Next Thursday twin brothers Jayson and Justin Ademilola will board a plane for South Bend together, making the trip to Notre Dame without the rest of their family. It will be a business trip for the pair of Irish commitments. It will also be a fact-finding mission. Look for it to be a rapport-building weekend too.
Basically, the Ademilolas want to get back to Notre Dame for every possible reason.
“I’m always learning something there,” Jayson said. “Last time we went into the dorms, saw life there, bonded with teammates, got to see how the team is doing. Next weekend we’ll be learning academic stuff because our senior season is coming up soon. I want to major in business and I want to reach out to a professor there.”
The return visit – the Ademilolas attended Junior Day in February – will also be the first since Alabama and Clemson offered the twins. The Crimson Tide and Tigers turned heads with the St. Peter’s Prep standouts. Now the Irish coaching staff can change that view, probably for good.
“Even though we’re committed to Notre Dame, to get those big offers is a humbling experience,” Jayson said. “You grew up watching those schools win national championships and then you get offers from them? Wow. Getting to talk to Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney is a pretty cool experience.
“Then you just think why you chose Notre Dame and stay focused. I know those schools preach football. At Notre Dame, it’s preaching football and academics. Life after football is really important to me.”
The Ademilolas are serious enough about Notre Dame to already be thinking about recruiting a few other prospects next weekend. Within the front seven, the Irish expect to host defensive tackle P.J. Mustipher, linebacker Dallas Gant and potentially defensive end Tyreke Smith too.
“The defensive line class right now, I think we have a good shot at Thomas Booker and we can have a dominant class,” Jayson said. “You add that to the guys above us, Kurt (Hinish), Kofi (Wardlow), Jonathan (MacCollister) and the rest of them, it can be great.”
As for adding Mustipher, the younger brother of starting Irish center Sam Mustipher, Jayson isn’t sure where Notre Dame stands.
“He’s quiet,” Jayson said. “He’s somebody no one really knows what’s going on.”
There was more optimism around teammate Shayne Simon, a four-star Rover prospect who visited the Irish on Thursday for the first time. Ohio State will get Simon to Columbus this weekend. Simon, whose mother graduated from Michigan, ranks among the top students at St. Peter’s Prep and Jayson said his grade point average was better than a 4.0.
"I think he's gonna love Notre Dame," Jayson said. "He's one of the smartest kids in our school. Academics is going to play a huge part in his choice and I think it's going to be more like Stanford or Notre Dame or Ohio State because of that. I think we have a really good shot. He's a great teammate."
Texas corner can’t wait to see Irish
Secondhand info on Notre Dame won’t do it for Erick Hallett anymore.
Hallett, a cornerback from Cypress, Texas, has been hearing about the Irish for the better part of a year from four-star tight end Brock Wright, a former teammate at Cy-Fair. Wright enrolled for the spring semester and will take part in his first Blue-Gold Game next weekend.
As it turns out, Hallett will be there to watch. Notre Dame will host Hallett on an unofficial visit during the spring game weekend.
“(Wright) just told me he loves it all the time,” Hallett said. “I’m just like, ‘If he loves it so much, then I need to go see it for myself.’ If they’re thinking about recruiting me or I’m on their recruiting board, I think it’s a good trip to make.”
Hallett has popped onto the recruiting radar recently.
Defensive coordinator Mike Elko reached out to the 5-foot-10, 172-pound prospect last month. Defensive backs coach Todd Lyght has been in contact as well, keeping up communication ahead of Hallett’s trip to South Bend.
Lyght has been getting Hallett up to speed on what Notre Dame has to offer and what to expect upon arrival next week.
“He’s just telling me he’s really excited for me to get up there,” Hallett said. “He’s telling me it’s a great program. He told me about spring ball and how spring is going. He’s really excited. I get to see what Notre Dame is all about.”
Getting to campus will help Hallett fill in some knowledge gaps and see things for himself rather than hearing from Lyght or Wright.
“I just know it’s a very prestigious program,” Hallett said. “Academics are very high end. They produce a lot of guys that go to the league.”
However the visit shakes out, Hallett expects to hear more from Notre Dame and many other programs as spring practice at Cy-Fair gets started.
UMass, Nevada, Stephen F. Austin have offered. Some Ivy League programs — Yale, Dartmouth and Columbia — have put opportunities on the table as well. Washington State came through with a Power 5 offer earlier this week.
Hallett listed Texas Tech, Tulsa, Texas State, Louisiana Tech and Louisiana-Monroe as some of the other programs in contact.
Cy-Fair begins spring practice next week. Hallett hopes to impress many of those programs in person.
“I think it could be huge,” he said. “They’ll see me move in person and see how I operate. Film can only tell you so much. They want to see the player they could potentially be offering to come play for them someday.”
Bauer, Jurkovec don’t ‘Get Open’
Notre Dame commitments Matthew Bauer and Phil Jurkovec traveled to Cleveland, Ohio on Sunday hoping to perform well enough in The Opening Regional to earn an invitation to the finals in Oregon this summer.
Neither achieved that goal.
“It went fine,” said Bauer, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound linebacker from Erie, Pa. “It was below average, to be honest. I fell in my shuttle and didn’t have a great day in the field.”
Bauer couldn’t explain what caused the poor performance.
“I’m not sure honestly,” he said. “I felt mentally I knew what I needed to do, but the day didn’t go my way.”
He did have the chance to watch Jurkovec in action for a bit and was impressed with what he saw and heard from his future teammate.
“I saw Phil throw a few times,” Bauer said. “He’s a great QB and a great guy. We just talked about Notre Dame and the future.”
Jurkovec, a 6-foot-5, 205-pound quarterback from Gibsonia, Pa., was a bit rusty throwing the football due to his basketball team’s long run through the postseason that ended with a state championship game loss.
That extended season on the hardwood left him without much time to prepare for The Opening and he felt it.
“It was good but I didn’t do as well as I wanted to,” Jurkovec said. “My feet got messed up and I threw a few bad balls, but nothing very specific.”
Jurkovec didn’t get many reps but he feels he improved at least one area of his game thanks to some drills he learned from the quarterback coaches.
“They helped me out on the drills,” he said. “It was tough because there were like 60 quarterbacks there.”
Jurkovec spent some time talking with Bauer and Notre Dame recruiting target Dallas Gant, as well as a few more Ohioans he teamed up with on the AAU basketball circuit. Gant will announce his commitment next month and is set to attend the Blue-Gold Game next weekend.
Franklin sets decision date
Three-star defensive tackle Ja’Mion Franklin plans to announce a verbal commitment July 1.
“After that date I’ll have my new home for the next 4-plus years,” Franklin posted on Twitter, “where I’ll be continuing my education pursuing a meaningful degree in whatever study I choose, as well as chasing my dream of becoming a pro at this game I love so dearly at the highest level, being the NFL.”
Notre Dame offered Franklin a scholarship last month during an unofficial visit. All signs point toward the Irish being the favorite at this stage of the process and he’s planning out a trip around the Irish Invasion in June.
Boston College, Duke, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Navy, Northwestern, Rutgers, Temple, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Wake Forest are other scholarship offers on the table.