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2017 Notre Dame Football Big Board: Defense

DL, DL everywhere, nor any commit to drop...

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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Welcome back to the OFD recruiting Big Board for Fighting Irish football.

Defensive Tackle
Score Player State Ht/Wt. Temperature 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.951 Martin Andrus CA 6-2/295 Cool
.949 Eric Crosby VA 6-1/285 Mild
.937 Darnell Ewell VA 6-3/298 Cool
.915 Breyon Gaddy VA 6-4/321 Cool
.907 Marlon Tuipulotu OR 6-2/275 Mild
.899 Donovan Jeter PA 6-4/260 Cool
.882 Dalyn Wade-Perry NJ 6-4/310 Mild
.878 Phillip Paea MI 6-4/270 Mild
.853 Kurt Hinish PA 6-2/283 Warm
In Play

Elite Californian Martin Andrus is the newest offer on the DT board. He told 247's Ryan Bartow that the Notre Dame offer was a "big one," which - stop me if you've heard this one - could mean a lot or nothing. Andrus just visited USC for their junior day, and as usual with elite Southern California prospects, the Trojans are in good position. It'll be interesting to see if he sets up a visit to Notre Dame.

Eric Crosby said at the Army combine in early January that he wanted a Notre Dame offer; he finally got one last week. The Irish are probably playing from behind because of the timeline, but I think they'll get a chance to make up ground.

Staying in Virginia, Darnell Ewell had some great things to say last summer about Notre Dame and how well he could fit in, but the Irish don't seem to be in the picture right now. Ohio State, who just secured a commitment from top Irish DT target Haskell Garrett, has an early lead here as well and is in excellent shape.

We just can't get out of the Old Dominion state, which is a theme in this cycle. Breyon Gaddy, whose twin brother Brandon we covered in the offense Big Board last week, is another key target for Notre Dame. Things are relatively quiet with the Gaddys right now, but the smart money today at least is on Clemson for both. Clemson DC Brent Venables, one of the best in the business, is recruiting them personally.

Marlon Tuipulotu of Oregon - when we do leave Virginia, we do it like we mean it - picked up a Notre Dame offer a couple of weeks ago. While he could be tough to pull out of the state, he will most likely give the Irish serious consideration. He's drawn some probably-too-early comparisons to Sheldon Day; I also am reminded of former Irish standout Trevor Laws, who like Tuipulotu was an excellent wrestler in high school. If you're curious, Tuipulotu just won the state heavyweight title after finishing last year as the state runner-up. Leverage!

Pennsylvanian Donovan Jeter is fresh off a visit to Pitt for a junior day, and it seems the Panthers are in good shape. Notre Dame's recent offer may shake things up, though, so definitely a situation worth watching.

Dalyn Wade-Perry out of Englewood's St. John XXIII (Jersey!) visited for the UMass game last year. Hes' a high-academic kid who is a definite fit for Notre Dame, but the Irish will be going head-to-head with the Cardinal yet again here and it could be a dogfight. His recruitment has really expanded recently, as just in the last few weeks he has picked up offers from LSU, Florida State, and Nebraska.

Michigan's Philip Paea just picked up a Notre Dame offer a few weeks ago. He could land at offensive guard or defensive tackle at the next level, but we think the staff prefers him on defense right now. Not surprisingly, Michigan and Michigan State are big players here, as are USC and Oregon, but Notre Dame will get a very serious look.

Notre Dame offered Kurt Hinish last week and instantly was in excellent shape. Hinish will be on campus for the upcoming junior day and could possibly be on commit watch, although a commitment would be a mild surprise. Interestingly, he's the teammate of top ILB target David Adams. Hmm. He's no throw-in, though, as once again you should value cohort over ranking - since the new year, he has picked up offers from West Virginia, Baylor, Ole Miss, Penn State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Nebraska, and Virginia Tech. Expect that list to grow, too.

Defensive End
Score Player State Ht/Wt. Temperature 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.987 Joshua Kaindoh FL 6-6/250 Mild
.983 Jarez Parks FL 6-5/255 Cold
.978 Robert Beal GA 6-4/230 Cool
.972 Chase Young MD 6-5/220 Cool
.959 Zachary Carter FL 6-5/240 Cool
.942 Jaelan Phillips CA 6-5/240 Mild
.931 Jordan Williams VA 6-5/245 Mild
.924 Corey Malone-Hatcher MI 6-3/246 Mild
.923 DJ Johnson CA 6-5/240 Cool
.895 Logan Rudolph SC 6-4/225 Mild

In Play

Josh Kaindoh is a Notre Dame type of kid - he's a five-star who wants to go pre-med - and he has said some very complimentary things lately about the Irish. Hopefully he'll pick the brains of fellow IMG stars Spencer Perry and Tony Jones during his recruitment...

