The Weekend and the Future

The Irish closed another recruiting weekend on Sunday, but some Irish prospects still remain on the Notre Dame campus. Let's take a look at the overall picture of the past weekend and the future.

Notre Dame received a commitment from Maurice Crum Jr. Crum Jr. was a big pickup for the Irish because they need to land linebackers. Crum's commitment allows the Irish to hold out for another linebacker like Jae Thaxton or Ronnie Palmer until the very end. Crum was also offered very early by the Irish which means he's been a wanted man by the Irish staff for quite some time.

The Irish are hoping to get a commitment out of defensive end Ryan Baker soon. Baker is down to Purdue and Notre Dame. He said he would be making his final decision within the next couple of weeks. I'm going to guess it will come sooner than later. The visit was important, and I think his visit to Notre Dame was a signal that the Irish are very much in the race. He said he loved his visit and the Irish players. Combine a good visit with his early comments about wanting to play for Notre Dame, and we could be looking at a future Irish commitment.

Samson Taylor also really enjoyed his visit to Notre Dame. Taylor will take his official visit to Texas A&M next weekend. Taylor says he will make his decision shortly after that visit, but will wait until signing day to announce. I don't think he will hold out that long. The Irish and A&M will likely inform him that they could fill up, and a decision will need to be made sooner rather than later. I think the Irish have a great shot to land Taylor.

Jaimie Thomas said he plans to announce this Thursday at his school. I think the Irish are setting good for Thomas. He said he loved his visit, and I think a good sign is that he waited to take a visit to Notre Dame. His last visit was on December 12th to Tennessee. I think he waited because he was strongly interested in Notre Dame.

Cortney Grixby, Ronnie Palmer and Justin Brown remain at Notre Dame until later today. South Bend on a Sunday night is not a recipe for a good time. But, Brown and Palmer did get a chance to experience the social life at Notre Dame on Saturday night. Grixby didn't show up until Sunday. I think the Irish have the best shot with Brown out of this group, but I also think the Irish have a good shot at Grixby. We don't know what to expect from Palmer as the Irish were late to get into the mix for him.

We haven't been able to reach Junior Jabbie or Nate Lyles after their visits. Lyles was said to be leaning to Notre Dame earlier in the season. Recently he's been very quiet about his favorites. Did the Irish close the door this weekend? We expect him to decide soon.

My guess is that the only thing holding Jabbie back from committing is his wish to play offense and running back in college. He's always had Notre Dame high on his list. The Irish coaches told him he'd be playing on the defensive side of the ball if he chose Notre Dame. The question with him will be how strong are his feelings on playing on the offensive side of the ball? He visits Penn State next weekend. We'll know sooner than later on Jabbie.

The visit list could shrink considerably next weekend. Brian Brohm will likely announce sometime early this week. What we have to hope for is that he doesn't schedule a press conference to announce at his school. I can't see Brohm standing up in front of hundreds of Louisville fans announcing he's going to Notre Dame.

If Brohm chooses Louisville, Darrin Bragg, David Wolke and Jordan Lyons become the priority. We think all three are very interested, although Lyons is rumored to be committing to Penn State. I could see the Irish landing both Bragg and Wolke next weekend if Brohm chooses another school.

Notre Dame must get Darcel McBath on campus next weekend. McBath has really enjoyed both his visits to Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. Rumors have circulated that he would commit after each visit. McBath is scheduled to come next weekend, but also has a visit lined up for Texas A&M midweek—four visits in three weeks are a lot. Will McBath tire of the recruiting process? No matter what, ND has to make sure McBath takes his visit to Notre Dame. We think his interest is strong enough to want to do that.

Leo Ferrine returned from his visit to Penn State without committing. He says he'll take his Notre Dame visit and decide. We think the Irish have a great shot to land him if he makes his visit. We think he will make the visit.

