If you're a Notre Dame football fan, you're probably in a really good mood right now. The Irish just put up 31 points against the SEC's top defense and finished the 2014 season on a high note with a win versus LSU.
And if you care about recruiting, the good mood is likely going to continue this weekend because you'll get to see future members of the Fighting Irish football program compete against the best of the best in the three major high school all-star games. There are 15 total commitments taking part in the three games this weekend. That's 15 out of 22, which, by my math, is a pretty good number to see.
Not only that, but there are a few other recruiting targets of interest for Notre Dame fans to watch this weekend. Every game is going to be nationally televised as well. Here is who's taking part that you should keep an eye on starting Friday afternoon with the first game of the weekend.
2015 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game (Friday, Jan. 2 at 4pm E.S.T on ESPN2)
There are four Irish commits taking part in the game: Linebacker Tevon Coney, cornerback Shaun Crawford, quarterback Brandon Wimbush, and kicker Justin Yoon.
Coney was a late invite to the game, but has been impressive in practices during the week thus far. I'm not surprised at all by this after seeing him in person at The Opening. He's better in coverage than most people would assume if they just watched his highlight tape and he does an outstanding job of working through the muck to find the football on inside runs. His recognition skills are severely underrated. He's someone I would expect to be around the football a lot during the game on Friday. (Just in case anyone was still worried about Coney and his commitment to ND, he told Florida's Rivals site that he was sticking with the Irish)
Crawford is always going to be in tough because of his size and there are some giants he will have to match up with on the outside at a game like this. It's not a surprise that Crawford is also doing really well this week though. If he was a couple of inches taller, I truly believe he'd be a 5 star player.
It's always tougher for quarterbacks in these kind of games throwing to new receivers while running an offense that is foreign to them. So news of Wimbush and every other quarterback participating struggling a bit is not out of the ordinary. I'm sure we'll see him take plenty of snaps in the game on Friday and get a sneak preview of the guy who will eventually be starting in place of Malik Zaire in a bowl game a couple of years from now. (Just kidding. I hope that this doesn't happen. But it probably will)
I haven't seen any reports on Yoon this week, but he'll definitely get the chance to showcase his leg during the game. Keep a close eye on him because he'll likely be the guy taking Kyle Brindza's job next season. This next Vine looks pretty promising. Here you go, Punter Bro:
This game also features a few big time Notre Dame targets who the Irish are still heavily pursuing.
Iman Marshall is long shot to choose Notre Dame, but so was Manti T'eo and that's forcing me to hold out hope. He's considered the best cornerback in the nation for a reason and is backing it up this week.
The buzz about Soso Jamabo is that the Irish are behind UCLA and that he is going to take other visits. Not unexpected, but still disappointing because the Irish need another back and adding him would be massive. He's been working out at wide receiver and running back during practice.
Running back Ronald Jones II is choosing between Notre Dame and USC during the game. So prepare yourself to be excited or extremely disappointed. Rivals.com's Mike Farrell is predicting ND while just about everyone else seems to be picking USC. If you only care about the recruits picking ND part of these game, Jones is a reason to watch or at least check Twitter multiple times.
The target mostly likely to be Irish also has the greatest name of anyone who ever lived. Wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown has showed some nice things this week after having what many consider a bit of a disappointing senior season. He has the talent to be a number one receiver at the college level and is planning on making a signing day decision.
2015 US Army All-American Bowl (Saturday, Jan. 3 at 1pm E.S.T. on NBC)
Notre Dame has five commitments taking part in second of the three all-star games.
The future linebacking corps at Notre Dame is going to be very, very good. Josh Barajas has been making plays all week.
Tristen Hoge struggled quite a bit when I watched him at The Opening against players like 5 star defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie, but it sounds like he is starting to get the hang of the step up in competition and showing why he is so highly ranked. He needs to fill out a bit and get stronger right now, but he should be a a really good interior lineman for Notre Dame that starts for multiple seasons.
The other Irish linebacker commit that is playing in this game has apparently showed out. It's encouraging to hear that Asmar Bilal has done well in coverage because it was something I felt he needed to improve on in terms of his overall instincts.
Safety Nicco Fertitta is playing with a cast so he'll fit right in with the rest of the Irish defense. Here he is making a nice play with his non-cast hand in coverage.
Boy, that LSU win feels even better knowing we have Jerry Tillery locked up. I guess we shouldn't get too used to him playing offensive line because it sounds like the plan is for him to start at defensive tackle when he gets to South Bend. He'll be playing guard and tackle in the game this week though.
Notre Dame has a good shot at landing at least a couple of recruiting targets who are also playing in this game. Jordan Cronkrite might be the best shot left at landing another running back for Notre Dame if Ronald Jones II doesn't commit on Friday so he's someone to pay close attention to on NBC this Saturday.
The other recruit who could very well be Irish is Fertitta's high school teammate, tight end Alize Jones. The momentum seems to be working in Notre Dame's favor, but we'll see how the next few weeks play out.
The two other targets have to be considered long shots at best. Ykili Ross has been performing well this week at receiver, but please ignore the Notre Dame hat on the table in front of him when he is choosing his school on Saturday. He's all but locked up to USC.
Linebacker/defensive end Porter Gustin would be an awesome get for Notre Dame. Unfortunately, he is probably going to stay out west to attend school.
Practices are just getting started for the Semper Fi game so there is little to report about what is going on there with less media attending and only one day of practice so far. There are several commitments taking part though that you can check out late on Sunday night.
Wide receiver Miles Boykin is going to be there, but won't be participating because of injury. I haven't read any updates on safety Prentice McKinney or defensive tackles Brandon Tiassum and Micah Dew-Treadway yet, but all should take part in the game on Sunday. McKinney might end up not sticking with Notre Dame, but we'll have to wait and see how that plays out.
The only non-commit that Irish fans should keep an eye on is safety Frank Buncom IV. He is expected to make his decision in the next couple of weeks.