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2016 Notre Dame Football Recruiting Big Board: Defense

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Not too many developments right now as most kids are focusing on their own seasons - but of course, there are a few tidbits because, well, recruiting always changes. Always.

JUICE!
JUICE!
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

big board new

Welcome back to the One Foot Down recruiting Big Board for Fighting Irish football. Many prospects have come off the board recently as recruiting season has heated up around the country, so we're switching to doing sides of the ball instead of position groups.

Corner
Score Player State Ht/Wt. Temperature 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.901 Eric Cuffee TX 5-11/188 Cool
.980 Kristian Fulton LA 6-0/177 Cold
.933 Damar Hamlin PA 6-1/175 Mild
.952 Lamar Jackson CA 6-3/205 Cold
.978 Trayvon Mullen FL 6-2/175 Cold
.894 Donte Vaughn TN 6-3/192 Warm
.922 JoeJuan Williams TN 6-2/195 Mild

Entering the Field

No new offers to report this cycle.

In Play

Eric Cuffee hasn't said much lately about his recruitment, but he seems to be coming down to Texas and Texas A&M.

Nothing much to report about Damar Hamlin either, who is busy looking like an elite prospect during Central Catholic's season. This is a very tight race between Ohio State, Pitt, and Notre Dame - I don't know why, but I'm getting more of a feeling that he'll stay home and play for Pitt.

Lamar Jackson didn't end up visiting for the Texas game and said at the time that he wanted to reschedule. Since then, though, he has taken official visits to Oregon, Arizona, and Arizona State, and hasn't talked much about getting to South Bend.

Floridian Trayvon Mullen seems more likely with each passing week to ultimately commit to Florida State.

Donte Vaughn continues to trend toward Notre Dame. Tennessee is nominally in his final two, but it would be quite the surprise if he doesn't pick the Irish on October 12th, his intended announcement day. Which is the day before our next Big Board Defense update. Thanks, kid!

Looks like Tennessean JoeJuan Williams might be a homebody, not that there's anything wrong with that. The momentum seems to be split right now between Vandy and Tennessee, with nobody else substantially in the picture.

Worth noting: We're not ready to return them to the Big Board just yet, but there has been chatter lately about Stanford commit David Long and Virginia Tech commit Troy Pride possibly taking official visits to Notre Dame. Stay tuned...

Off the Board

No commitments or eliminations this round.

Safety
Score Player State Ht/Wt. Temperature 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.948 Brandon Burton CA 6-2/195 Mild
.865 Ikenna Okeke TN 6-2/200 Mild
.865 Devin Studstill FL 6-1/180 Mild
.857 Chacho Ulloa CA 6-0/190 Mild
.963 Nigel Warrior GA 6-0/175 Cold

Entering the Field

No new offers to report.

In Play

Brandon Burton told Scout that he could decide in November. He'll visit Notre Dame for the USC game, and will also take officials to Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State, and Oklahoma. In a refreshing note, he had this to say about his decision timeline: "If I know after [my last trip] where I want to go, I'll go ahead and commit. I'm not going to wait it out just to do it at an All-American game. As soon as I know, I'll commit, that way these coaches can move on and recruit other players, I feel like that's the right thing to do." Imagine that.

Ikenna Okeke shows some impressive athleticism on his mid-season Hudl reel. Okeke will take an official visit for the USC game; his only other scheduled official is Penn State, although he'll probable schedule one to Stanford if he can.

Georgian Nigel Warrior had a great visit to Tennessee, where his father played. In fact, he was quoted afterward as saying the Vols "are doing a great job reeling me in." Butch just keeps rolling, except on the field, of course.

Off the Board

Hybrid S/LB prospect DJ Morgan committed to the Irish on Sunday!

Inside Linebacker
Score Player State Ht/Wt. Temperature 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.938 Dontavious Jackson TX 6-2/239 Cold

Entering the Field:

No new offers were extended to inside linebackers since our last update.