Irish fans have been sweating the Jae Thaxton visit since it was scheduled. Thaxton didn't make his visit to Miami this weekend. Rumors have been consistent that Georgia and Florida State are his two favorites. Will he still make his visit to Notre Dame? We believe he will. His mom was the initial push for him to consider Notre Dame. You don't want to disappoint Mom. The Irish need to make a big impression on his visit to have a chance.

Darius Walker is also scheduled for a visit. Rumors say he will take a midweek visit to Alabama this weekend, followed by a visit to Notre Dame, followed by a visit to Arkansas on the 30th. We expect the Irish coaches to try to convince him to end his recruitment on his visit. They just might be successful. The Irish are clearly the team to beat for Walker.

Christopher Vaughn went to UCLA last weekend and enjoyed his visit. He's visited Iowa, Boston College and Michigan State previously. Vaughn has said he'd take all of his visits. If he says this week that he'll visit, I think that shows that he's strongly interested in Notre Dame—players rarely take all five visits anymore. We'll know soon enough on Vaughn.

Ell Ash is a new name for the Irish. He can play either defensive line or offensive line. North Carolina State was said to be his leader heading into his visit with Tennessee this weekend. It appears the Volunteers made a positive impression on Ash. He does say he will visit Notre Dame on the 23rd. Could he be the surprise of the class? If he visits, he's likely very interested in Notre Dame at this point. The Irish could steal him in the end.

The Irish have two official visits scheduled for the 30th. Wide receivers Bobby McCoy and Chancellor Young are scheduled to be in on the 30th. McCoy appears to be a long-shot. McCoy visited Arkansas this weekend, has A&M next weekend, and then Notre Dame. It should be interesting to see if the Irish coaches can keep his interest the rest of the way. Arkansas and Arizona are said to be his top two. Hopefully the Irish can keep his interest--he's one heck of a player.

Young visited Oregon this weekend, has UCLA next weekend and follows with Notre Dame. We are convinced Young will take all of his visits. We think the Irish have a good shot to land him in the end.

The Irish area also waiting for decisions from some past visitors. Darryl Richard, Phillip Mbakogu, Terrail Lambert, Allen Smith and Bryant Creamer remain uncommitted after visiting Notre Dame. They are also hoping Brian Toal decides to visit Notre Dame.

Richard visited Miami this weekend. He has said that will likely be his last visit. Some say that Miami might fill up before he decides. I don't see that happening. I also think some forget that Georgia Tech is still very much in the race. We think the Irish will get one last shot to state their case. I have no idea where Richard will end up. I do get the feeling the Irish have more work to do to get his signature—it might be too late, however. Richard could commit somewhere at any time.

Mbakogu says the Irish are still in the hunt. We don't see that happening. He'll likely decide soon. We believe he'll choose between Cal and Oregon.

Bryant Creamer is still undecided. He visited Wisconsin last weekend, and will now visit Boston College. I don't think the Irish have much of a chance. He left Notre Dame with Illinois leading—not a good sign.

Lambert is said to be deciding between Notre Dame and Florida State. Lambert told Jason that he likely won't be announcing until signing day—oh no!! The Irish don't win many of these. We think they have a shot to land Lambert. We likely won't know anything until signing day.

Allen Smith has also said he likely won't be announcing until signing day. Smith took his final visit to Stanford this weekend. His thoughts on Stanford are not known at this time. He says he'll take an unofficial to Notre Dame before deciding. If he takes that visit, the Irish have a good shot. If he doesn't, I'd start to get worried. I could see Smith end up at any of his top four.

The Irish might get a visit from Brian Toal in the end. If they do their chances will increase in signing him. He loved his visit to Tennessee, and he could find the same experience at Notre Dame. At this point, I would be surprised if the Irish land him.

The end of recruiting is shaping up to be one of the more exciting finishes I can remember. Plenty of prospects remain, and the Irish appear to be staying in the race with all their top targets. The key will be landing their top targets. Can the Irish finish strong?


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