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Notre Dame Football 2017 Recruiting: March Junior Day Recap

We take a look at the progress Notre Dame made this weekend with some of their top targets.

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

As most of you know, Notre Dame football held its Junior Day this past weekend. The Irish hosted many of the top prospects in the country for both the 2017 and 2018 classes.

Coming into the weekend, the Irish only had one commit coming to campus -- 4-star offensive tackle Joshua Lugg. Lugg had a chance to put on his recruiting cap this weekend and interact with some of Notre Dame's top targets.

While this Junior Day wasn't the huge CommitFest many expected or hoped for, the Irish did land two big commits and a lot of headway was made with many of the staff's targets. We'll touch base on all of them here.

Big Commits

  • 2017 quarterback Avery Davis pulled the trigger and chose the Irish on Saturday night. This is a huge pickup for the staff and ends their search for this class' signal-caller.
  • Elite 2017 linebacker David Adams committed to Notre Dame just last night. This is a big-time pickup at a spot where the Irish really need to build more depth.

New Offers

Three new offers went out this weekend:

  • 3-star Wisconsin offensive lineman Tyler Beach earned an offer on Saturday. Listed at 6'8" and 270 pounds, this kid will be one BIG hoss after he's had time in a college weight room. Michigan and Wisconsin are the competition here but with Hiestand doing his thing, I like the Irish's chances.
  • 3-star Florida linebacker Drew White also earned an offer. He is the brother of Auburn QB Sean White, who reportedly would have jumped on an ND offer (the Irish ended up signing Deshone Kizer instead). The Irish are the perceived leader now and there's a really good chance Drew ends up in this class.
  • 2018 4-star Georgia defensive back Derrik Allen earned his offer as well. He's high on the Irish, but pulling him out of SEC Country will be really tough for BK and Co.

Future Commits?

Here are some of the guys that are a good bet to commit to the good guys  sometime in the future:

  • 3-star defensive lineman Kurt Hinish absolutely loved his visit this weekend. He had nothing but good things to say and really had glowing reviews. Immediately after his visit, he set up a decision time for TONIGHT. Combine that with the news that his best friend, David Adams, just committed to Notre Dame and we have to ask: is there a commit post coming soon?
  • 4-star running back AJ Dillon made the trip from Massachusetts with his grandfather, Irish legend Thom Gatewood. Wisconsin and Florida State will be competition here, but his family ties to Notre Dame will be very hard to turn down.
  • Top 2018 signal caller Phil Jurkovec was also on campus this weekend. There is a lot of time left before he signs, but things are looking really good for Notre Dame right now.

Still Some Work to Be Done

These are the guys that Notre Dame is in a good place for, but the staff still has their work cut out for them:

  • 4-star Indianapolis linebacker Pete Werner made his (surprisingly) first visit this weekend. He had a great time and feels like he fits in. The staff faces some tough competition in Michigan, Duke, and Wisconsin. And watch out for Stanford if they decide to offer. That's an offer that he REALLY wants.
  • Local 4-star defensive end Corey Malone-Hatcher spent the night on campus Saturday night and got to hang out with his good friends and fellow Michiganders, Daelin Hayes and Khalid Kareem. Michigan is still perceived to be in front but Notre Dame is making a move.
  • Another local kid, 3-star defensive tackle Phil Paea, was on campus this weekend. He came away very impressed with how Coach Gilmore conducts his business. This one will likely come down to Notre Dame, Michigan, and Oregon.
  • 4-star Texas defensive back Saiid Adebo came away from his visit impressed by Brian Kelly and Todd Lyght. This is a kid who is very interested in Notre Dame and is a name to keep an eye on moving forward.
  • 4-star Texas receiver Charleston Rambo is a good friend and teammate of our newest commit, Avery Davis. He had a good time on campus with Avery. Let's see if his QB can make an influence here.
  • Elite Connecticut receiver Tarik Black is also very high on the Irish. He was a fan of Notre Dame football as a kid and the Irish are one of his top teams, if not the top team.
  • Bishop Gorman's Haskell Garrett is an elite defensive tackle that most expected to commit to the Irish at some time, but then he proceeded to commit to Ohio State seemingly out of nowhere. The general consensus seems to be that his recruitment is not over, however. After his Junior Day visit, things are close. He visits Ohio State this week, and he will probably know if that's really where he belongs or not afterwards. If anyone can flip him, it's Notre Dame.
  • Top 100 defensive back Amir Riep is another big target for the Irish and he left campus feeling good about Notre Dame. A Cincinnati kid, the Irish staff will have their hands full battling Ohio State for Amir's services.
  • 4-star defensive back AJ Terrell is another Georgia kid with the Irish in his top group. Looks like the Irish will get an official visit from him.
  • Micah Jones is a big receiver from Illinois for the class of 2018. The 6'4.5"/190 pounder does not have an ND offer yet, but the Irish will be a serious contender when they decide to offer.
  • 4-star 2018 offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer is the teammate of Andrew Thomas and Trey Blount. He doesn't have an offer yet, but after his visit he said he could see himself at Notre Dame. Expect the Irish to be a player when they offer.

Long Shots

It's going to be really tough for these guys to end up Irish, but it's possible:

  • The staff made a move on elite Utah safety Chaz Ah You this weekend. This is one of those names that just recently sort of came up out of the blue for us. His recruitment is pretty open, and he seems to genuinely like Notre Dame, but this will be really tough for the staff moving forward.
  • 3-star Tennessee linebacker Jacob Phillips was on campus and his visit went better than he expected. He'll be a tough pull, but he really likes Notre Dame and he's a big priority for this staff.
  • Notre Dame gave 4-star Miami running back Robert Burns something to think about this weekend. He is currently committed to Miami, but the Irish are a team that he could flip for.
  • 4-star Georgia receiver Trey Blount made the visit with his father and had a great time watching practice with former Irish receiver Will Fuller. He will be a tough pull, but he named the Irish as one of his top teams and they are definitely a player here.
  • Offensive lineman Andrew Thomas is another Top100 kid and the teammate of receiver target Trey Blount. He'll be another tough pull for the staff, but he did leave campus impressed and moved the Irish up his list after his Junior Day visit.

Probably Not Gonna Happen

Weirder things have happened, but I just don't see it here:

  • 4-star Ohio athlete Tyrell Ajian was a perceived Notre Dame lean coming into this weekend. It's all very hush-hush, but he never actually made it to South Bend and it doesn't look good between him and ND anymore.
  • 3-star Minnesota offensive lineman Blaise Andries is a guy who probably would have jumped at a Notre Dame offer. With an offer only going out to Tyler Beach this weekend, it's not expected that Blaise receives an offer any time soon.
  • Allen Stritzinger is a 3-star athlete hailing from Warren, Michigan. He's definitely interested in Notre Dame, but he likely won't receive an offer unless the staff strikes out a lot at safety. Unfortunately for him, he'll likely end up at Michigan.

What's Next

There are no more Junior Days scheduled for the Irish. The weekend of the Blue-Gold Spring Game on April 16 should be the next big recruiting weekend. Among the visitors already scheduled for that weekend are current tight end commit Brock Wright, defensive back and Oklahoma commit Robert Barnes, linebacker Malik Robinson, and IMG offensive lineman Robert Hainsey. Expect a few more guys to come to that event.

Then, of course, we have Irish Invasion to look forward to in late June. That will once again be a huge event with plenty of talent on display, a few more offers going out, and a couple of commits. Rest assured, we will have plenty of coverage on that when it comes.