A Look at Defensive Recruiting

Yesterday we took a look at where the Irish were with their recruiting effort on the offensive side of the ball. Today we'll take a look at the current targets on defense and where the Irish stand with each prospect. We'll also talk about where the Irish staff might be looking for new names this week while on the road.

Defensively, the Irish have a few commitments already in fold, but they will certainly need more in the next few months. Let's take a look at where they stand currently.

Defensive Line

Commitments: None

Offers: Lawrence Wilson, James McKinney, Raymond Henderson, Derrell Hand

Targets: Terrence Jamison, Patrick Kuntz

The Irish are thin right now with numbers and they'll need to find some more targets over the next few weeks.

Wilson is the most likely to commit at this point. He's likely deciding between Notre Dame, Ohio State and Pitt. A decision could come at any point. The Irish have a good shot to land Wilson and he appears done with visiting at this point.

McKinney is another likely visitor. McKinney originally committed to Michigan but decided to look around. Notre Dame, Michigan and Louisville are his three top teams at the moment. He has yet to set up any official visits, but he told us he'd visit Notre Dame for sure.

Henderson has already visited LSU and just went to Tennessee this past weekend. Henderson has said he'd visit Notre Dame in the past, but the Irish don't appear to be his top team at the moment. The Irish will likely get a visit, but they likely have some work to do with Henderson. Oklahoma, Miami, USC, UCLA and Penn State are others in the mix for Henderson.

Hand has already set up most of his official visits. He'll visit Michigan State (11-12), Miami (12-3) and Wisconsin (12-10) for sure. He told us recently he will definitely visit Notre Dame as well. The Irish have been high on his list for quite some time. We expect the Irish to be in the race for Hand until the end.

Jamison is an interesting target the Irish have been recruiting. Jamison took an unofficial visit to Notre Dame for the Boston College game. Jamison said he won't set his official visits until after the playoffs, but the Irish have a good shot at getting a visit. Wisconsin, Northwestern, Michigan State, Michigan, Indiana and Purdue also have a shot at a visit.

The Irish continue to recruit Kuntz, but he's already scheduled four official visits. They might be able to get back in on him if they showed more interest.


Commitments: Scott Smith, Kevin Washington

Offers: Anthony Felder, Rey Maualuga, Ryan Reynolds, Brian Cushing, Demetri Stewart, Derek Nicholson

Targets: Eric Small

The Irish already have two solid commitments and a number of other prospects that appear interested.

Felder already tried to schedule a visit with Notre Dame and will likely again in the future. Ohio State and Washington also look to be likely visits at this point. We expect Felder to visit Notre Dame in the near future.

Maualuga also tried to visit Notre Dame, but he's a shade short on his test score. Maualuga says he's still very interested in visiting Notre Dame and will retake his test to try to qualify. Until that happens, the Irish won't have much of a shot. He's already visited Nebraska and Oregon. USC is schedule for 12-10. He says Notre Dame and Oklahoma are likely visits.

Ryan Reynolds has flirted with visiting on November 13th for the Pitt game. So far that has not been confirmed. He has said he wants to visit, however. He's already visited Oklahoma and Florida. The Irish should get a visit.

Cushing has unofficially visited Notre Dame. The talented player says he likely won't need to take an official visit because he saw plenty on his unofficial visit. The Irish made a big impression, but Louisville (12-17), Miami, USC and Virginia are also very much in the race.

Stewart has had Miami way out in front from quite some time. The last time we spoke to Stewart he was leaning on enrolling early in January. If true that will take the Irish out of the mix as they do not allow early enrollment.

Nicholson also continues to mention the Irish, but he has yet to set official visits. Brother A.J. plays at Florida State and many think the Seminoles will be tough to beat. Miami, Virginia Tech, Tennessee and North Carolina are also mentioned besides Notre Dame.

Eric Small remains on the radar and is highly thought of by the Irish staff. Small impressed Notre Dame at their summer camp and is a guy to keep an eye on the next few months.

The Irish appear to be in good shape at linebacker this year.

Defensive Back

Commitments: Brandon Harrison, David Bruton

Offers: Reggie Smith, Derek Pegues, Cary Harris, Ray Herring, Shawn Oatis

Targets: E.K. Sawyer

Smith hasn't narrowed his list down at this point. The Irish remain in the race with a host of other schools. Many speculate he'll choose one of the state schools, but Kansas State, Nebraska, Texas A&M, Notre Dame and USC are some schools he mentions often. Smith has told us in the past that he'd likely visit Notre Dame, but we think it will be hard for anyone to take him from the two state schools.

Pegues was a hot name early for the Irish and even visited unofficially over the summer. He has family that lives in South Bend, but hasn't shown a lot of interest since his visit. LSU, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Alabama and Michigan appear to be his top schools. He has yet to set visits and the Irish continue to recruit him.

Harris has one visit scheduled to Cal (11-20). He recently told us that he was definitely visiting Notre Dame and working on setting up that visit. USC, UCLA, Washington State and Arizona State are the other schools he's strongly considering. Many believe USC will be difficult to beat for his signature.

Herring is a safety prospect the Irish are interested in. He's visiting Notre Dame on December 3rd. He's also visiting Georgia Tech on December 10th. Tennessee also looks likely for a visit, and Maryland, Miami, Pittsburgh and Ole Miss are also under consideration for a visit. The Irish have been high on his list for quite some time. They should have a good shot at Herring.

Oatis has already visited Notre Dame (10-9) and just visited Ohio State last weekend. UCLA is also a team very high on his list. Oatis has said he might decide early with ND and UCLA being his top two schools. We tried to reach Oatis last night without luck. The Irish were in good shape before his visit this past weekend. He could decide at any time.

Sawyer is a new name to add to the mix. He has a few offers under his belt and the Irish appear to be actively recruiting him. So far they haven't offered, but he's a guy to keep an eye on.

The Irish have some work to do with this off week and the other off week in two weeks. The clearly need to find more targets at running back, defensive line, cornerback and probably offensive line as well.

They appear to be in good shape with a number of guys, but as per usual, there isn't a lot of room for error. That plan worked two years ago and failed last year. The staff will need to find some targets this week to avoid missing in some key positions like they did last year.

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