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An Early Look at the ELITE Talent in the 2017 Recruiting Class

A quick look at the current 5-stars for the 2017 class.

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Today, we star gaze. Before our 2017 Big Board recruiting articles start in earnest this will be a brief look at the elite of the elite 5-star talent across the country. You 3-stars and 4-stars need not apply. As usual, we're using 247Sports Composite Scores.

*Indicates offer from Notre Dame


Available: None

Commits: Hunter Johnson*, Clemson (.988), Tate Martell, Texas A&M (.986)

Hunter Johnson, out of Brownsburg, Indiana near Indianapolis, has been on Notre Dame's radar for so long I legitimately thought he was a 2016 recruit the other day. But no, he has a whole year before he signs and has already left Tennessee's class (he was a verbal for 4 months) before pledging to Clemson.

Martell is out of Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas and has been solid for Texas A&M since the summer. In fact, there was some brief talk after the Aggies lost 9 different quarterbacks this off-season that Martell would reclassify as a senior, graduate high school now, and then go start in College Station. He's listed at 5-11 and a generous 180 pounds--it would have been hilarious.

Right now, Notre Dame is infatuated with Avery Davis .920 from the suburbs of Dallas. He's already visited campus and Sanford was in to see him during the last round of recruiting.


Available: D'Andre Swift (.984)

Commits: Najee Harris*, Alabama (.998)

Harris is the No. 1 back and No. 2 overall player in the land. He's from the Bay Area and saying he'll visit Notre Dame so he can be the 2017 version of Ben Davis!

Notre Dame hasn't offered Swift who comes out of Philadelphia. He's very stocky at 5-9 and 205 pounds.


Available: Donovan People-Jones* (.993), Trevon Grimes* (.993), Tyjon Lindsey (.988), Joseph Lewis* (.986), Jeff Thomas (.984)

Commits: None

As per usual, the recruiting sites love them some athletic receivers early on in the cycle. Ditto for Notre Dame who already has 11 offers out to wideouts. Peoples-Jones is the No. 1 guy and is going to be one heck of a battle in the Midwest (he's out of Cass Tech in Detroit). He won the SPARQ Combine at The Opening this past summer with a 149.49 score and just visited Notre Dame for our mini-Junior Day. Beware, his dad played at Michigan with Harbaugh.

Grimes is out of St. Thomas Aquinas in Florida and is stuck on Ohio State for now. Lindsey is a tiny slot receiver touchdown machine out of Bishop Gorman so you'd think ND will eventually offer. However, his legal guardians are teammate Tate Martell's parents and they could be a package deal be it at A&M or elsewhere.

Lewis attends a high school in Los Angelese created in 2012 that has partnerships with USC and UCLA. Probably not great for Notre Dame's chances, I'd say. Jeff Thomas hails from East St. Louis, typically not an area of strength for Irish recruiting efforts.


Available: None

Commits: None

How close is Notre Dame commit Brock Wright from being a 5-star? As close as you can get--he's the No. 29 player in the country and the highest 4-star in the nation. That's a good spot to be in if you're chasing a 5th-star but tight end typically has some really big swings in ranking adjustments over the course of a cycle so stay tuned.

Current Irish commit Cole Kmet is a good deal away from 5-star status but the No. 194 player in the country isn't nothing to scoff at either.


Available: Foster Sarell (.994), Austin Jackson* (.988), Isaiah Wilson (.988), Wyatt Davis* (.984)

Commits: Josh Myers*, Ohio State (.997), Calvin Ashley, Auburn (.997), Jack Anderson, Texas Tech (.985)

This year Notre Dame took the top offensive lineman in Ohio (Tommy Kraemer) but the Buckeyes already have the '17 version committed. Myers looks like an OSU lock, he's been a verbal to them for a year already. Ashley is from Orlando and has been with Auburn since early last summer even though he's been taking visits. Anderson is the top guard in the country and it's going to be a long 12 months for Texas Tech to hold onto him.

Sarell comes from the state of Washington, Jackson from the state of Arizona, Wilson from Brooklyn, and Davis from St. John Bosco H.S. in Los Angeles.

