Welcome back to the One Foot Down recruiting Big Board for Fighting Irish football.
New On The Scene:
No new offers on the inside.
Virginian Kyree Campbell has Notre Dame in his top five - thanks primarily to the relationship he formed with Keith Gilmore when Gilmore was in Chapel Hill - but didn't include South Bend in a recent discussion of his summer visit stops ($). Penn State and West Virginia are also in his top five and not getting summer visits, though, so that might not mean anything. Even with Gilmore's move, North Carolina will probably be tough to beat here.
Christian Colon tweeted his top five (really six), and Notre Dame wasn't listed. He seems most likely to stay home and go to North Carolina.
Everyone's favorite All-World tackle Rashan Gary will make a Southern swing soon to visit Alabama, Auburn, and Ole Miss, and then a Midwest trip to visit Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Notre Dame at the end of June. He was interviewed by Mike Farrell at the Rivals 5-Star Challenge and didn't talk about Notre Dame, but I think we all know where we stand here - we have to knock it out of the park on his unofficial to hopefully earn an official visit in the fall. He told Farrell he'll release his top five before the start of the season.
Florida may have just made a big move for Antwuan Jackson, who made a semi-stealth visit to Gainesville yesterday. The talented Georgian seems likely to stay South, but in an interesting twist he just scheduled an unofficial visit to Notre Dame in a couple of weeks; his coach will drive him and teammates LB Elysee Mbem-Bosse (uncommitted) and OG Netori Johnson (Alabama commit). Mbem-Bosse recently picked up an Irish offer.
Dexter Lawrence just got bumped up to #1 overall in the new Rivals rankings. He's a lifelong Florida fan, but is giving many schools a serious look - including USC, whose camp he'll attend in a couple of weeks. He says he'll cut his list down in August.
Off the Board:
So, Houston... Shortly after picking up the commitment of five-star DT Ed Oliver (0.9899, #16 overall), the Cougars added four-star Jordan Elliott (0.9532, #89 overall). Obviously it helps that they're both Houston natives, but still - I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that's the highest-rated pair of defensive tackles they've ever gotten, assuming both actually sign. Heck, they've had only two four-star signees in at least the last fourteen recruiting cycles: 2013 WR Deontay Greenberry and 2002 TE Jon Clark. The 247 database doesn't have stars before 2002, but one might reasonably imagine that previous cycles are similarly sparse.
Cliff Notes: Tom Herman. Doing work.
New On The Scene:
Georgia prospect Tomon Fox picked up an Irish offer this week and immediately scheduled a visit for Irish Invasion on June 19th. Interestingly, he'll go straight from there to North Carolina's camp on June 20th. Carolina is in good position with him right now.
Carlo Kemp, rated in the 247 Composite as the #1 player in Colorado (#286 overall), just picked up an Irish offer Tuesday; Steve Wiltfong and Tom Loy at 247 immediately made crystal ball predictions for the Irish. Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano is Kemp's uncle, and Kemp has said he grew up a Notre Dame fan. If he makes it in for Irish Invasion, he could be on commit watch. An interesting angle with Kemp is that he could potentially develop into a 3-tech DT as well, which would give the staff some flexibility.
Mark Jackson picked up an Irish offer on May 28th, then committed to Texas A&M on May 30th. Gut feeling here is that he's pretty solid to A&M, but I'm sure the staff will keep in touch.
McTelvin Agim recently promised to release his finalists soon; Arkansas and Oklahoma are the presumed leaders.
New Jersey native Quayshon Alexander just visited Virginia Tech and came away very impressed. Alexander was a heavy Nebraska lean a few months ago and still could go that way, but he's definitely checking out his options.
Bayou State prospect Andre Anthony just picked up a much-desired offer from LSU, and will camp there in June and July. The tea leaves aren't exactly hard to read on that one.
Patrick Bethel, Miami legacy and presumed Miami lean, just tweeted out a top ten list without Notre Dame - then tweeted that the list is "susceptible to alterations." Ah, Patrick, you tease, you...
