size, but he looked like a solid prospect at summer camp, even posting a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash. We moved Houston Griffith here from cornerback with Notre Dame liking him at either position. If the Irish land him they’ll get him on the field wherever he can play quickest, although long-term safety feels like the superior fit. It looks like Notre Dame, Florida State or Ohio State, with chatter favoring each depending on the week.

Updated: 6/22/17

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


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