The Irish already have 2 commits and will likely grab a couple more, we'll see if anything comes up with these elite guys. Joshua Lugg (.941) has a very nice rating but it's an absolutely loaded year for offensive tackles. That rating would make him the 13th OT for 2016 but he's only the 21st for 2017 right now.


Available: Joshua Kaindoh* (.986), Jarez Parks* (.986)

Commits: A.J. Epenesa*, Iowa (.990)

If you're looking for a 5-star bet to sign with Notre Dame then Epenesa would be a decent bet. He's from Madison County, Illinois across from St. Louis, and while he recently committed to Iowa where his dad played, he's visited Notre Dame and has connections via his father and former Iowa coach and now Irish analyst Bob Elliott. It won't be easy to flip him, though.

Notre Dame picked up a pair of recruits from IMG Academy for 2016 and that's where Josh Kaindoh plays. He's originally from Maryland, listed Penn State as his favorite in the fall, and seems willing to at least look up north for school even if the Nittany Lions are fading now.

Parks hails from the Vero Beach area down on the east coast of Florida. The Gators and Seminoles have aligned early to swing this one out.

Irish commit Robert Beal (.977) is not far off from 5-star status.


Available: Marvin Wilson (.996)

Commits: Tyler Shelvin, LSU (.987)

Since they skipped defensive tackle this will be an important position group for Notre Dame in 2017. Marvin Wilson comes from Bellaire, Texas in the Houston metro area--not a typical hotbed for Irish recruiting.

Tyler Shelvin is an in-state commit with LSU so you can cross him off Notre Dame's list. He's been committed to the Bayou Bengals for nearly 10 months and will certainly be a valued target for them in what is expected to be a down year for talent in Louisiana. Additionally, he's academically ineligible right now and is in the process of transferring to another school in state. Keep him crossed off.


Available: Dylan Moses* (.999)

Commits: Baron Browning*, Baylor (.984)

You may have heard the name Dylan Moses before today. He was the physical freak who stood 6-1 and 215 pounds as a 14-year old and was offered by LSU and Alabama before he entered the 8th grade. Now, he's back in the spotlight as the Composite No. 1 recruit in the country.

Moses was committed to LSU from September 2013 until August of last year and spent his first 3 years of high school at University Lab on the LSU campus. Unfortunately for the Tigers, Moses recently announced he's transferring to IMG Academy and he now has a top 5 including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Texas, and UCLA. He's still interested in LSU but has mentioned the coaching instability in Baton Rouge as a concern.

Baron Browning has been committed to Baylor since last summer and is from Kennedale, Texas just southeast of Fort Worth. He'll be an interesting recruit to watch as his older brother, Barry Browning, played at Stanford from 2010-13 and was recruited by and played his freshman year under Jim Harbaugh. Baron has said he will be visiting Michigan. Also, his father played at TCU in the late 1990's.


Available: Darnay Holmes* (.995), Deangelo Gibbs* (.993)

Commits: Shaun Wade, Ohio State (.992)

Darnay Holmes transferred last summer from Newbury Park to Calabasas High in the San Fernando Valley and is now being coached by Casey Clausen. He's been to Nebraska a couple times, oddly enough, but that seems to be due to a teammate who just committed there for 2016 more than anything else. Holmes is also teammates and part of a dynamite receiver duo with Keyshawn Johnson, Jr, for what it's worth. He's showing interest in the likes of Stanford and Notre Dame.

Mark down another transfer for Deangelo Gibbs who's from Loganville in between Atlanta and Athens. He's leaving Peachtree Ridge and headed to Grayson High School for his senior season. Early returns look like he's heavily involved with SEC teams but has said some nice things about Notre Dame.

Shaun Wade, from Jacksonville, was locked up by Ohio State a year ago but he's been taking visits.


Available: Jeffrey Okudah* (.994)

Commits: None

Okudah comes out of Grand Prairie outside of Dallas and is the top safety in the country. He's included Notre Dame in his trimmed Top 10 but has listed Ohio State as his early favorite.


Available: None

Commits: Richard Lecounte III*, Georgia (.984)

Lecounte hails from Hinesville, Georgia on the east coast of the state just south of Savannah. He committed to the Bulldogs less than a month ago and not long after being offered by Notre Dame. He's expected to play defensive back in college.