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Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by Thoros of Beer, Feb 3, 2016.
He also averages 50 points per game in basketball
That was my first thought as well but he is freakishly agile for his size. Can't think of a player that compares to him. Anybody have a good comparison? Calvin Johnson is the first that comes to mind due to the height but Johnson is faster and Claypool is shiftier and bigger.
Claypool may end up being an Eifert type flex TE/WR. If we ran a 3-4 still I wouldn't be mad if he played OLB
Mike Brey will turn him into an All ACC PF. 6'5" does the job
so we signed a white qb? lmbo. get it together killy.
From the recruit breakdown on the previous page...racially funny to compare him to Rees just because he is white.
Book is similar to former Irish QB Tommy Rees, but with a better arm and more athleticism
Can't go wrong with a QB that has a four letter name with a double vowel sandwiched by two consonants IMO.
good lord, what a terrible comparison. might as well compare a dodge dart to dodge charger (same make, they must be similar)
2017 Recruiting Numbers Breakdown
Author: Jamie Uyeyama
February 5, 2016
Brock Wright and Cole Kmet
It really doesn’t take long for college football fans to move on from signing day. The day after the 2016 recruiting class officially become members of the Notre Dame football program, everyone already seems to be thinking about what’s next.
What’s next for the team is spring ball, but before that starts, recruiting never stops. The Notre Dame coaching staff was already partially in for 2017 before the 2016 prospects signed and now they are almost all in on 2017 recruits. (Almost because they have to save some room for 2018 and 2019 as well.)
That’s the way recruiting is these days in college football. If you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind.
Fortunately the staff appears to be way further ahead than they were at the same time last year now that all of the coaches are established and a plan is in place for everything leading up to the next signing day. They have five commitments for 2017 and are actively trying to fill up the rest of the spots by having an early junior day a couple of weeks ago and sending out several new offers in the last few days.
In terms of planning ahead, it’s just as much about the “how many?” as it is the “who” that they are going to sign. We won’t know the exact number because there is likely going to be attrition on the roster that could cause it to grow, but considering how the roster is composed now, we at least have an idea what kind of numbers they would like to take at each position and why.
It’s rare to hit the exact number they are looking for at every spot, but this is how many I think they are going to try to land by position.
Every year, it is essential to sign a quarterback and 2017 is no different. It’s nice to see the depth chart at the position and think that everything could shake out with Malik Zaire coming back for a fifth year and DeShone Kizer, Brandon Wimbush, and Ian Book all falling in behind him on the eligibility chart. In reality, this is college football and it rarely works out that way.
It could have worked out that way this season if Everett Golson came back. But he didn’t. Then suddenly Malik Zaire was the starter and DeShone Kizer became the number two. Zaire ended up getting hurt and Kizer vaulted to the top spot with Wimbush becoming the backup. Imagine if Notre Dame did not sign Brandon Wimbush in 2015? It would have been a walk-on as the next man in if Kizer went down.
No one wants to be in that type of situation and that’s why it’s important for them to sign a quarterback every year.
Running back: 1 or 2
They just signed two in back to back classes and the way it looks with recent offers and the type of talent they have interested, they might not say no to signing two again. They probably don’t need two so one elite player at the position would be just fine with four likely to be back on the roster with two years of eligibility.
But if Josh Adams has a monster sophomore year? They may think he would be set to leave early after the next year and two big time players would definitely be a nice buffer for any potential future loss.
Wide Receiver: 2 or 3
Some of this depends on what Demetris Robertson decides to do when he eventually signs. If he is added to the class, there isn’t going to be as much of a need. Even without him they have had back to back classes of quality and quantity at wide receiver.
Especially if they land Robertson in this class, they can afford to be a bit picky and try to hit a couple of home runs at receiver.
Tight End: 2
No tight ends in 2016 and they decided to sign two with both Brock Wright and Cole Kmet already committed. Done and done. Two it is.
Offensive line: 4 or 5
One look at the numbers the last two recruiting classes and it’s clear why Brian Kelly mentioned the offensive line as the point of emphasis in 2017 recruiting. They only signed five the last two classes and there are five players on the roster that will be seniors in school this fall. It makes sense that they will want to re-load in this class.
They have two committed in Josh Lugg and Dillan Gibbons and both of them are quality prospects. They appear to be in a good shape with at least a couple of other blue chip players and four seem like it would be a minimum with five being the ideal number if they can land an additional 4 or 5 star. Out of the last thirteen players they have signed on the offensive line, only one recruit has been ranked lower than a 4 star. I would say the chances of a fifth offensive linemen being one of the better prospects in the nation is pretty darn good.
Defensive tackle: 2
They signed four in 2015 and that helped them decided they were okay with passing on taking someone in 2016. Keith Gilmore told Mike and Bill on Power Hour that they are likely going to try and sign two this year.
I’m of the opinion that they can never sign enough good interior defensive linemen so two would be a great way to fill in for Jarron Jones exhausting his eligibility and Jacob Matuska likely not coming back for a fifth year at the rate his career has been progressing. If anything else happens at the position, then maybe they target one more. But Gilmore says two and there is no reason to think that Gilmore isn’t going to go out and get two.
Defensive end: 2 or 3
They have one exceptional one already committed in Robert Beal and that’s after landing a very good group in 2016. Whether it is one or two more to sign on with Beal depends on how many are actually in that group. Was it four or five defensive ends? That depends on where they see Jamir Jones. If Jones comes in and he is a defensive end in their eyes, signing eight defensive ends in two years is not a safe bet.
Linebacker: 3 or 4
Again, this could all depend on whether or not they view a couple of the safeties they signed as players who will move to linebacker or if Jones doesn’t become a defensive end. Four is probably a safe bet with this being the highest priority on defense in this class.
They are barely going to have a two-deep next season because they missed out on some big players last cycle and if the injury bug hits the position like it did in the Fiesta Bowl, it’s not going to be a great scenario for the defense as a whole.
