Notre Dame Targets Wide Receivers on Day 1 of Portal Season

The college football transfer portal was officially open for business on Monday, and Notre Dame wasted no time in offering two very intriguing wide receivers who entered their names today. Kent State’s Dante Cephas and Iowa’s Keagan Johnson were the recipients of Notre Dame offers on Monday, joining Western Michigan’s Braden Fiske as the known portal players with Irish offers to date.

Targeting wide receivers makes a whole lot of sense for Notre Dame, given the lack of depth in the upper classes, thanks to the recruiting of the previous staff. With Braden Lenzy set to move on, Joe Wilkins in the transfer portal, and the uncertainty around Avery Davis and a potential 6th season, Notre Dame is looking at heading into the 2023 season with the junior-to-be trio of Jayden Thomas, Deion Colzie, and Lorenzo Styles and sophomore to be Tobias Merriweather along with an incoming quartet of freshman in the class of 2023. And that is all assuming there is no attrition from the Notre Dame wide receiver room.

Dante Cephas would be a potential electric receiver for the Irish. In 2021, he caught 82 passes for 1,240 yards with 9 touchdowns. His numbers fell off in 2022, along with the quarterback play at Kent State, but he still hauled in 48 passes for 744 and 3 touchdowns, averaging over 15 yards a reception in both seasons. No Notre Dame receiver with at least 10 catches averaged 15 yards this season – Deion Colzie averaged 16.3 on nine catches, and Tobias Merriweather had 41 on just one catch.

Notre Dame has some serious competition for Cephas, though. He tweeted out offers from Oklahoma, Kansas, Miami, Penn State, West Virginia, and Pitt already on Monday, in addition to Notre Dame. Cephas has two years of eligibility remaining.

Here are some of his highlights from his monster 2021 season.

Keagan Johnson burst onto the scene for the Hawkeyes in 2021 with 18 receptions for 352 yards and two touchdowns. In Iowa football terms, that might as well be 1,000 yards. He was limited to just two games in 2022, however, with a lingering hamstring injury that shouldn’t impact him in 2023.

Landing Johnson now could help write one of the recruiting errors of old wide receivers coach Del Alexander who never wanted more than three receivers in a single class. Notre Dame and Johnson had mutual interest when he was originally recruited, but the Irish were “full” at receiver in that cycle with Styles, Colzie, and Thomas and ultimately didn’t offer. It’s ironic now that Notre Dame is in pursuit in part because of the failures of Alexander on the recruiting trail.

Like Cephas, Johnson is a downfield threat. He averaged 19.6 yards a reception in 2021 for the Hawkeyes. It seems as though Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees and head coach Marcus Freeman are targeting speedy downfield threats in the portal to supplement a roster that has a lot of bigger outside guys, but not a lot of elite downfield speed. Either Cephas or Johnson would certainly fill that need.

All Else Relatively Quiet on Portal Front for Notre Dame… Too Quiet

Other than these two offers, it was a little eerily quiet for Notre Dame on the portal front. Freshman corner Jayden Bellamy was an unexpected entry into the portal for Notre Dame, while senior DE Osita Ekwonu was an expected entry. Other than that, no new names popped into the portal from Notre Dame that we didn’t already know about. Notre Dame hosted Braden Fiske this past weekend, but a decision isn’t expected imminently.

We know Notre Dame will be targeting a quarterback in the portal as well – we just don’t know for sure who yet. A lot of quarterbacks entered the portal on Monday – some of them very intriguing, like NC State’s Devin Leary. So far, however, there hasn’t been a lot of public reporting connecting Notre Dame to any one quarterback.

There will likely be more names from the 2022 Notre Dame roster to enter the portal in the coming days, along with more names connected to Notre Dame. By all reports, the Irish are expected to be more aggressive than they have been with the portal this off-season as Freeman looks to continue to upgrade the roster.

You may also like


  1. When can we see a probable starting and back-up roster for the Gator Bowl?
    As is her way around Christmas, Mom went to the bookstore to buy us Bowl GameDay shirts…she claims she was told the GB shirt would only be printed if we win.
    I still have my 1976 Gator Bowl vs.Penn State t-shirt.

    BGC 77 82

  2. Coach Prime crying…!!…in his pre-game speech. I shit you not.
    That guy could sell timeshares to crackheads.
    A young Don King would blush.

    1. This presents an opportunity to give Kelly some credit.

      He had zero respect for ND when he was here, didn’t pretend to have any when sneaking off, hasn’t said one good thing about the place since, and never will.

      That’s consistency.

      1. you made me laugh- twice in a row. Well played . . .
        But to excuse me from the condolences,and insults thrown around here like a trump rally crowd at Nancy Pelosi’s cook-out, a break in all that to ask you and any of our posters a football-related question:
        How many “vypers” do you need and what does a vyper position mean?

