The college football recruiting world descended upon Oregon for the premier recruiting event of the cycle, The Opening Finals. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish were well represented at the event with five commitments, and a large handful of prospects that they are in the mix for come signing day.
So much of what we analyze and debate when it comes to recruiting is pretty much based upon the “post hoc ergo propter hoc” theory. Basically:
“Since event Y followed event X, event Y must have been caused by event X.”
We know this to be false most of the time- but in recruiting, a lot of us live by this philosophy. It seems easier to do that than to just accept that kids and their families make decisions that best serve them than you. Even President Bartlet knows this is true.
So, just be careful
Let’s put down our Latin lesson, and continue...
Notre Dame Commits At The Opening
|SAFETY||Derrik Allen||4 Star|
|DT||Ja'Mion Franklin||3 Star|
|LB||Ovie Oghoufo||3 Star|
|TE||George Takacs||4 Star|
|DT||Jayson Ademilola||4 Star|
One of the best things to come out of The Opening is one of the most overlooked things this time of year. We start to hear about which commitments are firm and which commitments are not. The way I judge the firmness of a commitment is if the prospect is still listening and possibly planning a visit to an other school or schools.
From all accounts, Jayson Ademilola and Derrik Allen, arguably our best two commitments, are completely firm in their commitment to Notre Dame. Both Ademilola na dAllen had good showings at The Opening, and represented/recruited well for the Irish.
Ademilola wasn’t the only defensive linemen in the fold for the Fighting Irish that participated at The Opening. Ja’Mion Franklin also impressed quite a few, and he too talked about shunning those that jumped on his bandwagon too late. Franklin played hard this past week, and improved his standing as well. Franklin was also in the ears of other prospects that the Irish are going after. He’s a “try hard” and Notre Dame can certainly use more of that.
Ja’mion Franklin today against four-star offensive lineman Curtis Dunlap.✅ pic.twitter.com/BQVKT7CXXC— Irish Illustrated (@PeteSampson_) July 3, 2017
Those three commits were joined by tight end George Takacs and linebacker Ovie Oghoufo. Both remain solid to the Irish. Takacs has a lifetime love of the Irish and Ovie continues to deflect those chasing him.
All is well on this front.
Outside of our commits, there were a few recruits at The Opening that Notre Dame is in hot pursuit for during this recruiting cycle.
Notre Dame Prospects At The Opening
|WR||Amon-Ra St. Brown||5 Star|
|ROVER||Shayne Simon||4 Star|
|OL||Jamaree Salyer||5 Star|
|WR||Kevin Austin||4 Star|
|CB||Houston Griffith||4 Star|
|LB||Jack Lamb||4 Star|
|LB||Cam McGrone||4 Star|
|DT||PJ Mustipher||4 Star|
|OL||Emil Ekiyor||4 Star|
Here’s a quick word about each of these prospects...
- Amon-Ra St. Brown. The general feeling is that this is a battle between the Irish, the USC Trojans, and the Stanford Cardinal. While that’s an easy assumption, the 5 star WR has made no real declaration of a lean in any direction. The Michigan Wolverines, Ohio State Buckeyes, and UCLA Bruins are all in the mix as well. He’s got spunk.
- Shayne Simon. There was a strong feeling going into The Opening that the 4 star safety/linebacker hybrid was an Irish lean. Simon has publicly said a few things to make that a little less strong of a felling such as taking official visits. However, the general feeling is still good with the main competition being the Wolverines. Simon wants to commit before the season starts, and that puts the Irish in a good position.
Shane Simon with the INT pic.twitter.com/tdGg3j0XRs— SB Nation Recruiting (@SBNRecruiting) July 3, 2017
- Jamaree Salyer. While Notre Dame still feels like a bit of a long shot on paper with Salyer, he will officially visit the Irish in September for the Georgia game. Salyer had some showdowns with Ademilola and the irish commit made it well-known to the 5 star offensive lineman that he wants him in South Bend in 2018. Ademilola also had Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson help him in this regard as Nelson was at The Opening as a counselor. Notre Dame is battling the Buckeyes, Georgia Bulldogs, Stanford, and the Clemson Tigers for Salyer. Hold on tight.
Jamaree Salyer is the closest thing to Quenton Nelson out here. Going against Jayson Ademilola here. pic.twitter.com/cfFjgA99wv— Irish Illustrated (@PeteSampson_) July 3, 2017
- Kevin Austin. Austin has said that Notre Dame has told him that he is their number one wide receiver target right now. While that just may be words, Austin would be quite a catch (how’s that for clever with words). Austin is considered a heavy Irish lean right now, and his commitment may be imminent according to some. While we should never take anything for granted in this regard, it’s a feeling I echo. Hooray!
- Jack Lamb. For a two linebacker defense with a rover, Notre Dame is going after a lot of linebackers. 4 Star Lamb is an absolute take, and he has the Irish among his leaders. In fact, Notre Dame may lead at the moment with strong competition with the Washington Huskies. Lamb is looking to commit sometime in the coming months. Franklin wants him.
