Here is your update on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish recruiting efforts for the class of 2016, with one commit on board, a handful of offers out, and a big name no longer on the board.
|Notre Dame Scholarship Chart & Eligibility (2015-2016)
Class of 2016 Commitments
Irish head coach Mike Brey poured most of his post-NCAA Tournament energy into the recruitment of New Jersey standout Temple "T.J." Gibbs, and Brey's efforts were rewarded with Gibbs' commitment on May 3rd, towards the end of his official visit to campus. Turning up the heat on Gibbs and closing with a commitment in a relatively short period of time was among the best recruiting jobs of Mike Brey's Notre Dame tenure.
|Notre Dame 2016 Commitments
T.J. Gibbs will step onto campus in about a year to likely grab the torch from Demetrius Jackson as the next great Notre Dame point guard under Mike Brey, pending Jackson's NBA decision. Gibbs is a top-50 recruit and has a legitimate chance to increase his profile as he takes the reins to his NJ Playaz AAU club for the summer. Regardless, he would likely be in just about anyone's starting five of Brey's best recruits (note: this would be a very guard-heavy starting five - Gibbs, Jackson, Thomas, Francis, Zeller/Biedscheid).
Class of 2016 Targets
After a couple of viewing periods, things are really starting to take shape regarding which recruits the Irish are really targeting to fill out their class. Personally turning up the heat on the Irish-leaning Gibbs was Mike Brey recruiting at its best, and now that he closed the deal with his headliner, he can now move on to filling out the remainder of his 2016 class.
With Gibbs on board, the Irish coaching staff has two or three spots remaining in the class, pending Demetrius Jackson's NBA draft decision, for which many people have him pegged for the lottery. Either way, Brey has his Jackson replacement but still needs his Zach Auguste replacement. Beyond that, he has another one or two wild cards to fill out his roster as he sees fits.
|2016 Recruiting Big Board
|PF Jarrett Allen
|PF James Banks
|C Barret Benson (no offer)
|PF AJ Brodeur
|C Joey Brunk (no offer)
|PF Dewan Huell
|SG Kevin Huerter
|PG Frank Jackson
|PF Javin Montgomery-DeLaurier
Other than the commitment from Gibbs, the big update since last time is the set of offers sent out by Notre Dame's coaching staff following some important viewing periods. This always seems to happen immediately after my updates, and this last month was no exception.
Texas big man Jarrett Allen is the biggest name offered, as the consensus five-star added a Notre Dame offer to his collection of offers from the entire Big XII. It is hard to see the Irish pulling Allen out of Texas, especially with new Longhorns coach Shaka Smart after him, but the staff must have thought he was too good not to offer.
The other power forward offers made by the Irish include James Banks and Javin Montgomery-DeLaurier. Both of these players have said all the right things and are really seeing their recruitments take off this spring. DeLaurier, in particular, really impressed at recent AAU events and has already seen his rankings skyrocket. Some think that Notre Dame has a legitimate shot here despite other programs that have been on him longer.
New York shooting guard Kevin Huerter also earned a Notre Dame offer as his profile continues to rise, with over a dozen high-major offers in the last couple months. This includes Syracuse, who only want him for their 2017 class, a decision that Huerter was already considering due to being a little young in this class and certainly some physical development needed. Scouts are impressed not just with his shooting but with his vision, passing abilities, and effort on defense. The Steve Vasturia comparison is obvious, and Huerter would go nicely with the Demetrius Jackson replacement in Gibbs.
The remaining new offer is Utah point guard Frank Jackson, who the staff offered shortly before Gibbs' commitment. While that may remove the Irish from consideration, Jackson has still gone on record as saying he would like to go on his Mormon mission before college. Therefore, he may really end up being a 2018 recruit, so I'll keep him on the board for now. Either way, Duke is after Jackson heavily and appears to be the favorite.
These players join Massachusetts forward AJ Brodeur and Florida forward Dewan Huell as uncommitted players holding Notre Dame offers for this class. Brodeur earned some nice reviews following a recent AAU weekend but still is short on high-major offers. Though Notre Dame is in his final 11, Huell appears likely to remain in-state, with Florida State and Miami as the favorites.
Illinois center Barret Benson and Indiana center Joey Brunk still remain without offers despite some mutual interest in the past. I think it is unlikely that either player will ever receive one from the Irish, as it is getting pretty late for them to offer players they have been observing for awhile and that have already visited in the past. They remain on the board for now while we wait to see how (if?) things materialize in the next two months.
Class of 2016 Prediction
I may be projecting this a little too strongly, but Kevin Huerter is saying all the right things about Notre Dame, especially in this interview with Irish Sports Daily. Reading that, it's not hard to see the New York shooting guard ending up in South Bend. Now, this could just be a case of a kid saying all the right things, so we will have to see if a visit materializes in the next few months. If one does, you have to feel good about Notre Dame's chances.
I've added Huerter to Gibbs and Brodeur for this class, the latter of which has yet to see many offers pour in despite some recent strong performances. We'll see if that changes over the summer, but either way, the Irish will be well-positioned for a guy they moved on early and for which they have plenty of AAU connections. Javin Montgomery-DeLaurier appears to be a wild card, but I'm still very much wait-and-see regarding his real interest level in the Irish. I'll stick with a three-man class for now even with another spot available.
My prediction for the 2016 class: A.J. Brodeur, T.J. Gibbs, Kevin Huerter