Before the season, I don't know how many people had Wake Forest circled as a key recruiting weekend. If you did, well, kudos to you; also, you should probably check out this site. From a 2016 visitor who could single-handedly change the face of this class, to a bundle of 2017 visitors who could keep the strong momentum going in that class, this weekend has a lot more intrigue than certainly I, at least, would've imagined in August.
Players who have already committed to ND are in italics; rankings are given as 247 Composite overall/position.
Oluwole Betiku, WDE, #10/#1
Damian Alloway, APB, #174/#4
Khalid Kareem, SDE, #195/#9
DJ Morgan, S, #449/#25
Trey Blount, WR, #248/#39
DJ Brown, CB, #639/#54
Avery Davis, QB, #289/#8 (offer)
Stuart Head, S, #584/#50
Anthony Humm, S, NR/NR
Corey Malone-Hatcher, WDE, #174/#8 (offer)
Mac Hippenhammer, WR, NR/NR
Oluwole Betiku is a game-changer prospect in every way. He would have a good shot at being an instant starter and would absolutely be an instant contributor. He's the kind of prospect who could be good enough to be a three-year starter - not because he doesn't start as a freshman, but because he doesn't play college ball after three years. Seriously, he's that good. The #10 overall prospect in the 2016 cycle would bring the Irish class from very good to phenomenal. I'm not kidding. If Khalid Kareem and (possibly) Daelin Hayes are competing for the second-best defensive end spot in your class, you're doing embarrassingly well.
Notre Dame is playing from behind here, but Betiku is a different kind of kid who could be very impressed on this visit. He's a Nigerian immigrant who understands the value of long-term decisions; ultimately he could probably make it to the NFL from anywhere, but he'll get what's different about Notre Dame. The staff will no doubt get him around kids who will resonate with him - Jaylon Smith, Max Redfield, Jerry Tillery, Romeo Okwara, etc. Will it be enough to win him over? We'll have to see. Whatever happens, Mike Denbrock deserves a ton of credit for getting Betiku on campus.
Damian Alloway almost seemed like an Irish lock in the summer, but now it feels more like this is Notre Dame's last shot. The longer his recruitment goes, the less likely it seems that the Irish will be able to lure him away from the west coast. Alloway is an explosive athlete that the staff would love to put in the slot as a fitting successor to/time-share candidate with CJ Sanders. It's very interesting that Betiku and Alloway are both California kids coming to South Bend in November - and for Alloway, this is his second visit. If nothing else, you know their interest is legitimate.
It's also interesting that California commit DJ Morgan and defensive line commit Khalid Kareem will be on campus. Coincidence? Maybe. Or maybe the staff wanted to get Betiku and Alloway around high schoolers they could relate to, too. Both Morgan and Kareem are solid, with Kareem still on pace to be an early entry.
Lot of visitors from the 2017 cycle, too... Trey Blount will make the trek from Georgia on his own dime. As usual, he may prove difficult to pull out of the South. He's a solid four-star prospect in his own right, but as a mid-90's ND guy I can't help but be reminded of the aptly named and seldom-used Leon Blunt, a reserve quarterback/running back/receiver/guy who basically never saw the field.
Two-way Texas quarterback Avery Davis recently picked up an offer from the Irish and has built a solid relationship with Mike Sanford. The staff is head over heels for this guy and will no doubt give him plenty of attention. It's not necessarily likely to happen, but if I were forced to pick someone to commit this weekend it would be Davis.
Corey Malone-Hatcher is making about his 90th visit to Notre Dame. Michigan is firmly in the picture here, as they always have been; interestingly, Alabama has come on strong of late as well. Corey just visited Tuscaloosa for the LSU game - good timing for the Tide there.
The final few guys listed above are all names that I just couldn't leave off the list. I mean, the prospect of a safety tandem named Head and Humm taking the field at Notre Dame? #OFDAD fans, rejoice... And I don't really need to see highlights or read any analysis - I want Mac Hippenhammer on our roster. Only good things can happen when you add a tough as nails, gravelly-voiced, world-weary PI with a penchant for good smokes and bad girls. And in any case, I'm sure his skills will improve once he returns the Maltese Falcon to its rightful owner and can focus his full efforts on football.