Staying in Florida, Jarez Parks will in all likelihood be nearly impossible to pull out of the state - he and his family are Florida and Florida State fans, and 2016 Miami signee and Cane legacy Patrick Bethel is his cousin. He has visited Miami, Alabama, and Florida State over the last few weeks, with no mention of the Irish.

Robert Beal, as many of you know, broke a lot of Irish hearts when he decommited recently. He loved everything about Notre Dame, but he and his sister really want to go to school together and she wasn't admitted. I wouldn't be terribly surprised if this story isn't quite over yet, but Notre Dame is definitely on the outside looking in right now.

DeMatha product Chase Young is racking up offers. He could be tough to pull out of the Old Line State, but expect the Irish to get a look here. Of note is that Notre Dame is also heavily pursuing his teammate, 2016 RB Anthony McFarland.

Strongside DE Zachary Carter has Clemson and Florida out front right now, but has talked about Notre Dame being in his top group as well. Follow the visits here - my gut says we'll need an offseason visit to stay in this race.

Jaelan Phillips picked up his Notre Dame offer last week and called the school "super prestigious." He just took an unofficial visit to Stanford and also recently added Michigan and Alabama offers - safe to say the ride is just getting started here.

Jordan Williams tweeted that he was "beyond blessed" to receive a Notre Dame offer a few weeks ago. Look for him to visit at some point in the offseason; he's a high academic kid who could really connect with the school when he gets on campus.

Long-time Irish target Corey Malone-Hatcher shared his thoughts on fans who are overly invested in the recruiting process. He's right.

DJ Johnson picked up an Irish offer a couple of weeks ago and had some very positive things to say about Notre Dame, along with outlining some vague plans to get out for a visit at some point. There's probably some level of interest, but right now it seems more likely the Sacramento prospect will stay west.

South Carolinan Logan Rudolph is yet another example of mismatched rankings and cohort, with offers from Auburn, Baylor, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas A&M, USC... Well, you get the idea. The Notre Dame offer came in a few weeks ago and he said he was "honored"; we'll see if that translates into a visit. Keep an eye on Okie State, where Logan's older brother Mason plays quarterback.

Inside Linebacker
Score Player State Ht/Wt. Temperature 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.978 Nate McBride GA 6-2/220 Cold
.968 Anthony Hines TX 6-3/230 Cold
.958 Levi Draper OK 6-2/230 Mild
.951 David Adams PA 6-2/230 Warm
.942 Will Ignont FL 6-2/230 Warm
.935 Josh Ross MI 6-1/220 Mild
.867 Sampson Niu CA 6-1/217 Mild
.846 Malik Robinson GA 6-0/212 Mild
In Play

Nate McBride received his Notre Dame offer last summer and said the Irish would be in his top group. Fast forward to now, and his top group is Alabama, Georgia, and Auburn. Oh well...

Texan Anthony Hines is a solid bet to stay in-state; I don't believe he has mentioned Notre Dame since he was offered back in 2014. He just visited TCU and Texas.

Oklahoma commit Levi Draper just picked up an Irish offer and could set up a visit soon. Very interesting - Bob Stoops will be the featured speaker at the upcoming Notre Dame coaches' clinic, right after the acrimonious Irish-Sooner battle over Caleb Kelly and the Irish staff going after an Oklahoma commit. The plot thickens.

David Adams will return to campus for junior day in a couple of weeks. Notre Dame faces stiff competition here from Penn State and Pitt but is trending pretty solidly.

IMG athlete Will Ignont just earned his Notre Dame offer and was over the moon about it, calling the offer "a dream come true" and immediately putting the Irish in his top five. Look for Ignont to set up an offseason visit.

Josh Ross has been complimentary towards Notre Dame in the past, but the Michigander's older brother plays for the Wolverines and they'll probably be very hard to beat.

Notre Dame recently offered Sampson Niu, joining a bunch of other schools that have seen his potential lately. He told Rivals that he "froze" when Notre Dame offered, unable to believe it. That perhaps sounds promising, but USC lurks and I don't expect the lifelong Trojan fan's recruitment to last much beyond whenever their offers comes in.

Notre Dame will welcome Malik Robinson this spring - keep an eye on the visit to judge how realistic a chance the Irish have to pull him out of the South. Much like with Niu, if home-state Georgia offers this could be over pretty quickly.