"Jack Lamb to the Irish" says DT commit @Jamion_Franklin passing behind a Lamb interview.— David McKinney (@BGI_DMcKinney) July 2, 2017
- Cam McGrone. McGrone’s recruitment isn’t going exactly how Notre Dame fans thought. In short, most thought McGrone would be in the fold before his arrival at The Opening. That, of course, is no longer the case and the Irish are in a dog fight with Michigan for the 4 star linebacker’s signature.
❌❌❌ Its a Dead Mission tryna get past me ♂️ pic.twitter.com/nl2EcZs0f4— Cam McGrone ❌ (@McGrone_Strong) July 2, 2017
Houston Griffith, PJ Mustipher, and Emil Ekiyor.
- Griffith didn’t have the best camp, and his recruitment looks to be getting further and further away from Notre Dame. Nebraska might have the edge for the 4 star cornerback.
- Mustipher insists that Notre Dame is still under consideration, but something isn’t adding up. He’s not showing much interest, and neither is Notre Dame. Maybe this will heat up a bit more during the season- maybe not.
- Ekiyor still doesn’t have an Irish offer and most likely won’t get one. There was some talk that one may come his way before the summer, but this Michigan commit is heading to Ann Arbor. He already holds like a Wolverine lineman.
A nice surprise?
Notre Dame was a school that was mentioned early on with 5 star cornerback Anthony Cook from Georgia. That was in early spring. Nothing much has been mentioned through that time, but maybe that will change. Cook said his considering an official visit to Notre Dame. That’s big news from the #1 corner in the country, but it may be a pipe dream. Cook wants to narrow his list down to three and then take some visits. I wouldn’t hold your breath.
Here he is, getting a little touchy-feely with Amon-Ra St. Brown:
Tight End Party
Chip Long wants to use a 2 tight end system, and Notre Dame is looking to amass a heavy depth chart to help him. The Irish already have George Takacs committed, but they are also in the top 4 for the nation’s #1 tight end, Jeremy Ruckert.
Notre Dame is also the perceived leader for 3 star tight end Tommy Tremble. Tremble will narrow his list soon, and has said he will commit shortly thereafter. Would Notre Dame take 3 in this class? Probably not- but I’ve seen weirder numbers before.
Other News Of Note
- Four star defensive end, Joseph Ossai has Notre Dame in his top 3.
- 4 star WR Kamryn Babb wants to take an official visit to Notre Dame.
While I could write out another couple thousand words on the rest of what is going on with this class, I think a lot of things will be sorted out by September. The key here is patience. Notre Dame has to show these recruits that last year is far behind them, and there is still a bright future ahead for the Irish and this coaching staff. Notre Dame is always being negatively recruited against, but after a 4-8 season, it’s on overdrive.
Did I say September? The clearer picture will most likely come by the end of October. Until then, we will keep track of what’s going on- including the numbers game that Notre Dame will have to continue to play.
2018 Notre Dame Football Scholarship Chart
|Quarterback||Phil Jurkovec||Avery Davis*||Ian Book*||Brandon Wimbush*|
|Running Back||Jahmir Smith, C'Bo Flemister||Jafar Armstrong*||Tony Jones Jr.*||Dexter Williams|
|Tight End||George Takacs, Tommy Tremble||Cole Kmet, Brock Wright||Alize' Mack*||Nic Weishar|
|Wide Receiver||Micah Jones, Kevin Austin, Braden Lenzy, Lawrence Keys III||Michael Young||Chase Claypool, Javon McKinley*||Chris Finke*, Miles Boykin*|
|Center||Luke Jones||Sam Mustipher|
|Guard||John Dirksen||Dillan Gibbons*||Tommy Kraemer*||Trevor Ruhland*||Alex Bars|
|Tackle||Cole Mabry, Jarrett Patterson||Josh Lugg*, Robert Hainsey, Aaron Banks*||Liam Eichenberg*|
|Defensive Tackle||Jayson Ademilola, Ja'mion Franklin||Kurt Hinish, Darnell Ewell*, Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa||Micah Dew-Treadway*, Jerry Tillery||Jonathan Bonner|
|Defensive End||Justin Ademilola||Kofi Wardlow*||Ade Ogundeji*, Daelin Hayes, Khalid Kareem, Julian Okwara|
|Linebacker||Matt Bauer, Ovio Oghoufo, Jack Lamb||Drew White*, Jordan Genmark Heath||Jonathan Jones*, Jamir Jones, DJ Morgan||Te'von Coney||Drue Tranquill|
|Rover||Shayne Simon||Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah*, Isaiah Robertson||Asmar Bilal|
|Safety||Derrik Allen, Paul Moala, Houston Griffith||Devin Studstill, Jalen Elliott, Alohi Gilman*||Nicco Fertitta, Nick Coleman|
|Cornerback||Joe Wilkins Jr., Tariq Bracy, D.J. Brown, Noah Boykin||Julian Love, Troy Pride Jr., Donte Vaughn||Shaun Crawford**|
|Specialists||John Doerer||John Shannon*||Justin Yoon||Tyler Newsome|
|27/85 (27)||45/85 (18)||65/85 (20)||79/85 (14)||85/85 (6)|