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2016 Notre Dame Recruiting Big Board: Linebackers

The group of second level targets has some first-tier talent.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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Welcome back to the One Foot Down recruiting Big Board for Fighting Irish football.

Inside Linebacker
Score Player State Ht/Wt. Temperature 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.913 Devin Bush FL 6-0/220 Cold
.955 Brendan Ferns OH 6-3/223 Cold
.938 Dontavious Jackson TX 6-2/239 Cold
.853 Elysee Mbem-Bosse GA 6-3/232 Cold
.876 Koby Quansah CT 6-1/212 Warm
.848 Jonathan Smith GA 6-1/220 Cold

Entering the Field:

The staff clearly did a lot of work on inside linebackers during the spring evaluation period, as three new offers went out since the last Big Board update for second-level defenders.

Florida four-star Devin Bush picked up an Irish offer. If the name sounds familiar, it's because his father Devin Sr. played for Florida State's 1993 national runner-up championship team. The Noles are obviously in very good position, with Michigan also drawing some of his attention.

Dontavious Jackson, who in his Twitter profile describes himself as possessing "Division I athleticism & Ivy League brains," is also new on the board. The Houston native is making his fourth spring visit to Texas this weekend, though, so...

The final new offer, Ghanaian immigrant Koby Quansah, enters the Big Board with the seldom-seen "Warm" temperature. Quansah made no secret of what a Notre Dame offer would mean to him, and it's widely believed that he'll be on commit watch as soon as he gets on campus.

If you frequent recruiting message boards, you may read some unflattering opinions on Quansah from some rather boisterous voices. But consider this: He also plays running back and returns kicks, he's the #1 player in Connecticut, and he holds offers from Yale, Harvard, Duke, Northwestern, and Vanderbilt as well as Arizona State, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pitt, and Wisconsin. I don't care if he's 6'0-1/2" or 6'1". The kid is smart, he's athletic, he's tough, and some good coaches like him. Good enough for me.

In Play:

It looks like the race for Brendan Ferns is down to two schools, Penn State and West Virginia. He'll probably decide soon.

Elysee Mbem-Bosse recently visited Auburn and they've taken the lead.

North Carolinan Jonathan Smith just made yet another visit to North Carolina ($), and reiterated plans to visit Notre Dame and Michigan before the summer is out.

Off the Board:

Virginia prospect Jaquan Yulee gave his pledge to Alabama, which was a mild surprise as he had seemed to be trending towards North Carolina for a while.

Outside Linebacker
Score Player State Ht/Wt. Temperature 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.936 Daniel Bituli TN 6-3/235 Cold
.874 Cameron Brown MD 6-5/210 Mild
.988 Ben Davis AL 6-4/230 Cold
.871 Aaron Hansford DC 6-2/210 Cold
.989 Caleb Kelly CA 6-3/215 Cold
.915 Jaleel Laguins GA 6-2/213 Cold
.946 Jeffrey McCulloch TX 6-2/230 Cold

Entering the Field:

Lots of good things have happened for Aaron Hansford lately - over the last two weeks he not only picked up an Irish offer, but also an Oregon offer and an invitation to The Opening. His father is a big Irish fan and was slow to believe Notre Dame had extended an offer. Thanks, pops! Hansford intends to visit but might not be able to over the summer.

Houston star Jeffrey McCulloch tweeted about "prestigious" Notre Dame when he received his offer recently. Academics are important to him - Stanford was included in a top 12 he released before the Irish offer - so we may get a look, but it's still hard to picture McCulloch heading north. He may not even leave Texas.

In Play:

Tennessean Daniel Bituli just visited Auburn. A couple of weeks ago he named leaders of Auburn, Ole Miss, and Tennessee.

Cameron Brown took a visit to presumed co-leader Penn State ($), but is still keeping everything close to the vest.

Five-star Alabama legacy Ben Davis recently spoke with about his recruitment. Nothing earth-shattering in there, but if you're the highly optimistic type you can cling to this quote: "Everybody wants to play, but for me it's the education first, because my mom and dad always push that." Davis talks about interest in Notre Dame, but unless visits start to materialize soon the Irish are probably on the outside looking in here.

Caleb Kelly will be in town for Irish Invasion last week, a huge coup for the staff. I have to give them credit - despite the perpetually downhill roller coaster that Fresno has been for Notre Dame, they keep going back. The Irish hope to make an impression and earn an official visit in the fall. As usual, Oklahoma is the main competition here.

Georgian Jaleel Laguins could commit any day now, or not. Yay, news! Laguins named a top six a few weeks ago; Georgia was his leader, and Tennessee was the farthest north of the group. Hmm. Later that same day, though, he picked up his Irish offer, and more recently he has shown interest in Florida; his recruitment is one to keep an eye on.