        I’ve heard and read that Justin, Junior, Botelho, Sneed, Burnham, have all taken reps there these last practices, which suggests we get the same LBs we’ve had all year. Apparently, still not much subbing among the LBs
        . . .when do we get to see theseFrosh LBs play more ?
        Sneed had 5 tackles in the snow vs. BC in less than a dozen plays.
        Talk about earning playing time!
        More Botelho, please, and more Sneed & the Frosh LBs.
        “I(d) like to watch!”
        Chauncey Gardener, Being There

  3. For those of us mourning the despicable, totally unnecessary murder of the last fantastic sport in America, a rebuttal:

    “…Almost every change made to college football in the past 30 years has been good for the sport. It’s growing, it’s improving, and it’s better for everyone.”
    —- Keith

    What a fucking dooshbag.

  4. I do post from the past David. I have not been on campus for years. I think the last game I went to was Pitt (we won 10-7, I believe). I never went to a Kelly practice (maybe one by the bookstore)

    I haven’t had an “inside” source for more than 10 years. They are all retired, or dead, as I will be soon enough. I’m too poor (medicare ain’t what it used to be) and too weak to make those trips.
    But some things in football never change, especially at ND, where we (still) have administrators who understand the importance of having highly experienced attorneys, CPAs, and in house fund financial analysts employed at all times – but not required for head football coach.
    I hope Coach Freeman wins this Gator Bowl, and goes on to win a National Championship, as we did in 1977. The reason I write and continue to write about “old Notre Dame” is because I was a student there in the mid-seventies, and a proud “fac brat” as we were called, all the way back to selling Cub Scout candy in the then open dorms at the end of the Kuharic Era.
    For God, for community, and for species. GO IRISH, BEAT GAMECOCKS.

    BGC 77 82

  5. As long as we’re now “back-calculating” bowl games to gin-up ridiculous internet arguments, here’s one:

    Brian Kelly is the 2009 national champion.
    As Cincinnati’s coach, he went 12-0. He didn’t coach the bowl game against Florida, so that didn’t happen to him.
    Further, we can (and therefore will) speculate freely that had he coached the game, Cincinnati would have won.

    Congratulations, Brian Kelly! Your ladder-climbing self-interest saved you from a Gator beat down, AND left you with the long-term delusion of being an unrequited championship coach.

      1. No, Keith, he is not. He is not mentally ill at all, at least not in the sense that I am (bipolar 1). He, like President Trump, has multiple personality disorders.

        BGC 77 82

  6. Thank you MJT, and Keith. Bowl game losses only count for BK, I guess. Then they count triple! And we do need to improve on D and O, at least for consistency. But the special teams are as good and reliable as I ever remember them at ND. They are getting practice time, and are using athletes and starters, as pioneered by West Virginia’s Frank Beamer.

    BGC 77 82

  7. What are the odds Coach Deland follows his sons to OK?
    If Venables, a D-minded head coach, offers Coach Deland the OC, it would be a step up for him.

    1. Anybody out there wanting to talk about ND sports on this site?
      How about current events: like NDs new transfer kicker who’s been kicking in So. Fla!
      But how’s he done in the wind and cold like he will be in South Bend in November?

      Sorry . . .like so many other posters, I gravitate to ‘what might not work’
      It comes with being a ND fan these last 30 years. And I’m old enough to remember ND football from the mid 60s when I was 15, thru Joe Montana- a great decade of ND football. And with Marcus Freeman, and ND not paying to play to keep up, Coach Freeman is our best shot since St. Lou to bring in elite talent that are still expected to go to classes, not as easy as we’d think. And . . .
      What about Niele Ivey bringing in some elite talent- a phoenix arising !

      1. As always, I’m up for it.
        But Rhonda, Keith, Donald and now even Bruce prefer to argue and bullshit.

  8. Pray for Coach Leach. Truly one of a kind. Broke the mold. Met him on the recruiting trail when he was an assistant to Hal Mumme.

      1. Heres’ an idea for you and Rhonda:
        Quit the hypocrisy of faking respect for dead people who don’t know you from dogshit on their shoe. Try being merely decent to living people who you go far out of your way to bully.

        That’s who you are. The “heartfelt eulogizing” act is pathetic bullshit.

  9. No David, he’s definitely 8-5, as even your very few readers know.
    If we win the Bowl game, he will be 9-5, a 64% winning per cent. If we lose the Gator Bowl, we are 8-6 under Coach Freeman, 57%. You have a right to your own opinions, David, but not your own facts.
    Oh well, I guess if you torture the data hard enough it will confess to anything. So keep trying g to ram the Swarbick/Jenkins party line down our throats, all the time full aware that Keith and I can both count to 13.

    BGC 77 82

    1. Counting future games as losses are part of your “facts”….got it.

      Please feel free to make the “very few” even fewer. Solve your problem.

      1. You would probably be less angry if you were a better reader, David. I think most of the time you only comprehend what other people type with about 50% accuracy


      3. I do not ‘hype’ any coaches. Because there’s no way to knwo who will be successful and who won’t.
        Some are surprising failures. And some of those are shockingly quick.
        But being as ANY top 10 hire MUST win it all, there’s a high risk they’ll eventually get fired.

