Today marks the first of three high school all-star games in which Notre Dame verbal commitments and targets will participate. In recent years, these have been a key piece to recruiting and are generally filled with several hat selection ceremonies throughout.
This year's editions will be a bit different than in years past, given new NCAA rules against coaching staffs attending these games. The long-term impact of the rule change may not have much of an impact, but that remains to be seen. The participants love the exposure and the time spent with their fellow athletes even if the games generally lack much entertainment value.
St. Petersburg, FL -- Thursday, Jan. 2nd -- 4 PM ET (ESPN)
Verbal Commitments (6)
John "JuJu" Smith
- It is hard to believe that this marks the 7th Under Armour game-it doesn't seem that old, does it? The Irish commit turning the most heads during practice this week was Andrew Trumbetti, who will report to South Bend in a few weeks along with fellow early enrollee Justin Brent.
- Alex Bars started slow during the week per SBN's Bud Elliott, but came on later in the week during some 1-on-1 drills. He will be starting at tackle for Team Nitro.
- JuJu Smith turned in an impressive week of work, but still has visits to take in January. Notre Dame is still in the race (some think the Irish lead by a small margin), but he isn't set to announce until around National Signing Day.
- Isaiah McKenzie is still trying to navigate the hurdles to gain admission to Notre Dame. If he does, he will end up with the Irish.
San Antonio, TX -- Saturday, Jan. 4th -- 1 PM ET (NBC)
Verbal Commitments (3)
- Nic Weishar had a great week of practice and is drawing comparisons to Tyler Eifert.
- Elam, Thomas and Lazard all but eliminated Notre Dame over the past few weeks.
- Nyles Morgan has made his decision and will be announcing on Saturday during the game. Experts think that he is headed to South Bend.
Carson, CA -- Sunday, Jan. 5th -- 9 PM ET (NFL Network)
Verbal Commitments (1)
- This is only the 3rd year for the Semper Fi bowl, and it hasn't drawn nearly as much attention as the Under Armour or US Army Bowls.
- Hendrix recently verbally committed to Texas Tech. He was a strong ND lean and reports state that he tried to commit to Notre Dame but was asked to wait.
- Brown flipped to Cal in November after committing to Washington earlier in the fall. I think the Irish are all but eliminated now.