There were many who complained about Joe Schmidt this last season, but looking back on his fourth year with the program in 2015, he was the only option at the position that wasn’t a freshman. The misses in recruiting made it so that the only upperclassman at Mike who could play the position was Schmidt. That is a frightening situation and it worked out shockingly well considering how much worse it could have been.
I’m sure the Notre Dame coaches don’t want to have anything like that happen again and it’s why it’s so important that they land enough talent at the position in this upcoming class.
Cole Luke and Devin Butler will both be out of eligibility when the season ends and even though the Irish have signed six in the last two classes, it’s a position where there can never be enough options.
If any of the freshman projected as cornerbacks get moved to safety, this could change as well.
I don’t care how many safeties Notre Dame has signed in the last two classes or how many corners could be options to play safety, there can’t be a repeat of these past two seasons at safety again. The best way to ensure that it doesn’t is to continue to add talent to the position group every year. When you do that, you don’t have to rely on an inconsistent starter or a player who has had a season ending injury in consecutive seasons.
They don’t need huge numbers at the position, but signing a couple of players who could be difference makers would be just as important as signing linebackers. It’s always going to be a high priority position until they find that difference maker in the secondary.
Best Bets For 2017
Author: ISD Admin
February 5, 2016
Now that Notre Dame is just about finished with its 2016 recruiting class, the Irish can devote the majority of their attention to the Class of 2017.
The Irish got off to a great start last April, when Florida offensive lineman Dillan Gibbons jumped on his offer from Notre Dame and became the first pledge in the class. Texas tight end Brock Wright followed up, giving his verbal to the Irish in June. Pennsylvania offensive lineman Joshua Lugg joined the group in August while Illinois tight end Cole Kmet and Georgia defensive end Robert Beal jumped onboard during the fall.
There’s still a long way to go – just about a year actually – and while these aren’t predictions that these prospects will sign with the Irish, here are some of the top juniors we believe the Irish are in great shape with as the 2017 class takes its spot on the center of the stage.
QB AVERY DAVIS
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Texan is one of just two 2017 quarterbacks the Irish have offered so far this recruiting cycle. The Cedar Hill High School star visited South Bend for the Wake Forest game after picking up his Notre Dame offer and really enjoyed himself. It’s not clear exactly where he stands in his process, as he hasn’t really jumped in just yet, but we would imagine he will look to have it wrapped up toward the end of the spring.
Davis does appreciate the love from Notre Dame and the relationship he has built with Mike Sanford. The 2017 Irish commits are already pitching Davis hard and another thing to keep an eye on is his Cedar Hill teammate, 2017 four-star Charleston Rambo, who also has a Notre Dame offer. Davis’ offer sheet currently include Texas Tech, Houston, Colorado, Kansas and Oregon State among others.
Additional Analysis From Uyeyama: Davis has a terrific feel for the rush. He does a terrific job escaping it and avoiding sacks. He is a throw-first scrambler. Although he can gash a defense with his legs and they have to respect his running ability, he does a great job of keeping his eyes downfield and looking to make plays through the air. It’s rare for him not to get his shoulders squared and have good mechanics outside of the pocket. He probably throws better rolling to his left than the majority of right-handed quarterbacks.
What I see from Davis isn’t that different from what I saw from Ian Book as a prospect, although he is a more talented runner. I really like his short-area quickness and his ability to burst. There is no doubt he is a quarterback prospect, but is probably athletic enough to play as a slot receiver.
The more I watched of Davis, the more I liked him. There are some other 2017 quarterbacks who are bigger and stronger and look the part, but I think Davis has special ability to create outside while making all of he necessary throws from the pocket as well. He shows touch, accuracy, and more than enough zip on throws in tight windows. If he was a couple of inches taller, he’d be a much higher-ranked prospect than he is.
RB AJ DILLON
The 5-foot-11, 230-pounder impressed the Notre Dame coaching staff at Irish Invasion last summer, which helped lead to the Irish eventually offering the four-star running back last month. Notre Dame is definitely in the top group, if not the outright leader for Dillon’s services at this stage. However, Notre Dame will need to show him he won’t just be walking into his grandfather’s shadow in South Bend. Dillon’s grandfather, Thom Gatewood, was an All-American receiver for the Irish and was recently inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Dillon also claims offers from schools like Boston College, Iowa, Virginia, Michigan, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin among others.
Additional Analysis From Uyeyama: The Irish offering Dillon could show that there is a little bit of change in philosophy in terms of what they want to consistently do in the ground game. Brian Kelly inherited power backs from Charlie Weis when he took over with Robert Hughes and Jonas Gray already being on campus, but this would be the second year in a row where they have targeted a bigger back with them signing Tony Jones Jr. in 2016 and now with trying to add Dillon to the program.
One thing is for certain, he has an extremely strong lower body. When players go low trying to tackle him, he runs through them. He also has good feet for a guy his size, which helps a lot because he is a patient runner with good vision. He knows when to hit the hole and reads his blocks well. That patience is a nice fit for Notre Dame’s scheme and he could end up being another option to help with the red-zone and short-yardage inefficiencies they’ve experienced.
RB J.K. DOBBINS
The 5-foot-9, 185-pounder from Texas is a very impressive young man. The four-star running back landed an offer from Notre Dame on National Signing Day, just as the Irish were putting the finishing touches on their 2016 class. The La Grange standout had the chance to speak with running backs coach Autry Denson, offensive coordinator Mike Sanford and then head coach Brian Kelly, who delivered the official news.
Dobbins is definitely a Notre Dame type of kid and we would fully expect him to give the Irish a hard look. He already holds over a dozen offers from schools like Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, TCU, Texas A&M, Duke, Stanford and Cal among others.
Additional Analysis From Uyeyama: I love this kid’s burst. He goes from 0 to 60 so quickly. He has big-play ability with the way he sticks his foot in the ground and accelerates. Dobbins’ ability to cut without losing much speed really stands out.
He is a very tough player to tackle and is a tremendous inside runner. He has the strange combination of being both slippery, yet also powerful. If he chooses Notre Dame and gets the same kind of running lanes that CJ Prosise and Josh Adams got, expect the same kind of runs for big chunk yardage.
