Welcome back to the OFD recruiting Big Board for Fighting Irish football.
With only a handful of targets left on either side of the ball, we're combining the offense and defense boards into a single update for the remainder of the cycle.
Damian Alloway is slated to visit UCLA for the first time on January 22nd - he has seen games there before, but their stadium is off campus. At this point it seems like he's more of a luxury than a need in this class, and that becomes more true as more time passes.
Five star Nate Craig-Myers is looking to set up an official visit to Maryland after the dead period. As Dave Barry would say, I swear I am not making this up. He already has January official visits set up for Auburn and Ole Miss.
Javon McKinley will announce in a few days at the Army All-America game. It looks like the Irish are in good shape here, with Washington and Oregon also in the picture.
Demetris Robertson is also at the Army game, but won't be announcing until signing day. Notre Dame is running very strongly in this race, in a dogfight with Alabama and Georgia. Stanford could also be a factor down the stretch.
Ah, recruiting... Brandon Burton was going to announce his commitment this past Saturday, with UCLA the presumed destination. But...
Further complicating matters, USC just re-offered Burton after backing out a while ago and could make a late move. Notre Dame is among Burton's five finalists, but is most likely running fifth at this point.
I moved Jordan Fuller to safety on the Big Board because it looks like that's where the staff is recruiting him - which makes sense when you consider that they're still recruiting him, which we'll get into more in the "Off the Board" section below. The Irish are still very much in the race here, but if you're into reading tea leaves, 247's Steve Wiltfong just put in a crystal ball prediction today for Fuller to Ohio State. So there's that. Penn State and Michigan are also in the hunt.
Ben Davis is locked in for his official visit in mid January; his father will join him on the trip. However unlikely it may be, you wouldn't head from Alabama to South Bend in January just for a free trip. Davis is interested.
Jonathan Jones is down to Michigan and Notre Dame; the Irish like where they Jeffrey McCulloch on #ND #Stanford #Bama #Texas and #TAMU at the #UAAllAmerican game: https://t.co/BPOUyRM6FF pic.twitter.com/d01INgGsiQ
— Rivals.com (@Rivals) December 28, 2015 ">stand, but Harbaugh has made a big impression on the young man and could be a factor down the stretch if he pushes for Jones.
Caleb Kelly gave a great interview to 247 recently ($); if you have a subscription, read it. He's a good kid. WIthout getting into too much detail on it, suffice it to say that I take him at his word that he's different and he's seriously interested in Notre Dame. He's another signing day announcement.
Jeffrey McCulloch continues to be highly interested in Notre Dame, although pulling him out of Texas could be tough. I have a gut feeling that McCulloch will end up Irish - let's hope I'm right. This kid is a player.
Rashan Gary is still playing coy about his finalists, saying he has a top five but not indicating who they are. We really don't believe Notre Dame is in it, but he has never officially eliminated them so here we are. Interestingly, at the just-concluded Under Armour game, his mother said she has her own top two. Could get interesting.
Off the Board
Troy Pride is Irish!
Damar Hamlin eliminated Notre Dame the same day that Pride committed. Feel free to connect the dots.
Nigel Warrior recently gave AL.com a top five of Alabama, Georgia, LSU, South Carolina, and Tennessee. He's a Volunteer legacy but seems legitimately open to the other schools.
Brendan Ferns didn't even make into the Big Board, but... He won't be visiting Notre Dame, which effectively removes them from the equation. The staff likely feels very good about where it stand with some other linebacker prospects, which should be welcome news for all of us.
According to Aaron Hansford, Notre Dame stopped recruiting him when Daelin Hayes (who is rated by the recruiting sites as a linebacker) committed as they were done at linebacker. But they're still recruiting Ben Davis, Jonathan Jones, Caleb Kelly, and Jeffrey McCulloch, so... Things just didn't work out, and both sides moved on.
Oluwole Betiku, always a long shot for Notre Dame, committed to USC on Christmas Day.