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2015 Notre Dame Recruiting Big Board: Defense

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The Notre Dame coaching staff is not playing it safe at the safety position.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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Welcome back to the OFD Big Board for January 13, 2015.

Defensive Tackle
Score Player State Ht/Wt. Temperature 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.905 Darrion Daniels TX 6-3/290 Cold
.992 Rasheem Green CA 6-5/275 Cold
.991 Daylon Mack TX 6-0/330 Cold
.936 Joseph Wicker CA 6-2/265 Cold

A trio of tackles came off the board recently as we inch our way closer to National Signing Day. First, the top player in the Provinces (ON) Neville Gallimore .964 gave his pledge to Bob Stoops and the Oklahoma Sooners.

Gallimore becomes Oklahoma's top-rated commit of 2015 so far.

Another program who picked up their best recruit of this cycle was Virginia Tech who gets (VA) Tim Settle .960 to stay in state with Frank Beamer.

Our last commit at tackle for this update is (CT) Christian Wilkins .979 who dominated at the Under Armour All-American Game and committed to Clemson a few days later.

For a while it seemed as though Darrion Daniels was heading to Texas Tech but he's setting up an official visit to Iowa and thinking about some Big Ten football.

Take heart Irish fans, as we will not be facing Daylon Mack in next year's opener as he cancelled his official visit to Texas and instead will be going to see Auburn.

As previously reported, Rasheem Green is down to a trio of Pac-12 schools, plus Miami. He'll be taking visits soon.

Notre Dame thought why not send Green a Pot of Gold recruiting package anyway?

Joseph Wicker is down to UCLA, Arizona State, and Texas Tech with an official visit to Los Angeles coming up later this month. You have to think the Bruins like the position they are in right now.

Defensive End
Score Player State Ht/Wt. Temperature 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.998 Byron Cowart FL 6-4/250 Cold
.996 CeCe Jefferson FL 6-2/250 Cold

A couple of big official visits are coming up for Byron Cowart, including this weekend at Auburn. If there was a player Notre Dame could magically land in this class he'd be my guy.

If that wasn't enough for Auburn they'll also be hosting another 5-star this weekend in CeCe Jefferson. He will have one more official visit available following this trip to Auburn.

One of the more interesting wrinkles to these players is that they both took one curious official visit as Jefferson went to Cincinnati and Cowart to Maryland.

The Irish may like to add another pass rusher but nothing has been popping up on the radar for months. Next cycle is going to be a big one for this position.

Outside Linebacker
Score Player State Ht/Wt. Temperature 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.968 Porter Gustin UT 6-5/240 Cold
.955 Jeffery Holland FL 6-2/230 Cold
.982 John Houston CA 6-3/211 Cold
.981 Osa Masina UT 6-4/230 Cold
.868 Arthur McGinnis LA 6-2/226 Cold

Watch out for Porter Gustin making official visits to Arizona State and Ohio State this month. We're moving the Utah product to Cold as Notre Dame hasn't been able to make a move since his official visit months ago.

Someone like Arthur McGinnis may have been a bigger priority had Notre Dame not met their quota with 3 linebackers in this class. With Tevon Coney enrolling this week the Irish are all wrapped up. You can see McGinnis making visits to Arizona and Oklahoma this month.

Osa Masina is making his college decision on January 23rd from USC, UCLA, and Arizona State with the Trojans the expected choice in a close call.

Corner
Score Player State Ht/Wt. Temperature 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.945 Frank Buncom IV CA 6-1/190 Mild
.948 Holton Hill TX 6-2/184 Cold
.914 Jaylon Lane TX 6-1/177 Cold
.997 Iman Marshall CA 6-1/190 Mild
.851 Chris Williamson GA 6-1/190 Cold

Notre Dame has reached out and offered a new defensive back in Chris Williamson from T.J. Jones' alma mater Gainesville High School.

The Irish coaching staff is looking to get Williamson on campus sometime later this month. He is visiting North Carolina this weekend and will visit Florida right before National Signing Day.

The rich got richer as (TX) Kendall Sheffield .991 committed to Alabama back on January 2nd. That gives the Tide their fifth recruit with 5-star Composite status and their ninth recruit with a .970 Composite score or higher.

A ton of travel is on the docket for Iman Marshall as he'll be visiting Florida State, Michigan, LSU, and Oregon within the next couple weeks.

Most experts would be stunned if Marshall went anywhere not named USC. Despite not taking an official visit to the Trojans' campus he's been to USC nearly a dozen times over the past 18 months.

There's no doubt that Notre Dame wants Frank Buncom IV really bad but Stanford still presumably leads.

He'll be visiting California in a couple weekends, while Brian Kelly has been saving his in-home visit.

Safety
Score Player State Ht/Wt. Temperature 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.863 Hunter Dale LA 5-11/195 Cold
.963 DeChaun Holiday CA 6-2/195 Cold
.833 Denzel Johnson SC 6-2/187 Cold
.870 Justin Reid LA 6-0/193 Mild

One more safety came off the board as (CA) Marvell Tell .969 committed to Southern California at the U.S. Army All-American Game. The Trojans defensive backfield is going to be loaded beyond belief in the coming years.

Technically, the Irish are still alive for Hunter Dale who last gave a top list of Miami, Florida, Arizona State, Arizona, Oregon, and Ole Miss in addition to Notre Dame. He'll be visiting Arizona State next weekend.

Notre Dame will be receiving an official visit from Justin Reid next weekend after which he'll visit in-state LSU right before NSD. The Irish really need for something to happen when he comes to South Bend.

A name to keep an eye on as Notre Dame expands his safety recruiting and backup plans is Washington State commit (CA) Kameron Powell .876 who has been in contact with the Irish for a while. He's been a Cougar commit since May 6th of 2014.

Lastly, there's a new update for Irish commit (TX) Prentice McKinney .875 who spoke directly with Rivals on Sunday night.

You can read the full story here ($$$) and the synopsis is that he received a Pot of Gold from Notre Dame, doesn't know where the rumors about his academic issues are coming from, is ranked in the top 10 of his class, and is no longer visiting UCLA.

However, he did point out that he won't be making it to UCLA because of his basketball playoffs. Be that as it may, most of the Notre Dame recruiting experts do not think McKinney is going to be a part of the 2015 class.