Raw yet frighteningly good, Oluwole Betiku just got a huge bump in the updated Rivals rankings, going from #123 to #44. He also tweeted his top six recently, which includes UCLA, Penn State, Notre Dame, Florida State, Florida, and Texas A&M. He lives with Lavar Arrington; you probably know that Arrington was a standout at Penn State, but you might not know that Arrington's position coach in Happy Valley is now at UCLA. So both schools are the presumed leaders, but Betiku will look around and has said he wants to visit Notre Dame.
Amani Bledsoe, interestingly, is eschewing summer visits and just ruminating on his decision. He intends to take official visits and decide during the season. Oklahoma leads his 247 crystal ball predictions.
Buckeye fans have long considered Nick Bosa's commitment to Ohio State a foregone conclusion, and they may be right. But he has been adamant that things are open and he wants to take visits to his other finalists - Florida, Florida State, and Notre Dame. Nothing scheduled for South Bend just yet, though.
Fellow Floridian Brian Burns just told Rivals that the Irish could get a visit this summer ($).
Antonneous Clayton made his first appearance on our Big Board in the last DL post, as Notre Dame offered on May 20th. Since then, he has picked up offers from LSU, Florida State, Oklahoma, Utah, North Carolina, Pitt, Cincinnati, UCLA, Penn State, and UCF, and is being evaluated by Auburn, Clemson, and Georgia. In three weeks. His recruitment is, as they say, blowing up. The Southern schools, particularly Auburn, may prove too hard to beat here.
Michigan has taken the lead for Ron Johnson and teammate WR Brad Hawkins. After cancelling a planned March visit due to weather, Notre Dame never regained steam with either prospect.
Khalid Kareem will announce his decision on June 24th, and will also make a trip to Alabama before then. After seemingly piquing Kareem's interest in February, Notre Dame seemed to fade with Kareem as Michigan rose. Kareem's father just said his son's recruitment is "wide open" - but if he doesn't visit Notre Dame before the 24th, which is possible, don't expect him to pick the Irish.
If you're looking for a happy nugget, one-time Kansas State commit Xavier Kelly visited Notre Dame yesterday and came away extremely impressed, telling 247's Barton Simmons, "It was great! Notre Dame is different." Kelly checks in at #125 overall in the 247 Composite; at the Opening Regionals in Dallas, he measured 6'5" and 230 pounds and ran an eletronically-timed 4.55 40. Yeah. And he looks like he could play right now.
Had a great visit today at Notre Dame pic.twitter.com/QhoaX2QjeH— xavier kelly (@xavierkelly22) June 10, 2015
Jumping ahead a bit... With Okwara on board and Carlo Kemp a strong possibility, rounding out the DE class with Xavier Kelly should let everyone take a deep breath. Long way to go, obviously, but we have a real chance here.
Justin Madubuike, no slouch himself, talked recruiting with Scout recently and said he "definitely" wants to see Notre Dame. He may be tough to pull out of Texas, though, with all the home state schools pushing hard for him. Of note, or maybe not, is that he is Ronald Jones's former teammate - the elite running back who decommitted from Oklahoma State last year after visiting Notre Dame, only to ultimately choose USC.
Georgian Justin Smith just tweeted his top ten - not "in no particular order," which was nice - and Notre Dame isn't in it. Clemson is his leader; Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, and Tennessee round out the top five.
Off the Board:
Let the wailing and gnashing of teeth commence...
Michigan State picked up big-time commitments from Josh King and Auston Robertson, a blow that was too much for many Irish fans to take. Unfortunately, while each player - and especially King - was a key target for the Irish staff, there was never any chance of things getting serious with either guy. King was not on track to be cleared by admissions, and depending on which report you believe, Robertson either didn't believe he could handle the academics at Notre Dame or didn't want to. Or both.
There's some belief that both King and Robertson preferred Ohio State but were told there would not be room for them, but even so, it's a very big get for Michigan State. It looks like State also has the inside track for DT Naquan Jones, an Irish target who never made it on the Big Board because he never got an offer due to academic concerns. That's an excellent defensive line haul of guys we literally could not get, so more power to them but I'm not going to cry about them specifically.
In the global sense, of course, the defensive end situation is obviously a concern. Add Kemp and a top 100 type like Kelly (not that highly ranked yet but I'm betting he will be before signing day), and the concern goes away. That finish is still very much out there. We're well enough positioned at defensive tackle that we can afford to go big or bust, so if we don't get a true DT in this class I don't see it as much of an issue.