RB NAJEE HARRIS
The nation’s top running back in 2017 is already committed to Alabama, but he is quietly making sure he made the right decision for him. Notre Dame is a school that will get a chance to impress the 6-foot-2, 222-pounder and he will really embrace the competitive backfield the Irish will boast. A large part in Harris’ decisionto commit to the Crimson Tide was the competitive environment in Tuscaloosa.
Notre Dame, Alabama, UCLA and USC were the only schools to check on Harris multiple times during the last two months. It will be a long road to get Harris in the Blue and Gold, but the Irish staff has already been putting in the effort and Harris has been very receptive.
Additional Analysis From Uyeyama: Harris is a special prospect. There really isn’t anything not to like about him. The Irish will have to beat the big boys to land him, but he is more than worth the effort. He runs with power and has great speed. He is one of those rare athletes who looks like he is getting faster with every stride. He also has great lateral agility for his size.
I saw him at The Opening competing against the best players in the Class of 2016 last year and I felt he was better than every back in that class at that time. He looked like he should have been playing college football that fall and he was only going into his junior year of high school. He dominated the Army Combine in January as well. His ball skills as a receiver are, not surprisingly, outstanding. He is an immediate impact player at the next level and would get carries right away at Notre Dame.
WR OSIRIS ST. BROWN
Notre Dame already had a pretty good idea it was going to land Equanimeous St. Brown in the Class of 2015 when it extended an offer to his younger brother, Osiris, so it wasn’t an offer the Irish threw out to improve their standing with Equanimeous. In fact, there’s no doubt the California wide receiver is a legitimate national prospect in his own right and has the offer list to prove it. In addition to Notre Dame, the Mater Dei standout has offers from USC, UCLA, Cal, Washington, Michigan, Michigan State, Miami and Vanderbilt among several others.
St. Brown was very high on Stanford early in the process and still really likes the Cardinal, who just offered him on Wednesday, but his brother being in South Bend now won’t hurt the Irish at all. It’s not a case where Osiris wants to just follow his brother, but he knows they like similar things and the more positives Equanimeous has to say about Notre Dame, the better the Irish’s chances with the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder. Also, St. Brown’s father has always dreamt of saying Equanimeous, Osiris and their younger brother, 2018 prospect Amon-Ra, play at the same school.
Additional Analysis From Uyeyama: The word that stands out most when watching St. Brown: competitive. It must run in the family because Equanimeous has that same kind of spirit. There is a lot of “dog” in him. He fights for the ball when it’s in the air and he’ll do everything in his power to win. He does a nice job of beating press at the line of scrimmage and muscling through it.
50/50 footballs are more like an 80/20 proposition for him because of his great ball skills. He will go up and get it and does a great job of being physical to win. Equanimeous is bigger, but Osiris plays a lot bigger than his size would suggest. I saw him at the Sound Mind/Sound Body camp last year and he was one of the best receivers at the camp right next to top 2016 receivers like Binjimen Victor and Donnie Corley.
He’s not a true burner, but even when he is covered, he is never really covered. If he joins his brother at Notre Dame, I’ll be ecstatic.
OL JEDRICK WILLS
Many have the 6-foot-5, 315-pound Lexington native ticketed to stay home and play for Kentucky, but sources on Notre Dame’s side of things seem to be cautiously optimistic about their chances. Wills was scheduled to be in South Bend for Notre Dame’s Junior Day last month, but weather forced him to cancel.
He was on campus for Irish Invasion last summer and seemed to enjoy himself. The Lafayette High School standout has managed to keep a low profile throughout the process, but seems to be seriously interested in what the Irish and offensive line coach Harry Hiestand specifically have had to say so far. In addition to the Irish and the Wildcats, Wills has offers from powerhouses like Alabama, Florida State, LSU, Ohio State, Georgia, Auburn and Florida among several others. We’d be surprised if Wills doesn’t try to get back to South Bend soon and the Irish could see themselves zoom up his list if he does.
Additional Analysis From Uyeyama: Wills is a massive young man who is a mauler in the run game. Again, he is nasty player who wants to finish his block with his man on the ground. He is athletic enough to be candidate at tackle, but is probably more of swing prospect where his best position will be guard at the next level. He moves really well when pulling and having him come through a hole to pick up a linebacker would be a scary proposition for anyone.
His pad level and balance need to improve, but he can get away with it right now because he is so physically dominant against the competition he is facing. I’m excited to get a chance to watch him against better competition in the upcoming months if he attends some of offseason events.
OL TREY SMITH
The 6-foot-4, 295-pounder is one of the nation’s most sought-after prospects regardless of class and rightfully so. The four-star participated in the The Opening as an underclassman this past summer and followed that with a dominating junior season.
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly doesn’t make it a habit of visiting many juniors, but he made sure to make his presence known a few weeks ago when he stopped by University School of Jackson. Harry Hiestand has been by to check on Smith twice within the last few weeks and it’s evident the Tennessee native is one of the prospects near the very top on the offensive line board. Smith has family in Indianapolis and it’s only a matter of when he will visit South Bend this spring. Smith also has a great relationship with Tommy Kraemer and is also friends with Parker Boudreaux.
The in-state Vols will certainly be a threat as will other SEC foes like Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, Florida, Georgia and LSU, who have all offered. Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, Ohio State and USC have each offered as well.
Additional Analysis From Uyeyama: If you get selected to compete at The Opening as a rising junior, then you are clearly an exceptional football player. If you get selected as a lineman to compete there as a rising junior, it’s another level of exceptional. Smith was one of two 2017 offensive linemen in attendance last year and was in tough against a great defensive line group. He didn’t back down an inch and had flashes of brilliance despite clearly being less physically developed than the older players.
The first thing I saw was a nasty streak and competitiveness that would get anyone fired up watching him. I saw that same passion on film as a junior where he pancaked defenders with authority. He plays with great pad level as a run blocker and his athleticism allows him to get to the second level very well. He is raw in pass protection, but has the feet and arm length to develop into a great player in that respect. He has All-American potential under Harry Hiestand. His upside is a meaner version of Ronnie Stanley.
