Welcome to the OFD recruiting Big Board for March 10, 2015 covering the defensive line.
The Irish remain conservative in their quest for a defensive tackle or two after bringing in so many bodies at this position last year. However, there are a couple new offers since our last update way back in October.
Rashan Gary was extended an offer back in early December and has recently ascended to the No. 1 prospect in the entire country according to the 247 Composite.
Gary hails from the same high school (Paramus Catholic) as 2014 Michigan signee and top national recruit Jabrill Peppers. He's limited his visits to just a few schools so far: Penn State, Rutgers, and Maryland. The experts are laying down a lot of bets on Alabama or Michigan. Chris Patridge, the former Paramus head football coach, has joined Michigan's staff as their recruiting operations coordinator.
Also gaining an offer from the Irish around the same time as Gary was Independence High School's Christian Colon from the Charlotte area. The massive tackle has a nice offer list so far relative to his ranking (UNC, Louisville, Penn State, South Carolina) and has recently attended Junior Days in Happy Valley and Chapel Hill.
The Irish offered Antwuan Jackson a long time ago but don't appear to be making any progress as he's focusing on a bunch of southern teams. Jackson has attended the Junior Days at Clemson, Georgia, and Alabama and just came off a visit to Auburn.
DT Antwuan Jackson pic.twitter.com/IppnyEqPPT— AU Football Updates (@aufballupdates) March 8, 2015
Both Ed Oliver and Dexter Lawrence are top 25 national recruits. Notre Dame will have to do major work to make progress with either player.
It's at end where Notre Dame is beginning to put in a ton of work, offering a dozen more prospects since October. But first, a few players came off the Big Board.
Columbus native (OH) Jonathon Cooper .929 was locked up by Ohio State in mid-November. He visited South Bend early during the 2014 season but given his hometown his verbal to the Buckeyes is hardly surprising.
Notre Dame offered (DC) Terrell Hall .933 during the early December evaluation period but following a recent visit to Columbus he was also locked up by Ohio State.
The Hurricanes got a local star to pick them as (FL) Joseph Jackson .910 gave a verbal to Miami at the end of January.
Also, it's a long shot but Notre Dame offered Florida State commit (FL) Janarius Robinson .974 anyway. He's been committed to the Seminoles since late September.
The newest offers from the players still on the Big Board are: Bethel, Betiku, Bledsoe, Campbell, Johnson, Kareem, Madabuike, Okonya, Jordan Smith, and Wiley.
Khalid Kareem is sticking out as a new target. He was offered by Notre Dame in late January, gave a verbal to Michigan State a few days later, but has since backed off his commitment to the Spartans.
Kareem has already been to South Bend and will be coming back for the Junior Day later this month. He's someone to definitely keep an eye on as a possible commit down the road.
Former Irish safety Zeke Motta went to Vero Beach High School and so does Patrick Bethel. He might visit Notre Dame over the summer but is focusing on the three big Florida schools, especially Miami where his father played college football.
Oluwole Betiku comes from Trojan breeding ground Junipero Serra High School just 11 miles from the Southern Cal campus but isn't your typical west coast kid. Originally from Nigeria his parents are impressed with Notre Dame and he might visit campus this summer. But again, don't get your hopes up.
Notre Dame's Junior Day list continues to grow and Ron Johnson will be one of the recruits on campus for the event. He's visited Virginia Tech and Rutgers this spring, plus Ohio State back in the fall.
One of the first moves made when new defensive line coach Keith Gilmore came to Notre Dame was make sure to hand out an offer to Justin Madubuike, which came directly from Brian Kelly. He's a valued target for the Irish and may visit--the summer more likely than the spring.
Despite all of these new offers Josh King and Auston Robertson remain among the most heavily targeted prospects by Notre Dame from the 2016 class.
King--fresh off his 220-pound Illinois state wrestling championship--has been to Notre Dame twice already and may be the biggest fish for the Irish this cycle.
He'll be visiting the following schools in order this spring: Notre Dame, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, and Ohio State. King's visit to South Bend will be for the Fighting Irish Junior Day.
Robertson is also expected for Notre Dame's Junior Day. He's made visits to Ohio State, Michigan State, Indiana, and Wisconsin since the New Year began.
It's believed Robertson favors Michigan State, Ohio State and Notre Dame the most, with the Spartans possibly gaining an edge right now. The update above corroborates those rumors. His visit to South Bend later this month will be his third overall.