Let The Games Begin

With the regular season now in the rearview mirror, the Irish coaches will now focus a great deal of attention on recruiting. The Irish coaches are still trying to schedule a few official visits with some of their top prospects, and a number of these prospects will have in-home visits with Irish coaches this week. Let's take a quick look at recruiting before Notre Dame has their big banquet weekend this week.

The Irish have their biggest recruiting weekend of the year scheduled this weekend. Many of the top targets on Notre Dame's list will be in this weekend for official visits. Let's take a look at some of these prospects.

Wide receiver D.J. Hord is a top prospect for the Irish. At 6-1, 190-pounds, Hord is said to have the speed to stretch opposing defenses. The Kansas City native has already visited Notre Dame on an unofficial visit and will also visit Missouri (12-10) on an official visits. Kansas State and LSU are two others rumored to be on his short list. Hord has mentioned he'd like to make an early decision and the Irish have the first shot at this top prospect.

Offensive lineman A.J. Trump will also make it in for the banquet. The 6-4, 290-pound Clearwater, Fla. prospect has listed the Irish as his clear leader heading into this weekend. Miami (12-10) is probably the main competition and Trump has hinted he might make an early decision. If we had to guess, Trump would be the most likely person to make a commitment this weekend in our minds.

Barrington, Ill. offensive lineman Dan Doering is also visiting this weekend. The 6-5, 290-pound Doering has been a top target since his junior season. Doering has visited Notre Dame a number of times unofficially and Iowa (12-10) is likely Notre Dame's opponent in the race for his signature. Doering has already visited Oklahoma and Tennessee and plans to announce his decision in January at the Army All-American Bowl. Many feel Iowa is the team to beat.

St. Paul, Minn. offensive lineman Rafael Eubanks is also scheduled to attend. The 6-3, 290-pound Eubanks is another top prospect that has been offered by the Irish. Eubanks also visits Iowa (12-10) and Minnesota (12-17) and also plans to visit Miami and possibly Oklahoma as well. The Irish have been rumored as one of his top targets, but Eubanks assures us he'll be taking all of his official visits before deciding.

Offensive tackle prospect Paul Duncan will be winding down his official visits with Notre Dame being his final visit. Duncan has already visited Oklahoma, LSU, UCLA and Duke and the Dallas, Ga. native told us the Sooners and Tigers impressed him the most so far. The Irish have been his leader for most of the recruiting season, but we think Oklahoma and LSU have made a big impression on Duncan. His visit this weekend will likely be huge in his final decision. We also expect his final decision soon after his visit.

Defensive end prospect Raymond Henderson is also scheduled in for an official visits. The 6-5, 245-pound Oak Creek, Wisc. native has already visited Iowa and LSU and was scheduled to visit Tennessee this past weekend. Henderson has been to Notre Dame on a number of unofficial visits, but recently told us LSU had the slight lead for his signature. Henderson also plans to announce his decision at the Army All-American bowl in January.

Defensive tackle prospect Luqman Abdallah is also scheduled for an official visit. Abdallah is a new name on the Irish target list, but must be a top target to be scheduled in for the banquet. Abdallah will also visit Michigan State (12-1) and is looking at Rutgers, Virginia Tech, Miami and Florida State for his final three visits. Keep an eye on Abdallah.

Safety prospect Ray Herring is also scheduled to attend the banquet this weekend. The 5-11, 190-pound Melbourne, Fla. native has had the Irish high on his list since the beginning. He's also visiting Georgia Tech (12-1) and Tennessee (1-14) and plans to take his final two visits as well. We don't expect Herring to make a decision any time soon, but you never know. Georgia Tech and Tennessee appear to be the main competition at this time.

Also scheduled in are a number of already committed players. Fullback Asaph Schwapp was scheduled to be in, but his playoff schedule might change that.

Ohio defensive backs Brandon Harrison and David Bruton are scheduled in for their official visits.

Michigan natives quarterback Evan Sharpley and David Grimes are also scheduled for their official visits.

Minnesota tight end Joey Hiben is also scheduled, as is Illinois linebacker Scott Smith.

Wide receiver Martin Frierson is also scheduled in for his official visits and he continues to say he'll visit other schools. We'll see how that stands after his visit this weekend.

Texas linebacker Kevin Washington had said he might visit this weekend, but hasn't confirmed that yet. We'll check on that this week.

Texas wide receiver David Nelson has already taken his official visit to Notre Dame, but told us he still planned to make the banquet on his own dime. We'll check with him this week to see if he still plans on attending.

Defensive end Lawrence Wilson has also already taken his official visit to Notre Dame. Wilson's busy basketball schedule will likely not allow him to attend the banquet this weekend, but we'll check on his status this week.

Don't be surprised if a few new names pop up this week as visitors. The Irish coaches will be out making in-home visits with a number of top prospects trying to secure official visits. We wouldn't be surprised to see a few more names added to the list before this weekend.

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