DT JERRON CAGE
The brother of current Irish defensive lineman Daniel Cage made an early commitment to Ohio State back in June, but the Irish have used that familial connection to get Jerron Cage on campus multiple times during the fall. The 6-foot-3, 270-pounder from Cincinnati remains a Buckeye pledge, but Notre Dame is in a nice spot with the ability to stay in front of him without coming across as being too pushy.
If his older brother continues on the trajectory he was on this season, his success on the field could translate into success for the Irish off the field should they decide to make a major push for Jerron. In addition to Ohio State and Notre Dame, Cage also has offers from Cincinnati, Kentucky, Louisville and Illinois.
Additional Analysis From Uyeyama: Jerron is a taller, longer and more athletic player than his brother. Although Daniel flashed some ability to get into the backfield last season, Jerron is more of one-gap penetrator, but he also shows he can be strong at the point of attack like his older brother. He could actually project to play the three-technique or be more of Jarron Jones-type at one-technique.
I really like his first step, but he does not deliver a consistent punch right now and needs to learn to use his hands better. The potential to develop into a complete defensive tackle who is disruptive against the run and can push the pocket as pass rusher is clearly there. His ceiling is very high.
DT HASKELL GARRETT
Notre Dame offered the four-star prospect in December and emerged as the leader the same day. The 6-foot-1, 285-pounder planned to visit South Bend for Junior Day in January, but Bishop Gorman had its football banquet the same weekend. It’s clear Notre Dame has recruited Bishop Gorman well in the past with players like Ronnie Stanley, Aliz’e Jones and Nicco Fertitta, who Garrett is close with. It would somewhat of a surprise if Garrett didn’t like South Bend when he visits.
Garrett’s offer sheet also includes USC, UCLA, Oregon, Texas A&M, UNLV, Ohio State and Nebraska among others.
Additional Analysis From Uyeyama: There haven’t been many interior defensive linemen who have played for Notre Dame in recent years who have had the kind of season Sheldon Day had as a senior and he is going to be a tough player to replace. There just aren’t a lot of other prospects out there who have his first step and lateral quickness who can excel as a three-technique.
Like Day, Garrett isn’t the biggest guy and may never be a mauler inside. He flashes that same kind of first step on film though and plays with great pad level and delivers a solid punch. He has the kind of versatility where he could line up and play end and his ability to move laterally is a huge reason why I think he could become a terrific pass rusher.
He is the kind of player I could see making an immediate impact right away because of his experience playing top competition in high school and his great athleticism for his size.
DE JOSHUA KAINDOH
Notre Dame probably isn’t leading for the IMG Academy stud at this point, but the Irish are high enough on his list and as a true elite target, the 6-foot-6, 241-pounder deserves a spot here based on how important his recruitment will be this cycle. The Maryland native isn’t sure when he’ll make it to South Bend, but said he hoped to make it there “soon.” Despite playing his high school ball in Florida, Kaindoh said he’s focusing on Big Ten schools and Notre Dame.
His focus may be on the Midwest, but his offer sheet is truly national with offers from schools like Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, South Carolina, Tennessee and Notre Dame among several others.
Additional Analysis From Uyeyama: Kaindoh looks like he was sculpted to be the prototype defensive end and has tremendous physical gifts. Seeing him in person at the Sound Mind/Sound Body camp in 2015, I got a true appreciation for what kind of athlete he is. He has exceptional lateral quickness and speed for his size. And man, that size. He looked like he was a true 6-6 and has ridiculously long arms.
I’ve seen how explosive his first step can be, but his snap anticipation needs to improve. If it does, he can be a special pass rusher. His hands need quite a bit of work in that area and we’ll see if he can make a jump in that area from his junior to his senior year. He can overwhelm many of the tackles or tight ends he plays against with his quickness while his ability to move laterally and shoot gaps is outstanding. He needs to improve his block recognition, but when he sees it correctly, he does a great job of blowing up the trap violently and setting the edge versus the run.
IMG Academy is loaded with talented prospects, but there may not be one with a higher ceiling than him.
LB ANTJUAN SIMMONS
The 6-foot-1, 207-pounder was an unknown a few months ago, but the Ann Arbor native is now one of the most sought-after prospects in the nation. The four-star talent earned his offer by standing out at both running back and linebacker at the Irish’s camp last summer. He visited Notre Dame again in the fall and would surprise us if wasn’t back in South Bend this spring. Simmons is going to visit a lot of programs over the next several months to get an idea of what he wants in a school, but the 2017 Notre Dame commits have already established a tremendous rapport with him.
The offer from the Irish back in September kicked off a stretch for Simmons that saw him land offers from several schools including Ohio State, Wisconsin, Miami, LSU, Penn State, Tennessee, Michigan, Michigan State, Georgia and UCLA among several others in less than two months.
Additional Analysis From Uyeyama: I’m not saying Simmons is Jaylon Smith because no one really is Smith as an athlete, but there are flashes on film that have that same ‘Wow’ quality Smith had as a prospect. It’s that speed and suddenness that allow him to close on backs and receivers in space that just jumps out at you.
Simmons is technically listed as an athlete and is ranked by some as a running back, but his best position is at linebacker in my opinion. He shows the kind of athleticism that makes me think he could be a heck of Sam in Notre Dame’s system. I wanted to see more of him working through the trash and shedding blocks to get a good read on him playing Will and he is undersized to play at inside linebacker right now. If he does gain that weight and show the instincts to play there later on, he could be a sideline-to-sideline presence and has the potential to be a heck of a blitzer.
He is a high-priority prospect and the kind of athlete Notre Dame needs at linebacker to compete for national titles.
LB DAVID ADAMS
The Pittsburgh native picked up his offer early from Notre Dame and visited this summer with teammate and one-time 2016 Notre Dame defensive back target Damar Hamlin and again in the fall. The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder loves what Notre Dame has to offer on and off the field and his parents love the school for the same reasons. Getting Adams back on campus this spring will only help put the Irish out in front for the four-star prospect.