In Play:

Dontavious Jackson should cut his 12 finalists down to seven soon - Notre Dame made the first list, but it wouldn't be a tremendous surprise if they don't make the second.

Off the Board:

No commitments or eliminations to report.

Outside Linebacker
Score Player State Ht/Wt. Temperature 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.988 Ben Davis AL 6-4/230 Cold
.871 Aaron Hansford DC 6-2/210 Cold
.876 Jonathan Jones FL 6-0/225 Mild
.989 Caleb Kelly CA 6-3/215 Cold

Entering the Field:

No new offers to report.

In Play:

Alabama legacy Ben Davis was on hand to see Alabama lose to Ole Miss, but he also hasn't visited anywhere but Alabama since May. As noted here previously, he has always said good things about Notre Dame but to our knowledge has never actually scheduled anything or talked about scheduling anything.

Aaron Hansford had a tremendous official visit for the Georgia Tech game, perhaps good enough to put the Irish in the driver's seat. He's a tremendous athlete and would be an excellent fit in VanGorder's defense.

The astute among you may notice that Jonathan Jones wasn't in here previously - simply a miss on my part, his offer did go out a while ago. He took an official visit for the UMass game and loved it. The staff made about as strong a case as they could have, perhaps again enough to take the lead. Look for Michigan to be a serious player here too.

Caleb Kelly just scratched Texas off the potential official visit list, but is still on track to make it to ND for the football banquet. He also just took an official visit to Michigan for the BYU game; much like the Irish, the Wolverines think they have a real chance here.

Off the Board:

No new commitments or eliminations to report.

Defensive Tackle
Score Player State Ht/Wt. Temperature 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.999 Rashan Gary NJ 6-4/290 Cold
.977 Antwuan Jackson GA 6-2/285 Cold
.990 Dexter Lawrence NC 6-5/310 Cold

New On The Scene:

No new offers on the inside.

In Play:

Rumors persist of a Rashan Gary official visit, perhaps for the football banquet in December, but nothing is officially scheduled yet. My hunch is that his mother, who is an MBA student and obviously very serious about education, wants him to check out Notre Dame but it's not that important to Rashan himself. We shall see. The family is close with the WImbushes, and Brandon and his mother definitely have some impact here.

Antwuan Jackson just took about his 9,000th visit to Auburn, who seems to be in very good shape for him.

Dexter Lawrence has show quite an affinity for North Carolina State in the past, but just took his first official visit to Gainesville and enjoyed himself quite a bit.

Off the Board:

No commitments to report on the inside.

Defensive End
Score Player State Ht/Wt. Temperature 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.992 Oluwole Betiku CA 6-3.5/240 Cold
.871 Antonneous Clayton GA 6-4/218 Cold
.946 Daelin Hayes MI 6-4/250 Mild
.896 Carlo Kemp CO 6-3/255 Warm
.952 Justin Madubuike TX 6-3/255 Cold

New On The Scene:

No new offers to report.

In Play:

Oluwole Betiku remains on track to visit for the USC game along with teammate Brandon Burton. Pulling two kids from Junipero Serra might be harder than pulling one kid from Fresno, believe it or not... Betiku, who is committed to UCLA, plans on taking official visits to Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Florida State, and Tennessee.

Antonneous Clayton took an official visit to Florida and promptly named them his leader - they've come on strong lately after Auburn held an early edge in this race.

Puzzling news on Daelin Hayes - shortly after a star-struck unofficial visit for the Texas game, a visit that left he and his mother gushing about Notre Dame, Hayes signed non-binding financial aid paperwork with USC and might not take his official visit to South Bend for the USC game. Odd, when every lead from every service said he was within a hair's breadth of flipping a couple of weeks ago. As always, recruiting is a funny game, and you never know what is or isn't significant. Something tells me that one way or another, this recruitment will go down to the wire.

Carlo Kemp took an official visit to Michigan for the BYU game and could commit to them soon. He wants to take his official visit to Notre Dame before deciding, but it looks like Michigan is firmly in the lead here.

Off the Board:

No commitments or eliminations to report.