        But you play it the “Rhonda way” : say nothing, but ridicule those who do. You’ll bat 1.000
        Just another internet arsehole….MAGA!

      4. dont backtrack dopey u HYPED willie ( SIMPLISTIC VELOSITY ) taggart as a better coach than KELLY dont lie stupid!! You also said the same about HERMAN at texas & frosty at nebraska & not even worth mentioning the the alltime hype at minnesota where u find 8-4 every year to be a miracle!! WHAT A BACKTRACKING DOPE U ARE! Guess thats why u dont hype coaches anymore cause u know NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!

    2. BGC why do u bother with this idiot? 8-4 this year 0-1 last year ( yes bowl game counts ) freeman needs to improve on ALL area”s of this team!! AND HIS 8-5 RECORD, WE ALL KNOW KELLY WOULD HAVE BEEN 10-2. Losses to stanford & marshall are unacceptable!!

      1. Thank you MJT, and Keith. Bowl game losses only count for BK, I guess. Then they count triple! And we do need to improve on D and O, at least for consistency. But the special teams are as good and reliable as I ever remember them at ND. They are getting practice time, and are using athletes and starters, as pioneered by West Virginia’s Frank Beamer.

        BGC 77 82

      2. Another Kelly ball licker.
        Do you still carry a torch for that high school slut who got reemed in a van still wearing your corasge?

  10. Hats off to coach Ken for a remarkable career at Navy. Got the chance to know and learn offensive philosophy from him back when he was at UNLV. Taught me a bunch. Good man.

  11. Congrats to Caleb Williams. Heck of a player and an even better human. Great story with the Utah fans. He is what makes college athletics great and this country even greater.
    May god bless you all.

    1. God bless Rhonda for her genuine Christian valeues, sincerely heartfelt posts, and for being such an example of mental wellness.

  12. Between the portal, the NFL opt-outs, and coaching replacemement ripples, the bowl games (I refuse to call it a “season”) is plain awful.
    It has gone from being my absolutely favorite thing to now my least enjoyable part of college football.
    Fucking money.

  13. NFL-bound Michael Mayer:
    “Coach Freeman has done a fantastic job coming in and being a leader. Coach Freeman really understands and gets being a college football student athlete. He’s patient and understanding. There’s not a lot of yelling and screaming…'”

    Zzzzzing !

      1. No, he’s 8-4.
        Kelly went 7-5 in his first season. with losses to mighty Navy and Tulsa.

        As we all know, Kelly went on to become the greatest coach in the history of college athletics…so there is some hope for Freeman .

        Oh, and Freeman didn’t get anyone killed in his first year. So that’s pretty good.

        Go yank yerself.

  14. Sonny Dykes got TCU into the playoffs in his 1st year. After being picked to come 7th in the Big 12.
    His QB is up for the Heisman award, and he just got himself a nice raise.
    Life is good.

    Meanwhile, the jabroni who left ND –because “it didn’t have the recruits, facilities or admin support he needed to compete for a championship” — blew his first dream shot losing to a 4-7 team in complete disarray.

    Superstar-coached LSU finishes #17 in the CFP rankings
    “Second tier” (and QB-lite….thanks Bri !) ND finishes #21

    1. But what does the coach of TEXAS A&M get paid for his 4-7 team? And who pays for that football program anyway? Just asking.

      BGC 77 82

      1. You’re a joke, dude. You litter the board with nothing but endless tales of pre-1970 ND mythology.
        And keep complaining about MY posts…but won’t can’t seem to stop reading them.
        Physician, fuck thyself.

  15. A thread on the board speculating Rees might not be back….

    Buchner getting hurt running the ball wasn’t the smartest move for a team with no viable back-up, and that’s on Rees.
    But having a back-up who couldn’t deliver the ball on the numbers to guys 6 yards away is Pyne’s fault, not Rees.

    A competent OC who doesn’t have a decent QB is going to look incompetent… incompetent OC without one is going to look worse.

    After regularly taking Kelly’s rage on national TV, Rees will never get much respect by ND fans.
    It’s the exact reason why leaders don’t do that to workplace staff…..Rees wasn’t on staff then, but fans’ emasculated perception of him remains. Kelly fallout.

    It was only in hindsight that Rees’ achievements as a scrappy runt of a QB eventually got some respect form ND fans.
    And it’ll only be in the rearview mirror that he could get any as an OC.

  16. As life re-affirming as seeing Harbaugh get pasted in a tOSU rematch could be, I’m rooting for the Hypnotoads to make it the final game.
    New blood is good for the game, more exposure for Max Duggan, the kid who’s destined to get the fewest votes on the corrupt Heisman ballot, and nothing short of game-changing for TCU athletics.

    And Michigan still loses, so win-win.

  17. Will portal commitments become unreliable, like regular recruiting is now?
    Will there be PPPs….”poached portal players’ ?
    College….what fun!

    1. Ask Rily how he “nabbed 19 tranfers”
      He is lookig a lot like Bayou Kelly.
      Apparently left for a ton of money and just bought multi multi million dollar home

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button