Adams also has offers from schools like Stanford, Boston College, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Virginia, Virginia Tech and West Virginia among several others, but right now, it appears the Irish’s stiffest completion will come from the in-state schools, Pitt and Penn State.
Additional Analysis From Uyeyama: This is what a Mike backer is supposed to look like. He is an outstanding downhill player who attacks immediately because of great recognition skills. He takes good angles to the football and is a very strong tackler. There aren’t going to be many linebackers in any recruiting class who are as good against the run as Adams. He doesn’t get blocked a lot because he beats blocks before they get to him and does well to not stay blocked if he engages with a lineman.
He’s not the greatest athlete in coverage, but he is solid and fairly fluid in his drops. He has great potential as a blitzer with a knack for getting skinny to find a crease. He has a knack for timing up the snap as well. A smart and instinctive football player, he would be an outstanding fit in Notre Dame’s defense.
CB AMBRY THOMAS
When this Detroit native landed his offer from the Irish back in November, he immediately put them at the top of his list, saying it was the offer he’d been waiting on. Initially viewed as an athlete with the ability play receiver, defensive back and return kicks, Notre Dame seems to have settled on recruiting him as a cornerback and that’s certainly fine with Thomas.
The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder from Martin Luther King High School was just in South Bend for the Irish’s Junior Day last month. He plans to return this spring and fall for more. At one point, he talked about making a relatively early decision, but now expects to play it out, which will allow him the chance for more trips to schools like Ohio State, Michigan State, Ohio State, West Virginia, LSU and Florida. Still, the Irish have to like their current position.
Additional Analysis From Uyeyama: I had the chance to see Thomas at the Sound Mind/Sound Body camp before last season as well and he was an impressive athlete who was smooth in his backpedal and had great feet.
Transitions look easy for him and he shows good mirroring skills in man coverage. At 170 pounds, he definitely needs to add weight and strength, but has the kind of speed and long arms that have made him possibly the top cornerback prospect in the region. 2016 four0star Trayvon Mullen, who just signed with Clemson, was at the same camp I saw Thomas at and I felt Thomas was very comparable to Mullen as an athlete. They looked like they were in a different class than the majority of the defensive backs in attendance.
S JAYLEN KELLY-POWELL
Anytime a top a prospect from the Midwest is truly serious about academics and makes multiple trips to South Bend before his senior season, Notre Dame is going to be considered a threat and that’s certainly the case with this Detroit target. Kelly-Powell has a lengthy list of scholarship offers that also includes Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Nebraska, Northwestern, Stanford, Duke, Boston College, UCLA and Wisconsin among several others.
The Irish will definitely have to find a way to beat out other regional schools like Ohio State and Michigan along with other academic schools like Stanford, Northwestern and Duke, but they could find a way to make the pitch of offering both.
The Cass Tech standout was at Notre Dame for Junior Day last month and expects to make return trips in the future.
Additional Analysis From Uyeyama: Kelly-Powell comes from a very good program at Cass Tech, so he has competed alongside and against some tough competition throughout his high school career. His greatest strength is probably his versatility, which is so important for a safety in any system in the modern era of college football. His footwork needs to be cleaned up a bit, but he has the skills to play man coverage as a corner, to drop down into the box and play downhill versus the run and to play deep as a middle-of-field defender. He flips his hips really well and has very good long speed.
I see him as someone who can compete at strong or free safety or even as a big nickel in certain packages.
DB TYRELL AJIAN
The Ohio safety picked up an offer from Notre Dame a week before he visited South Bend for Irish Invasion. The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder returned for the Texas game in September and there were a few rumors Ajian committed to the Irish at the end of the season. The four-star prospect has Notre Dame out in front and is Notre Dame’s to lose at this stage. It will be good to get him back on campus in March to maintain the lead.
He also claims offers from schools like Michigan, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Illinois and Kentucky among others.
Additional Analysis From Uyeyama: Ajian is not the cleanest player in terms of his technique and needs to improve in a lot of areas, but when the ball is in the air on offense or defense, that’s where you see he has the potential to be great. His ball skills are very good.
When he is running with the ball or sees someone else running with it, he is pretty darn good as well. Right now, he is a guy with tremendous potential that’s a school-yard football player. He’ll run a guy down in the open field, square him up, and tackle through him on defense. He’ll touch the ball and make guys miss, but is raw as a route-runner. I’m not sure where he fits best, but right now I would settle on safety. He has exciting athletic potential.
Other 2017 Prospects To Watch
Author: ISD Admin
February 5, 2016
QB Hendon Hooker
Recruiting for the Class of 2016 is just about wrapped up and now the Class of 2017 will take the main stage.
Notre Dame already has five early commits for 2017 with FL Dillan Gibbons, PA OL Joshua Lugg, TX TE Brock Wright, IL TE Cole Kmet and GA DE Robert Beal.
We highlighted several uncommitted targets Notre Dame is already off to a great start with in our Best Bets, but obviously the Irish’s recruiting board is going to be much larger than that. Here are some other key prospects who could end up being important pieces of Notre Dame’s 2017 recruiting puzzle.
Some of these players are going to be extremely tough to wrestle away from the competition while others are still waiting on Notre Dame to offer or show more interest, but things tend to change quickly in recruiting.
QB Dylan McCaffrey: That’s right, there’s another McCaffrey and he’s a good one too. Ed McCaffrey’s son – or maybe he’s better known as Christian McCaffrey’s brother these days – already has offers from schools like UCLA, Michigan, Colorado, Nebraska and Penn State among others. Notre Dame has been in contact with the Colorado prospect and he certainly seems like a potential offer candidate.
QB Hendon Hooker: The North Carolina prospect was one of the best at the Army National Combine last month and told us Notre Dame is a school he’d like to visit if there was interest on the Irish’s part. There certainly seems to be at least preliminary interest from Notre Dame as Hooker recently told us he was trying to work out a time to throw in front of Irish offensive coordinator Mike Sanford. Hooker’s offer sheet currently includes Clemson, NC State, West Virginia, Pitt and Virginia among others.