Outside Linebacker
Score Player State Ht/Wt. Temperature 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.999 Dylan Moses FL 6-2/220 Cold
.986 Baron Browning TX 6-4/230 Cool
.965 Drew Singleton NJ 6-2/215 Cool
.963 Justin Foster NC 6-3/230 Mild
.954 VanDarius Cowan FL 6-3/225 Cool
.938 Hamsah Nasirildeen NC 6-3/205 Mild
.931 Nathan Proctor MD 6-3/217 Mild
.919 Leonard Warner GA 6-4/219 Cold
.912 De'Andre Wilder FL 6-2/198 Mild
.900 Pete Werner IN 6-4/215 Mild
.896 Ellis Brooks VA 6-2/240 Warm
.875 Jacob Phillips TN 6-3/225 Cool
In Play

Dylan Moses is listed here more as a courtesy than anything else - Notre Dame's odds with him are extremely long. He's a virtual lock to stay South. He transferred to IMG for his senior season, but I'm less optimistic of our nascent IMG connection having any kind of meaningful effect on him than I am with prospects like Josh Kaindoh and Will Ignont.

Baron Browning recently decommited from Baylor and will give Notre Dame a serious look. He and his family know Mike Sanford from when Sanford recruited Baron's older brother to Stanford, which could be good for us because he likes Sanford or bad for us because he likes Stanford. The tyranny of a single letter...

New Jerseyan Drew Singleton hails from Paramus Catholic high school, which as you might remember has sent Jabrill Peppers and Rashan Gary to Ann Arbor. As you might expect, Michigan is in good position here. Notre Dame offered in January but doesn't seem to have gained any traction yet.

Justin Foster was "pleasantly surprised" by his Irish offer a couple of weeks ago, which is sort of odd. That he was surprised, of course, not that it was pleasant. He could visit during the summer.

VanDarius Cowan hails from Notre Dame feeder Palm Beach Gardens (yes, two guys in two cycles make it a feeder, stop asking). He's committed to Florida State but appears on our board because he continues to talk to Notre Dame, and could even visit in the offseason. No doubt Te'Von Coney and Devin Studstill will have some valuable insight for him.

North Carolinan Hamsah Nasirildeen's recruitment gives us the very definition of "blowing up." On the morning of February 13th, he held offers from Charlotte, East Carolina, Georgia Southern, and Temple. Since then, in addition to Notre Dame, he has picked up offers from Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Ole Miss, Penn State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia. Not bad. He has serious interest in the Irish and could potentially visit this offseason.

Nathan Proctor picked up an Irish offer recently and said he "definitely" wants to visit. Also, like 2016 signee Jonathan Jones, his beard game is on point:

Leonard Warner just wandered out of his backyard and visited Georgia, who of course will be a strong player, along with Michigan, Ohio State, and Alabama. Notre Dame isn't really in the picture here.

Floridian De'Andre Wilder just spoke with Mike Farrell at Rivals and said he wants to visit Notre Dame this summer. He has pretty ambitious summer visit plans, though, so we'll see if it happens.

Pete Werner is one of the top prospects in Indiana this year, so you can bet a certain segment of the Irish fanbase (drink!) will call for a fence to be thrown up around him. Or something like that. Anyway, Werner picked up a Notre Dame offer last month and intends to visit soon, possible for the upcoming junior day. Trivia: His father Greg played tight end for DePauw University and had a cup of coffee in the NFL with the Jets.

Virginia linebacker Ellis Brooks referred to his Notre Dame offer as a "great opportunity" and has talked openly about making a 40-year decision. I believe he's what those in the sales business refer to as a warm lead...  He intends to visit soon; the Irish could make a big move once he gets on campus.

The Irish have dipped back into Tennessee to offer Jacob Phillips, who has said that he plans to visit. He could be tough to pull out of his home state, though.

Score Player State Ht/Wt. Temperature 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.995 Darnay Holmes CA 5-10/190 Cool
.992 Deangelo Gibbs GA 6-2/204 Mild
.983 Stanford Samuels III FL 6-2/175 Cold
.979 Thomas Graham CA 5-11/170 Mild
.974 Jamyest Williams GA 5-9/170 Mild
.960 Chevin Calloway TX 5-10/180 Cool
.957 William Poole III GA 6-0/182 Cold
.947 Ambry Thomas MI 6-0/170 Mild
.926 Amir Riep OH 6-0/180 Mild
.926 AJ Terrell GA 6-2/175 Cool
.910 Tyrell Ajian OH 6-1/85 Mild >
.874 Elijah Gates CA 5-10/170
In Play

Darnay Holmes has talked about the important of academics and has said that he has very real interest in Notre Dame. He's a potential Irish Invasion attendee; if Notre Dame can get him on campus over the summer, all bets are off.

Georgian Deangelo Gibbs has told the services that he "definitely" will visit Notre Dame soon. He has elite safety size and elite cornerback skills, which explains why he's the #11 player overall in the 247 Composite.

Stanford Samuels III is a Florida State legacy who will in all likelihood share an alma mater with his father, Stanford Jr., adding to the name and position they share now. Michigan just hired his high school coach, Devin Bush Sr., as a defensive assistant, after his son Devin Bush Jr. signed with the Wolverines last month. Or perhaps I should say "defensive assistant." Either way, it's hard to see Samuels anywhere but Florida State.

