John Sullivan has been rumored to be leaning heavily to Notre Dame for quite some time. Sullivan has visited Boston College already and is down to Notre Dame and Boston College. Most feel Sullivan will finally officially commit to Notre Dame this weekend or shortly after his visit to South Bend. Sullivan is listed as 6-4, 280 pounds and projects as an offensive center. He is also a standout wrestler with two state championship crowns already in his career. The Irish need lineman and Sullivan would be a great one to land.
Mark Bradford will be visiting Notre Dame for the first time this weekend. Bradford is a 6-0, 185 pound speedster from Los Angeles. Bradford ran a 4.41 at Nike camp and is widely considered one of the top wide receiver prospects in the country. Bradford visited Stanford last weekend and came away impressed. USC and UCLA could also factor into his decision. He has visited Washington, Washington State and LSU as well. LSU remains in the picture. I expect UCLA to make strong push at the end. The questions with Bradford and many Southern California kids will always be about weather and cultural differences between the two areas. Will Mark Bradford feel comfortable in the Notre Dame environment and can he handle the cold? Nobody will be hanging out on the beach in South Bend this weekend, I am certain of that.
Dwight Stephenson is also visiting Notre Dame this weekend. Stephenson is currently committed to Florida but has decided to visit other schools. He visited Washington in December and has also spoken recently about visiting Tennessee. I have to wonder about his situation because it would appear to me that if he had doubt, he would visit just one school to make sure. This will be his second visit after his commitment and he is talking of taking a third. I might be reading too much into this but I would guess he is searching for something that he hasn't found at Florida yet. That is purely my assumption based on very little fact.
Ira Guilford has had an impressive year on the football field. Guilford finished his season rushing for 2268 yards and 29 touchdowns on 226 carries. Notre Dame is recruiting him as a safety prospect. Guilford returned from Ohio State last weekend, which has been his favorite school all season. He did not commit to Ohio State and plans to take more visits. Guilford visited Syracuse earlier this week and will be in South Bend this weekend. He will finish his visit list with Rutgers next weekend. Ohio State has been his leader all year but I do believe Notre Dame would be his second choice. Can the Irish level the field here? Ira has told me a number of times that his Dad really likes Coach Willingham.
The four mentioned above wrap up the official visit list for this weekend. The Irish look good for Sullivan and Irish fans should hear good news on him shortly after his visit. We are all hoping that the other three have a great visit. I think the Irish have a great shot at Bradford so he reaction will be of great interest to Notre Dame fans. I don't know what to expect from Guilford or Stephenson. I am going to guess that both will really enjoy Notre Dame but I am not sure it will be enough to pull them from the schools that they are most interested in right now.
Let's take a look at where the other top targets are visiting. This weekend could be very kind to Notre Dame fans or it could turn into a nightmare.
Mike Jones will be visiting Tennessee this weekend. Tennessee seemed like a strong candidate for Jones' signature but Tennessee just had their offensive line coach resign. Jones will also visit Penn State on January 24th. Jones hasn't given any indication as to which school he likes best. I don't think Jones would commit anywhere while on an official visit but Tennessee has remained a strong possibility for his signature.
Emmanuel Awofadeju visits Stanford this weekend. Stanford is considered the competition for Notre Dame for his signature. Awofadeju has already visited Maryland and might visit Virginia in the future but it appears to be a Notre Dame/Stanford battle. If he leaves Stanford without committing, I think the Irish have a good shot to land him.
Mitchell Thomas is visiting Alabama this weekend. Alabama was the leader until Franchionne left for Texas A&M. I expect the Alabama coaches to pull out the red carpet for Mitchell. If the Irish make it past this weekend without his commitment to Alabama, they have a shot. He visited Auburn last week and they were named as co-leaders with Notre Dame. He also is scheduled to visit Georgia the following weekend. Thomas might be the last chance for the Irish to sign a third linebacker. He is clearly someone they have wanted to a long time and was offered very early in the process.
Chase Anastasio is visiting Virginia this weekend. Virginia is considered the main competition for the Irish to get his signature. Chase told me earlier this week that he will finish his visits with a trip to Virginia Tech on the 24th. Virginia will pull out the red carpet for Chase as well. I don't think Chase will commit anywhere on a visit and will wait until the end before he makes a decision. His comments after this visit will be interesting. Can the Irish hang on until the end? I think Notre Dame has a great shot to land him.
Joe Thomas will not be visiting anywhere this weekend. He was considering visiting Stanford of Georgia Tech this weekend but that doesn't appear to be happening. Coach Mattison and the new Notre Dame throws coach visited him yesterday. Thomas has a visit to Kansas next weekend and will decide shortly after that visit. Ambrose Wooden and Victor Abiamiri are done with visits and should decide sometime next week. LaBrose Hedgemon will take a final visit to Notre Dame next weekend but is committed to North Carolina.
The weekend could be very kind or very bad for Irish fans. Hold on to your hats boys, it's crunch time.