Welcome to the latest installment of the OFD Big Board. Today we're back with another look at the defensive side of the ball and we are tracking any progress the Irish have made since our last update.
We've had a small handful of verbals since our last update. The Irish were trying to get a closer look at (CA) DT Tashon Smallwood .894 but he committed to Arizona State four days ago. NC State got a big verbal over the weekend from (NC) DE Kentavius Street .958 and he's the Wolf Pack's top recruit for this class by a mile.
Not long after our last update the Irish gained the verbal from (MI) DE Jhonathon Williams .840 who should begin his career as a Cat linebacker in Notre Dame's scheme. Also, Notre Dame received a commitment from (TX) DE Kolin Hill .863 last night who further boosts the linebacker corps depth.
Back in the summer Notre Dame got a visit from Jaylen Johnson and had some positive momentum built up but things fell off and he gave a verbal to Boise State in mid-September. Just this past week Johnson left the Broncos class and has opened things back up. It it doubtful if the Irish spend much time trying to get back into it with him with so few scholarships available.
The Irish are still in it with Elam although Kentucky and Alabama (despite verbals from 5 defensive linemen already) will be tough to beat. He just came off another visit to Lexington this weekend.
Holley has eliminated Notre Dame and will decide between Penn State and Florida.
Notre Dame is trying to get Thomas to come for an official visit but it hasn't happened yet. He'll visit Stanford, Arkansas, and Ohio State next month.
The Irish may still get a visit from Williams but we'll see.
Just yesterday the Irish received a verbal from (IL) LB Nile Sykes .872 who helps boost the depth at inside linebacker. He visited over the weekend and finally pulled the trigger after being offered two months ago.
Nyles Morgan remains (arguably) the biggest target on the board for Notre Dame and things have been trending hard for the Irish since he visited 3 times over a 5 week span from late October to late November. Morgan thought about visiting Vanderbilt this weekend but ultimately stayed home although he was visited at home by Commodores head coach James Franklin. He received a visit this past Thursday from Brian Kelly.
A long time ago the Irish were showing some interest with (CA) DB Jonathan Lockett .898 but he joined Washington's class in the middle of summer. On December 9th he left the Huskies and committed to USC a couple of days later.
The lone target left for Notre Dame in the secondary is Hendrix who is believed to be leaning towards Notre Dame. However, he had a good visit to Texas Tech in the first week of December and is coming off a visit to Arkansas this past weekend as well.
|.898||Grant Blakenship||TX||6-6/252||Defensive End|
|.860||Jonathan Bonner||MO||6-4/250||Defensive End|
|.863||Kolin Hill||TX||6-2/220||Defensive End|
|.931||Andrew Trumbetti||NJ||6-5/250||Defensive End|
|.840||Jhonathon Williams||MI||6-6/237||Defensive End|
|.891||Matt Dickerson||CA||6-5/275||Defensive Tackle|
|.909||Jay Hayes||NY||6-5/260||Defensive Tackle|
It appears Notre Dame is set to take this class to the 25 limit, which would mean only 1 fifth-year player will be invited back, assuming no other attrition. With the recent verbals of Nile Sykes and Kolin Hill the Irish are sitting at 22 commits which includes the verbal of WR Isaiah McKenzie.
Tight end prospect Tyler Luatua is set to announce today on the 16th and if he joins the #GoldenArmy14 it appears Notre Dame will be working with 2 more scholarships pending the test results of McKenzie.
That's not a lot of room to work as we approach National Signing Day. The coaching staff should leave at least 1 scholarship open as we close in on National Signing Day for the ELITE prospects and with the numbers squeeze and not a huge need at safety it wouldn't surprise me if Hendrix ends up at Texas Tech or Arkansas.