More QBs to keep an eye on: CA Jack Sears, HI Tua Tagaloiva, CA Tyler Lytle
RB Ty Chandler
RB Ty Chandler: The four-star running back is from the same Montgomery Bell program in Tennessee as current Irish offensive lineman Alex Bars. Chandler picked up a Notre Dame offer in June. He also has offers from programs like Tennessee, Ohio State, Georgia, Auburn, LSU and Duke among others.
RB Stephen Carr: Currently a “soft commit” to USC, Carr announced he’d be considering other schools last month and has expressed interest in Notre Dame openly. The Irish reciprocated that interest by extending an offer on National Signing Day. He hails from the same Summit High School program as one-time 2016 Notre Dame target Damian Alloway. Carr plans on being a package deal with his friend, 2017 CA DB prospect Thomas Graham, who is also a soft commit to the Trojans.
RB Bruce Jordan-Swilling: Adopted son of former New Orleans Saints great Pat Swilling. Autry Denson visited the New Orleans native last week and all signs point to an offer from the Irish coming his way at some point. With offers already in from schools like LSU, Alabama and Oklahoma, he will be a tough pull, but Denson has shown the ability to get more than anyone expects out of these recruitments.
More RBs to keep an eye on: MD Anthony McFarland, GA Trey Sermon, CA Drake Beasley, TN Cordarrian Richardson, FL Robert Burns, NV Biaggio Walsh, FL Colin Wilson, VA Damone Drew, LA Javin Myers, OH Todd Sibley
WR Tarik Black
WR Tarik Black: Notre Dame recently extended an offer to this Connecticut product and it’s one he was definitely excited about. With others offers from Alabama, Michigan, Michigan State, Stanford and Miami, it’s clear the Cheshire Academy standout isn’t your typical Connecticut prospect. He’s friends with top Irish running back target A.J. Dillon. We wouldn’t be surprised to see him visit South Bend relatively soon.
WR Ryan Jones: The North Carolina native already has offers from schools like North Carolina, NC State, Clemson and Tennessee and other regional offers. Notre Dame has shown a significant amount of interest and Jones hoped to get to South Bend during the fall, but wasn’t able to. If the Irish are able to get him on campus this spring or summer, they should have a chance to impress him. But Jones also said he’d have a “huge announcement” on Friday morning, so we’ll have to wait to see what that is.
WR Isaiah Robertson: This Illinois target has seen his recruiting profile grow steadily. He currently has offers from schools like Illinois, Maryland, Iowa, Iowa State, Cincinnati and Indiana among others. He’s been to South Bend multiple times, including a stop at last month’s Junior Day. He’s good friends with 2016 Irish signee Julian Love and like Love, an offer from Notre Dame could dramatically change his recruitment.
WR Donovan Peoples-Jones: An elite Midwestern target who has already been on campus multiple times, the Detroit native would be a phenomenal pull for the Irish. But it’s going to be tough. Peoples-Jones’ offer sheet reads like that of an elite national target. He has the other Midwestern powers – Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State up there right now – while he’s said Florida was his dream school as a child. Still, he has a connection with Irish assistant Keith Gilmore and Notre Dame is certainly going to recruit the Cass Tech standout hard.
More WRs to keep an on: GA Trey Blount, CA Taariq Johnson, CA Joseph Lewis, TN Amari Rodgers, FL Josh Palmer, TX Charleston Rambo, FL Jerry Jeudy, FL Trevon Grimes, MI KJ Hamler, LA Jonathan Jones, CA Grant Calcaterra, LA Jonathan Jones
OL Austin Jackson
OL Walker Little: The Texas native got a visit from Irish offensive lineman Harry Hiestand a few weeks ago. The 6-foot-7 295-pounder doesn’t hold a Notre Dame offer yet, but it would be a big one for the four-star from Houston who grew up an Irish fan. He’s certainly a candidate to land one based on his current offer sheet, which already includes Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Alabama, LSU, Michigan, Florida and Stanford among others.
OL Austin Jackson: The four-star from Arizona picked up an Irish offer and got a visit from Hiestand a few weeks ago. Jackson is considered a USC lean, but Hiestand has a history of pulling the tough ones out and Jackson would be considered just that. With Dillan Gibbons and Josh Lugg already onboard, the Irish will be looking for truly elite targets to fill out the offensive line haul.
OL Alijah Vera-Tucker: The California native’s offer sheet is completely West Coast at this point with UCLA, Cal, Oregon and Washington, but he seems open to leaving home and even took an unofficial visit out to Notre Dame in October. Vera-Tucker has remained in contact with the coaching staff at Notre Dame and has expressed an interest in returning.
More OL to keep an on: CA Wyatt Davis, TX Austin Deculus, WA Foster Sarell, WA Henry Bainivalu, MN Blaise Andries, VA Mekhi Beckham
DE Corey Malone-Hatcher
DT Dayln-Wade Perry: Another young prospect who clearly means what he says when he talks about academics playing a huge role in his ultimate decision. The New Jersey native landed an offer from the Irish while in South Bend for an unofficial visit back in September. He also has offers from schools like Stanford, Northwestern, Duke, Rutgers, Alabama, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Penn State among others. At this point, the Cardinal seem to be positioned best, but it’s still early.
DT Greg Rogers: The four-star from Las Vegas wants a Notre Dame offer and the Irish checked on him during the spring evaluation period. The 6-foot-3, 295-pounder has no reservations leaving the West for the Midwest, but his offer sheet is littered with regional offers from schools like Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA and Washington among many others.
DT Donovan Jeter: The 6-foot-4, 270-pounder is one of the Midwest’s best in 2017 and already holds 21 offers from schools including Pitt, Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan State and several others. Notre Dame could need to play catch up, but the Beaver Falls, Pa., native should give the Irish a hard look.
DE Corey Malone-Hatcher: The talented prospect from nearby St. Joseph, Mich., has been down to South Bend more than a dozen times over the last several months. A case could be made to have him on the Best Bets list, but right now things seem to be trending elsewhere, specifically Michigan. Still, the academics and location certainly intrigue Malone-Hatcher, who has also offers from schools like Michigan State, Ohio State and Alabama.
