The highly anticipated Irish Invasion returns to Notre Dame on Saturday night.
The fourth edition of the invite-only camp has been a boost to past Irish recruiting campaigns, including last summer when wide receiver Jordan Pouncey and running back Markese Stepp committed at the event. The night before, defensive end Jonathan MacCollister went Irish before working out the next day.
Will this summer’s event offer Notre Dame a similar jump?
Irish Illustrated broke down four recruits who could pull the trigger this weekend.
Notre Dame has made Simon a priority, not only at the rover position but as one of its top targets overall. You’d be hard-pressed to find a recruit better suited for rover in Mike Elko’s defense.
Simon has strong ties to Notre Dame through his high school program, St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City. Twin defensive linemen Jayson and Justin Ademilola are committed to Notre Dame and current Irish quarterback, Brandon Wimbush also played at St. Peter’s.
Ohio State, Michigan and UCLA are the other programs in the race.
Ohio State is looking at other options, Michigan is his mother’s alma mater, and Simon expressed a good deal of interest in the Bruins.
But Simon’s closeness with the Ademilolas seems to be having an effect on his recruitment.
Last week Irish Illustrated reported that Simon would be travelling to South Bend with the Ademilolas to spend three days at Notre Dame. A source close to the New Jersey program informed us that the twins have been in Simon’s ear, steadily.
Simon may stick to his original plan of coming to a final decision later in the summer, but don’t be surprised if the 6-foot-3, 215-pound athlete commits to the Irish this weekend.
Had Cameron McGrone not suffered a season-ending ACL injury last October, the four-star outside backer would likely be part of Notre Dame’s class right now.
Unfortunately, his injury was a major setback.
The good news is McGrone has healed remarkably and posted an outstanding 4.67-second 40 yard-dash at The Opening Regionals in Oakland on May 21, which led to an invite to The Opening Finals.
When Notre Dame offered California outside linebackers Jack Lamb and Bo Calvert this spring it seemed McGrone had moved on in his recruitment while developing strong relationships with other programs.
The Lawrence Central star has offers from Iowa, Nebraska, Northwestern, Tennessee and Vanderbilt, all schools that have been in consistent contact.
In addition to checking out Notre Dame, McGrone will also see Wisconsin and Michigan State this month. He’ll be in Madison immediately before heading to South Bend.
Despite those other Big 10 trips, it’s hard not to feel good about Notre Dame’s chances with this in-state talent. McGrone has always wanted an Irish offer. Now that the offer is on the table, he could commit at anytime.
Another offered Indianapolis recruit worth tracking this weekend is cornerback D.J. Johnson.
Several factors tell us that Johnson could commit this weekend, most notably his offer list.
It would be hard to imagine the four-star recruit committing to an out-of-state school on his offer list that includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Syracuse over Notre Dame.
Johnson expressed to Irish Illustrated that Notre Dame was an offer he had always wanted.
If Johnson shows the staff that he has what they’re looking for during the camp portion of the event and he is willing to give his verbal pledge, the Irish could replace the cornerback void left by Kalon Gervin.
Of the abundance of three-star cornerbacks who have come up in Notre Dame’s wide net throughout the spring and early summer, Donte Burton is certainly one of the most talented.
Colorado, Louisville, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pitt, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and others have all offered the Peach State product.
Burton explained to Irish Illustrated that he plans to visit three schools this summer: North Carolina, Notre Dame and Missouri.
He also stated that he considered Notre Dame to be his “best offer.”
The ninth-ranked cornerback in the talent-rich state of Georgia holds a 3.7 GPA and is looking for a strong balance of academics and athletics. He feels he has found a solid match in Notre Dame.
It would come as no shock if Burton committed to Notre Dame during his first stay in South Bend.