Brian Williams (© Greg Powers)

Irish Invasion: Underclassmen To Know

With all the hype surrounding the recruits from the current class attending Irish Invasion, Irish Illustrated broke down the ‘19 recruits to keep an eye on tonight.

The primary focus during this weekend’s Irish Invasion camp will be the class of 2018 recruits.

Of course, there will also be an abundance of talent from the 2019 class on campus as well. It’s less likely that Notre Dame will receive commitments from 2019 recruits, but building early bonds with the array of talent will pay dividends down the road.

During last year’s Irish Invasion, all eyes were on the class of 2017 recruits while the Irish were also making strong impressions on several 2018 recruits.

Markese Stepp committed to Brian Kelly, while several talented sophomores left with Notre Dame high on their list. Illinois wide receiver Micah Jones and Pennsylvania linebacker Matt “Bo” Bauer were at the event and went on to commit to the Irish. Amon-Ra St. Brown, George Takacs, and Houston Griffith, among others, were also in attendance. Now they’re seriously considering the Irish.

Here are the top 2019 recruits the Irish will be working to impress this weekend during Irish Invasion.

With all the elite high school talent on campus this weekend, Dallas (Texas) Bishop Dunne safety, Brian Williams may be the most talented.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound four-star dominated top division Texas high school football last season as a sophomore. Williams racked up 78 tackles, eight interceptions, six pass breakups, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery on the season.

He holds 32 offers, including Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Stanford, Texas, and USC.  By this time next year, Williams will likely boast over 40 offers and a fifth star next to him name.

Bishop Dunne head coach Michael Johnson told Irish Illustrated that Williams has legit interest in Notre Dame and the strength of the academics at the university.

The long trip from Texas to Indiana being made by Williams and his family certainly backs up coach Johnson’s claim.

West Lafayette (Ind.) defensive end, George Karlaftis is an intriguing prospect.

The Irish don’t often find elite edge rushers in-state, but Karlaftis appears to be just what they’re looking for.

The Karlaftis family moved to West Lafayette only a few years ago from Greece. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound import picked up the game of football quickly and emerged as a dominant defensive end during his sophomore campaign with 113 tackles, 14 ½ tackles for loss and 13 sacks.

His breakout year caught the attention of Irish defensive line coach Mike Elston, leading to an offer during Karlaftis’ visit to South Bend on March 31.

Karlaftis told Irish Illustrated recently that Notre Dame is sticking out in his recruitment as he admires coach Elston’s style and the family atmosphere that Notre Dame presents.

Vancouver (Wash.) wide receiver, Darien Chase hasn’t received his first offer yet which is surprising considering the rave reviews he’s received.

Chase put up nice stats during his sophomore season for Union High School, catching 50 passes for 854 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also chipped in seven interceptions on defense, returning one for a touchdown.

Irish Illustrated has learned that Chase is considered to be the next top prospect to come out of Washington, next to 2020 recruit, Sa’vell Smalls, who Notre Dame offered recently.

Brian Polian visited Vancouver during the evaluation period to check on the rising sophomore, who is receiving interest from many Pac 12 programs.

Expect to hear more about Chase in the future.

Oak Lawn (Ill.) H.L. Richards safety, Sebastian Castro has been on Notre Dame’s radar for several months. He visited for the Virginia Tech game last season.

Polian checked on the 6-foot-1, 200-pound sophomore this spring and let it be known that the Irish would be keeping a close eye on the two-way star.

Castro told Irish Illustrated that his mother is a big fan of the Irish and was very excited to learn that he son was invited to camp in South Bend.

Castro holds offers from Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota, Syracuse and Toledo while receiving in-school visits from Penn State.

The Irish have their eyes on another Pittsburgh (Penn.) Central Catholic defensive recruit.

Safety Corey Thomas is the latest recruit to come out of the program that produced incoming freshmen David Adams and Kurt Hinish.

Thomas, a 6-foot-3, 190 pound converted wide receiver, had a strong sophomore season and shows solid traits on film, suggesting he could have a future playing safety in college.

Thomas has heard plenty about the Irish from his close friend Hinish and will have the opportunity to put his skills on display this weekend.

Kirkwood (Missouri) Vianney wide receiver Kyren Williams had a strong sophomore season, posting 771 yards rushing, 630 yards receiving and 29 total touchdowns.

He’s earned offers from Arkansas, Iowa, Iowa State, Memphis, Nebraska, and Northwestern. Prior to Irish Invasion, Williams visited Ohio State (Friday, June 9). Williams will also visit Stanford on June 20-22.

Williams shows good speed and strong route running on film. It will be interesting to see how he performs at Irish Invasion as well as his junior season.

Getting quality skill positions players on campus early is always a plus.

A lot of headlines regarding Trussville (Ala.) quarterback, Paul Tyson state that the 6-foot-4, 210-pound sophomore is the great grandson of Alabama great, Paul “Bear” Bryant.

As interesting as that relation is, Tyson’s size, intriguing skill set and interest in Notre Dame are the more notable aspects of this particular recruitment.

Tyson visited Notre Dame on April 1, so the fact that he’s returning to South Bend to camp is a good sign for the Irish.

The rising sophomore hold offers from Army, Connecticut, Jacksonville State and Kentucky.

Coatesville (Pa.) running back, Aaron Young has flown under many people’s radar, which is surprising considering his sophomore production.

Young rushed for 1,607 yards and caught 23 passes for 323 yards, scoring 29 total touchdowns.

He will make the trip to South Bend with his older brother Avery Young, who hopes to earn an offer at the cornerback position.

Young has offers from Maryland, Nebraska, Rutgers, Syracuse, Army, and Old Dominion.

Multi-sport athlete Craig Young has a bright future.

At 6-foot-5, 200-pounds, with natural athleticism and speed, the Notre Dame staff will certainly be interested to see what Young can do on the field.

The Fort Wayne product has connections to former Irish linebacker Jaylon Smith. He played sports with Smith’s younger brothers. Young could grow out of the wide receiver position during the final two years of his high school career, which makes him an intriguing Invasion watch.

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