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Notre Dame Football Recruiting Big Board: Defense

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Hey recruits, come to Notre Dame and be like this guy!
Hey recruits, come to Notre Dame and be like this guy!
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

big board new

Welcome back to the One Foot Down recruiting Big Board for Fighting Irish football. Many prospects have come off the board recently as recruiting season has heated up around the country, so we're switching to doing sides of the ball instead of position groups.

Corner
Score Player State Ht/Wt. Temperature 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.940 Jordan Fuller NJ 6-2/190 Mild
.933 Damar Hamlin PA 6-1/175 Mild
.952 Lamar Jackson CA 6-3/205 Cold
.922 JoeJuan Williams TN 6-2/195 Mild

Entering the Field

No new offers or decommits to report.

In Play

Jordan Fuller took an unofficial visit to Notre Dame over the summer and liked it enough that he said he'd be back for an official visit in the fall. That visit hasn't been scheduled yet, but the Irish are still in the running here and will do everything they can to get him on campus.

Damar Hamlin just visited for the USC game and enjoyed his time, as he generally has on his multiple visits to Notre Dame. Unfortunately, it seems more and more that the local pull will prove too strong for him and he'll ultimately sign with Pitt. Of note is that his very good friend Paris Ford, an elite 2017 safety and the brother of former Irish standout Darrin Walls, just committed to Pitt.

Lamar Jackson just finished an official visit to Michigan and named the Wolverines his leader, per 247 ($). Jackson had scheduled an official to Notre Dame for the Texas game; he cancelled and said he would reschedule, but that hasn't happened yet. In the interim he has taken officials to Utah, Arizona, and Arizona State as well, so he has only one spot left - with no official visit here, the Irish have no chance, so watch where that fifth one goes.

Tennessean JoeJuan Williams has generated some buzz lately in the recruiting media. He had been trending to Vandy for a time; while they're still in the running, from this 247 article it appears he has broadened his sights a bit. He was ruled ineligible after a transfer before this season, so the early enrollee has been hitting the books to preserve his GPA. He announced a commitment date of December 6th, and scheduled an official visit to Penn State. That's the only visit so far, although he is looking to set up others. He hasn't talked about Notre Dame in a while.

Off the Board

Eric Cuffee released a top five last week of Auburn, Ole Miss, TCU, Texas, and Texas A&M. Cuffee visited for Irish Invasion and took an official for the Texas game and enjoyed both trips, but he was always going to be a tough pull out of Texas. He seems to be trending towards Texas A&M.

High four-star Kristian Fulton kinda-sorta named a list of finalists by saying who would get his five official visits - Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Ole Miss, and Texas A&M. LSU isn't on the list but he visits them constantly and they're still considered the heavy favorite to land him. The Irish were never really in this race, as you can probably guess from the prospective visit list.

Trayvon Mullen just tweeted his list of 13 finalists - way to trim it down, kid... Feel free to follow the link and read through the list at your leisure, but I'll save you some time and let you know Notre Dame isn't on there. Florida State is the presumed leader here.

Donte Vaughn is Irish! Trending towards Notre Dame since Junior Day and even more strongly since Irish Invasion, Vaughn finally made it official on his birthday last week.

Safety
Score Player State Ht/Wt. Temperature 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.948 Brandon Burton CA 6-2/195 Mild
.988 Brandon Jones TX 5-11/183 Cold
.871 DJ Morgan CA 6-3/205 Mild
.865 Ikenna Okeke TN 6-2/200 Warm
.865 Devin Studstill FL 6-1/180 Warm
.857 Chacho Ulloa CA 6-0/190 Mild
.963 Nigel Warrior GA 6-0/175 Cold

Entering the Field

No new offers to report.

In Play

Californian Brandon Burton made it to his official visit for the USC game and by all accounts was very impressed. He'll be a tough pull out of California but Mike Denbrock is working very hard here and is the main reason the Irish are in the picture.

Ikenna Okeke also visited for the USC game. He wants to take a couple visits more and then make his decision - but will he still have a spot at that point? The Irish staff likes him but not enough to hold a spot indefinitely.

Devin Studstill, on the other hand, is a guy they'll wait for. Studstill also visited for the USC game - we could've made an entire defensive backfield just out of USC visitors. His relationship with former teammate Te'Von Coney is important, but he also is very interested in Notre Dame on its own merits. The Irish probably lead here, but visits to home-state Miami and West Virginia, where his father played, loom. Watch the tea leaves after those visits.

Nigel Warrior has talked about visiting Notre Dame but has yet to set anything up. The Tennessee legacy did just set an official visit up to Ohio State, though. Tennessee probably leads, but Ohio State and Georgia are definitely in play as well. Warrior has said he'll cut his top ten (which Notre Dame is in) to a top five soon but isn't sure when he'll do that.

Off the Board

I don't know how I missed this, but a very long time ago (in recruiting terms), all the way back in August, Brandon Jones announced a top six of Alabama, Baylor, LSU, Oregon, Texas, and Texas A&M. Very, very early in the recruiting cycle - like spring of last year - he had some fleeting interest in Notre Dame, but that's about as far as it got. I always remember that his hometown is Nacogdoches, TX because he shares it with USMNT star Clint Dempsey. Random trivia.

DJ Morgan is Irish! Where should I set the over/under line on how many times we'll hear during broadcasts over the course of his career that he's Skylar Diggins's cousin? It'll be the "Joe Schmidt was a walk-on!" of the next generation...

The mellifluously named Chacho Ulloa committed to Stanford. This was probably a mutual decision - I think he liked Notre Dame but Stanford was always his first choice, and I think Notre Dame liked him but liked other prospects more and pursued them harder. Everybody wins in the end.

