Notre Dame will be hosting 40+ recruits in the class of 2015 and 2016 combined this weekend for the Irish Invasion, but there won’t be as much of a sense of urgency as there will be with the one recruit who knows the campus the best by now – 5-star linebacker Justin Hilliard. Hilliard is aiming to make his decision by the end of the month and will be on campus Friday giving the Irish staff one last chance to state their case.
Justin Hilliard has not been a stranger on the Notre Dame campus. He’s visited Notre Dame a number of times this year including just two weeks ago when his mother made her first trip to South Bend with her much heralded son. With the Irish Invasion this weekend and number of committed recruits visiting Notre Dame, Hilliard wanted to get one more visit under his belt.
That’s the good news for Notre Dame. The bad news is that Hilliard will also be visiting Ohio State this weekend on Saturday to give the Buckeyes one last look as well meaning Urban Meyer will get the last word in with Hilliard.
Notre Dame has some things working in it’s favor such as recent commitments from Elijah Taylor and Nick Coleman – both Ohio natives with some ties to Hilliard, but the visit to Ohio State certainly looms large.
Should Brian Kelly and the Irish coaching staff be able to pull off landing Hilliard, the Irish will have quite possibly the best one-two linebacker punch in the same class in some time between Hilliard and Josh Barajas. If you think about 4-star Asmar Bilal recently stating that Notre Dame is his leader as well, Notre Dame could have the makings of a very special linebacker class on its hands.
Before that has any chance of becoming a reality though, the Irish staff has their work cut out for them. The Crystal Ball predictions for Hilliard over on 247 Sports and trending way in Ohio State’s favor with the Irish trailing even Michigan and Iowa. Most would argue though that this is a Notre Dame and Ohio State race.
According to the South Bend Tribune, there will be seven commitments from the class of 2015 on hand this week to aid in the efforts to lure in the likes of Hilliard and other elite uncommitted recruits on campus. Below are the seven of 13 currently committed recruits from the #ShamrockSoldiers15 who will be participating in the Irish Invasion.
- Shaun Crawford – CB
- Nicco Fertitta – S
- Tristen Hoge – OL
- Trevor Ruhland – OL
- Elijah Taylor – DT
- Brandon Tiassum – DT
- Jerry Tillery – OL
Kelly and company have an uphill battle on their hands this weekend, but having Hilliard on campus with so many committed prospects this weekend should at least give Notre Dame a fighting chance here. With Hilliard set to announce in June and just 10 days remaining until the calendar reads July, we won’t have to wait long to find out of their efforts will be enough to add another elite linebacker to the roster.