Thomas Graham, like fellow USC commit RB Stephen Carr, is a soft Trojan pledge who is actively looking around. He picked up a Notre Dame offer last month and immediately talked about setting up a visit. Stay tuned.

Jamyest Williams made the trek from Georgia on his own dime for Notre Dame's January junior day. He called the visit "great" and put the Irish in his top five; competition will be fierce, but Williams has very real interest in Notre Dame and should make it back for an official in the fall.

Texan Chevin Calloway is a prospect that Notre Dame has been on for quite some time - so long, in fact, that his original recruiter was Kerry Cooks. And Oklahoma is the main competition for his services, which makes you wonder how the Cooks effect will manifest. Perhaps working in Notre Dame's favor is Calloway's status as a former teammate of current Irish corner Nick Watkins.

William Poole III picked up a Notre Dame offer last summer, which is about the last Irish-related tidbit about his recruitment. The Georgian looks to be all SEC right now.

Ambry Thomas, who has connected nicely with fellow Michigander Keith Gilmore, attended Notre Dame's January junior day and has the Irish under serious consideration.

Ohio product Amir Riep got his Notre Dame offer a few weeks ago and set up a visit for the March 19th junior day. Ohio State, Michigan State, Tennessee, and Penn State are also in the picture here.

Georgian AJ Terrell just picked up an Irish offer and has talked about a potential visit, but distance could be a factor in his recruitment. Watch for an offseason visit - if it doesn't happen, Notre Dame probably won't get much traction.

Tyrell Ajian's recruitment has been pretty quiet, but Notre Dame is generally considered to be in great position for him along with Ohio State. The catch? Ohio State hasn't offered yet. Back in the fall the Buckeyes probably could've locked him up immediately with an offer, but I'm not sure that's the case anymore.

Notre Dame just offered California's Elijah Gates a couple of weeks ago, who was moved by the offer. Look for a possible visit this offseason.

Score Player State Ht/Wt. Temperature 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.994 Jeffrey Okudah TX 6-2/194 Cold
.988 JaCoby Stevens TN 6-2/200 Cold
.979 Devon Hunter VA 6-3/210 Mild
.953 Daniel Wright FL 6-2/175 Cool
.943 Xavier McKinney GA 6-1/170 Cool
.928 Malcolm Askew AL 6-0/175 Cold
.919 CJ Avery MS 6-1/196 Cool
.907 Jaylen Kelly-Powell MI 6-0/183 Mild
.898 Saiid Adebo TX 6-1/177 Cool
.896 RJ Potts GA 5-9/170
.844 Amari Carter FL 6-2/180
In Play

Jeffrey Okudah is fresh off a visit to Texas for their junior day, a visit that he rated a 10. I don't see Notre Dame getting seriously involved here, regardless of whatever effort they put in.

Jacoby Stevens could be tough to pull out of Tennessee, but USC might have a chance - their new director of player personnel hails from Tennessee and Stevens knows him well.

Virginian Devon Hunter - sure seems like Notre Dame is hitting the state hard this cycle, which makes me happy - picked up a Notre Dame offer a couple of weeks ago. He has talked about being a fan of the Irish program, but we'll see if that translates into an actual visit.

Daniel Wright, teammate and good friend of 2016 Notre Dame signee Deon McIntosh, picked up an Irish offer in January. He has the Florida schools coming after him hard and they'll be tough to beat, but he's worth the effort.

Alabama commit Xavier McKinney just picked up a Notre Dame offer. He's listed here despite the Alabama pledge  because he's actively looking, as evidenced by his recent visit to Florida.

The Irish offered Malcolm Askew last summer but haven't made much progress since then. He's virtually a lock to stay in the SEC.

CJ Avery is the beneficiary of a rare foray onto Mississippi by the Irish staff, picking up an offer just a few weeks ago. He has said some complimentary things but, as usual, we suggest that you watch the visits here.

Jaylen Kelly-Powell is another of the several Michigan targets the Irish have been tracking for a long time. He was on campus for the January junior day and looks to have real interest in the Irish, although Michigan State is potentially a big player here as well.

Saiid Adebo also just gained an Irish offer, to go along with several other big schools who have come after him recently. This recruitment seems to be in the early stages, so definitely one worth watching.

Indianan RJ Potts has been on the Irish radar for a long time, but his recruitment is extremely close the vest so it's hard tell how it's really going. The best barometer of interest is, of course, whether extra visits occur, so watch for that this offseason.

Amari Carter recently got a Notre Dame offer and put the Irish in his top three. He's from the same high school as current Irish players Te'Von Coney and Devin Studstill - and fellow 2017 target VanDarius Cowan. This will be an interesting recruitment to track.