DE Jaelan Phillips: The California defensive end landed an offer from the Irish on National Signing Day and he said it’s one he’s “honored” to have. Things moved quickly between Notre Dame and Phillips, who had received mostly mail prior to a DM from Irish assistant Mike Sanford on Wednesday morning, which eventually led to the offer. The next step is getting the 6-foot-5, 230-pounder out to South Bend, which is something he fully intends on doing, although he isn’t sure just yet when. He’s closing in on a dozen offers and counts schools like USC, UCLA, Stanford, Oregon, Washington, Oklahoma and Nebraska on that sheet. He’s made some early visits already and said he believes his ultimate decision will come down to a gut feeling.
DE Noah Curtis: We would consider Notre Dame the overwhelming favorite to land Curtis if the Irish ever end up offering the West Palm Beach native. Curtis recently picked up offers from North Carolina and Pittsburgh to go with an early offer from Florida Atlantic. He’s friends with Te’von Coney and Devin Studstill, who have had nothing but positives to say about Notre Dame. He’s hoping to get up to South Bend for a visit this spring.
DE Drew Jordan: This Georgia prospect exploded on the national scene with a truly dominant performance at the Army National Combine in San Antonio last month. His offer sheet currently includes Duke, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Boston College, Northwestern and Nebraska. Notre Dame’s interest at this point could be deemed preliminary, but we wouldn’t be surprised if that changed and if it did, we’d expect Jordan to have a lot of interest in the Irish as well.
DE Malik Herring: With 18 offers already from schools like Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, Clemson and Florida State among others, the four-star Georgia native will be an extremely tough pull. Still, Notre Dame has shown the will to stand toe to toe with the big boys.
More DL to keep an on: NJ Fred Hansard, FL Zachary Carter, FL Jarez Parks, MD Chase Young, MO Chester Graves, VA Eric Crosby, VA Darnell Ewell, CA DJ Johnson, VA Breyon Gaddy, MD Camaron Spence, NC Jake Lawler
LB Josh Ross
LB Maleik Gray: The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder is one of the nation’s best athletes and had tentative plans to visit South Bend for Junior Day in January, but then the weather prevented that trip from happening. The four-star has serious interest in Notre Dame and expect him to make it to campus this spring. His offer sheet already includes the Irish, Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, , Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State and UCLA among several others.
LB Robert Barnes: The Irish offered the four-star Oklahoma commit last month and according to sources in Texas, he could be a future outside linebacker at the next level. With Mike Sanford headlining the recruitment, it wouldn’t surprise us to see Notre Dame get a visit at some point in the process. In addition to the Sooners, Barnes’ offer sheet also includes the likes of Texas, Alabama, Baylor, Ohio State, Nebraska and Boston College.
LB Josh Clarke: Another top prospect from New Orleans in the 2017 class. Clarke already has offers from schools like Baylor, Florida, Georgia, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Arizona State and Tulane among others. Notre Dame’s interest so far has been preliminary, but Clarke has expressed a significant interest in the Irish and called Jaylon Smith his favorite player.
LB Josh Ross: Most people are predicting the Michigan prospect to stay home and be a Wolverine just like his older brother. In truth, we’d make the same projection at this point, but we’re not sure people recognize how interested he really is in Notre Dame. He has offers from all of the regional powers, including the Irish, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State. He’s already visited South Bend and has expressed an interest in returning.
LB Baron Browning: This Texas stud made a commitment to Baylor back in July, but he’s made it clear he’s still looking at other schools. With offers from Texas, Texas A&M, TCU, Oklahoma, Florida and Alabama as well, it may be difficult to get him even if he doesn’t stick with the Bears, but Browning says his interest in Notre Dame is serious and he’d like to visit.
More LBs to keep an on: TX Anthony Hines, CA Jaelan Phillips, IN Pete Werner, FL Vandarius Cowan, GA Nate McBride
CB Jamyest Williams
CB Jamyest Williams: Clemson is the early leader for the four-star athlete from Georgia, but Williams did make the trip to South Bend for Junior Day with his father. They left Notre Dame very impressed with the program and the Irish are in top five for Williams at this stage. Look for Notre Dame to push for a visit for Irish Invasion and it wouldn’t surprise us if Williams took an official to South Bend. Williams may be undersized, but he’s a dynamic talent who has already shown an ability to compete against the nation’s top players and has offers from almost every major program at this point.
CB DJ Brown: The 5-foot-11, 175-pounder from Georgia made his first visit to South Bend back in November and said his entire experience was “great.” Notre Dame hasn’t extended an offer yet, but Brown is interested enough to say there’s “no doubt” he wants to return. He has more than a dozen offers from schools like Wake Forest, Kentucky, Purdue, Central Florida, Wisconsin and UCLA.
S Chaz Ah-You: The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder from Utah has been on Notre Dame’s radar for several months now. He already has offers from schools like Utah, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, Michigan and Washington among several others. Ah-You told us he loves Notre Dame and would definitely be open to taking a visit to South Bend. We wouldn’t be surprised to see the Irish extend an offer sooner than later and for things to pick up quickly between both sites.
S Jeffery Okudah: The competition is going to be stiff for one of the top overall prospects in the state of Texas, but his interest in the Irish seems genuine. He says he keeps in close contact with the Irish staff including head coach Brian Kelly and defensive backs coach Todd Lyght. He’s also very close with current Notre Dame cornerback Nick Watkins. His offer sheet includes many of the top regional and national powers, so he’ll be a tough pull, but a talent that’s certainly worth the effort.
DB DeAngelo Gibbs: Another stud defensive back with offers from all of the nation’s best schools. At 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, the Georgia native has the size to play safety and the speed and athletic ability to play cornerback. He hasn’t made it to South Bend for a visit yet, but it’s a priority of his and we’re told the Irish will definitely be on the list when he trims his lengthy offer sheet to 10.