Inside Linebacker
Score Player State Ht/Wt. Temperature 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.938 Dontavious Jackson TX 6-2/239 Cold

Entering the Field:

No new offers were extended to inside linebackers since our last update.

In Play:

As we noted last time, Dontavious Jackson hasn't officially made any cuts beyond his top twelve. He took official visits to UCLA and Florida State already and had one tentatively scheduled for Michigan, but it's looking now like he might scratch that one. Bleacher Report talked to him and he mentioned a bunch of possibilities for the rest of his official visits, but he didn't talk about Notre Dame. We're not officially out, but it looks more likely he'll end up elsewhere.

Off the Board:

No commitments or eliminations to report.

Outside Linebacker
Score Player State Ht/Wt. Temperature 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.988 Ben Davis AL 6-4/230 Cold
.895 Aaron Hansford DC 6-2/210 Warm
.876 Jonathan Jones FL 6-0/225 Mild
.989 Caleb Kelly CA 6-3/215 Cold
.959 Jeffrey McCulloch TX 6-2/230 Mild

Entering the Field:

No new offers to report.

In Play:

Ben Davis took an official visit to Georgia and had some very positive things to say, but as we've said for a long time, it's hard to imagine the Alabama legacy and Tuscaloosa resident going anywhere but Alabama.

Aaron Hansford had an excellent official visit, with his family in tow, for the Georgia Tech game. The Irish are probably in the lead for his services right now, although it's far from a done deal. He has also taken official visits to Michigan State and Oregon, intends to take an official to UCLA (who's recruiting him as a receiver!), and has a host of schools to choose from for his fifth visit.

Jonathan Jones was the lone official visitor for the UMass game and got a lot of attention from the staff. He definitely came away impressed by the experience and has legitimate interest in Notre Dame, but Michigan may prove too hard to fend off.

Caleb Kelly still has his official visit locked in for the football banquet. He has already taken officials to Michigan and Oregon, and will take one to Oklahoma next month. As with any talented Fresno kid coached by "DB Guru" Tony Perry, Kelly looks to be an Oklahoma lean. He may be a bit different from the Fresno kids who have broken our hearts the last few years, though; Notre Dame is still definitely the dark horse here, but it's a horse that is really in the race.

Jeffrey McCulloch just came off an official visit for the USC game and reportedly loved everything he saw - and, perhaps more importantly, so did his mother. He may be difficult to pull out of Texas, but expect the Irish to be a serious player going forward for the elite Texan.

Off the Board:

No new commitments or eliminations to report.

Defensive Tackle
Score Player State Ht/Wt. Temperature 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.999 Rashan Gary NJ 6-4/290 Cold
.977 Antwuan Jackson GA 6-2/285 Cold
.990 Dexter Lawrence NC 6-5/310 Cold

New On The Scene:

No new offers or decommits on the inside.

In Play:

Stop me if you've heard this one - #1 overall prospect Rashan Gary has reportedly talked about visiting Notre Dame, but nothing is official or even beyond rumor at this point. He recently talked to NJ.com about his official visits - he has taken one to Michigan, has scheduled one to Auburn, and intends to schedule visits to LSU and USC. He said he wasn't sure who would get his fifth visit. I'm a naturally optimistic guy, but I just don't think it's going to happen.

Dexter Lawrence says his recruitment is still wide open, but the only schools he ever talks about are in the South, plus Ohio State and USC. It's hard to handicap where he'll end up, but odds are incredibly slim that it'll be Notre Dame.

Off the Board:

Antwuan Jackson tweeted his six finalists - Auburn and Ohio State are his co-leaders, with Alabama, Clemson, Florida, and Georgia rounding out the group. Ohio State people seem to feel pretty good about their chances, but he has visited Auburn an awful lot and will continue to do so in the near future.

Defensive End
Score Player State Ht/Wt. Temperature 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.992 Oluwole Betiku CA 6-3.5/240 Cold
.946 Daelin Hayes MI 6-4/250 Mild
.920 Khalid Kareem MI 6-4/260 Warm
.896 Carlo Kemp CO 6-3/255 Warm
.952 Justin Madubuike TX 6-3/255 Cold

New On The Scene:

Khalid Kareem returns to the Big Board after decommitting from Alabama. He quickly set up an official visit for the USC game; he was joined by both parents on the visit. As always, there's a long way to go yet, but he seems right now to be trending fairly strongly towards the Irish. A commitment from Kareem would change the face of DL recruiting in this class. No pressure, kid.

In Play:

Oluwole Betiku cancelled his visit for the USC game and rescheduled it for the football banquet. I do think Betiku is a Notre Dame type of kid and has some level of real interest in at least seeing what the university is really like, but I can't say I'm optimistic he'll ever make it to campus either. The wildcard here is that Brandon Burton, who as we noted above had a good time on his visit, is Betiku's teammate and could be an additional voice supporting a visit to South Bend. We shall see.

Daelin Hayes looked ready to decommit from USC, then seemed to solidify his commitment, then finally made it an actual decommitment by backing away from the Trojans when all the Sarkisian stuff went down. He took an official visit for the USC game as well and strengthened ties with the Irish staff, players, and recruits. He'll take other visits, but we seem to be moving towards "when not if" when discussion the likelihood of Hayes committing to Notre Dame.

Carlo Kemp took an official visit to Notre Dame for the Navy game, sandwiched between officials to Michigan and Colorado. Colorado isn't really in it here - it's really Michigan in the lead, with Notre Dame deciding how hard they want to push for him. Should be an interesting one to watch.

Off the Board:

No commitments or eliminations to report.