More DBs to keep an on: CA Thomas Graham, CA Darnay Holmes, WV Derrek Pitts, OH Marcus Williamson, PA Kenneth Bennett, MI Scott Nelson, IN Ben Stewart, FL Shaun Wade, GA LeAnthony Williams, LA Tre Swilling, IN RJ Potts, FL Stanford Samuels III, FL Daniel Wright
staff did a phenomenal job recruiting him - told him he could start at WR so he committed to ND...mich told him he couldn't play WR so he ditched them (Mich was at one point considered his leader)
try him out at WR, if it doesn't work out, move him to a different position - it's a win no matter what
for too long have we missed out on recruits for the exact reason of not telling them what they want to hear. glad we got him
If Claypool becomes anywhere close to Evans, that would be #nice
It would be interesting to see if they did this for the 2016 class and what it looked like.
i looked but i can't find it
I think ND might have to widen the search for LBs this cycle.
It is a good year at DB/ATH in the Midwest with A Thomas, JKP and T. Ajian.
Already have the 2 OL plus Smith and Wills would be fantastic.
Hopefully they can land Cage and Garrett with Beal, Kaindoh and another pass rusher would be a great haul.
denson needs to live at img
Michigan practicing there this spring makes me laugh. I hope we park the truck outside for the week and remind them who up here owns that place.
does our truck have an ohio state emblem on it? i kid... sort of
Maybe we should recruit some of these white Midwestern LBs that turn into all world at MSU, Wisconsin, or Iowa
For real for ten years I've wondered why ND stubornly refuses to recruit white lb's- they pass on all these guys who are begging for an ND offer and chase these Cali, Florida, and Texas kids who never end up coming to ND. We always end up with bad depth and bad numbers at LB
How quickly we forget about Joe Schmidt. But yea we need Midwest White LB's not California ones like Anthony Vernaglia or McDonald
Joe Schmidt was a walk on
and he fucking played like it in 2015
I'm not worried about white Lbs I just want Lbs who can play. Bilal, Hayes, Barajas and Morgan are all non-white, Midwest LBs so are all better than Bolden.
Bolden is a very solid recruit... he isn't on the USC, Alabama, Ohio State, FSU level which IMO ND should try and get.
we need to get david adams
Jarrett Grace - what could have been
We recruit the Catholic schools in Ohio extremely hard (just from Ignatius we've gotten Ryan - a white LB for you, Parris, Byrne, and Eichenburg over the last decade), but have whiffed on probably the two biggest talents of the last decade from there. Didn't recruit Luke Kuchely from St X or Jake Ryan from Ignatius.
Luckily, we've recruited well from the Ohio catholic schools the last 2-3 years (Kramer, Eichenburg, Crawford, Kizer, Cage, etc.). If Meyer gets his hand in that cookie jar, we'll take a hit in talent.
Jarrett Grace, Dan Fox, Carlo Calabrese, Anthony McDonald, Michael Deeb, Danny Spond, Ben Councell, Anthony Rabasa, David Poszluzny
We recruited the hell out of Analzone. He hasn't done shit at Florida. We passed on Bolden who went to Michigan. He may have been a slight upgrade over Schmidt, but not by a whole lot.
Yeah no thanks on the white LB
Don't disagree on that. Would rather Adams than Bolden.
But I still they need to try on J Ross, B Browning and some of those other elite guys with LB being such a huge need.
Lol forgot Fox, that's 5 from Ignatius last decade but we didn't get Jake Ryan
missing kuechly is so stupid, imagine him and manti in a diaco defense....with tuitt and kap.
I guess weis and dbl have a few things in common
spond was amazing in 2012, one of the best players on that D, besides that the track record isnt great. Think calabrese and fox were good enough btw, just not great
To be fair everyone missed on LK. It's not like he was J Smith in HS or something.
Yeah, Spond doesn't belong in that group.
Wish we would have offered that white from Ohio that went to BC. Tuckey or something like that. Hope he doesn't turn into kuechkly 2.0.
We already have a good punter...
Shame on you if you don't get the reference
Out of that list I only had expectations for Calabrese and McDonald- the rest we kind of knew weren't going to be good. Jarrett Grace likely would've and still might be a good player but injuries. Danny Spond should be in the NFL and is to this day the best RKG by Kelly ever. This isnt exactly my point- what I'm trying to say is projects who arent LBs that are white probably isnt the right route. ND should be targeting these Midwest LBs better guys who actually played the position in high school- even if they don't turn into All Americans they provide depth to go after the Caleb Kelly's, Manti Teo's, Jaylon Smiths etc
Drob no longer visiting any other schools ... so basically if he gets into stanford he will visit and commit there if not hes coming to ND
to be fair all the white LBs at Sparty have literally been from the same family that has played football there for like 50 fucking years
Multiple reports that the Stanford staff hasn't been in contact with him in several weeks leading people to believe that he's still a long way off from getting in.
Who the fuck knows though.
Ivins the recruiting guy at Rivals - haha
"Forgot to add this one ... kids shouldn't make up Notre Dame offers because I'm going to expose them. Remember when Florida State four-star offensive tackle signee Jauan Williams said last month that Notre Dame had offered? I was told that Hiestand hadn't even watched his film. Same goes for that Michael Badejo kid who signed with SMU. Notre Dame had never heard of him."
"Haha. I wish I could post DRob nuggets today. I just want his recruitment to be over at this point."
Yeah Spond was definitely pretty good, I was just pointing out all of the white LB we have recruited recently. He is the outlier of that group.
I just don't see any white LB we are missing out on that would make it a good idea to do what he is suggesting. Missing on Kuechly (when everyone else in the Midwest did too) doesn't make it a reoccurring problem.
If you want to get pissed about a white guy Sam Hubbard is on the top of that list.
Keuchly wanted to be at ND. Shame. Hubbard was a lax but couldn't get a football offer and will end up being a draft choice as a 3-4 OLB or 4-3 DE
Adams, Simmons and the Werner kid from Indiana would be a good start
I remember watching Kuechly's film from high school and thought he was a better prospect than Dan Fox who they chose over him. I thought he was marginally better than Dan Fox so I am an expert at film analysis based off of 2-3 min highlights on rivals
just watched those phone call clips, coach sanford is just awesome and legitimately funny. Need to hold on to that guy