Most years, during the first week of January, the only game Notre Dame fans are preparing themselves for are the yearly high school All American bowls. This year? Well, we all know that we have the ultimate game still left, but those All American games are still happening this week so here is a quick run down of the commits and prospects Notre Dame has playing in the three major bowl games this weekend.
Under Armour All American Game
- Date: Friday, January 4 @ 5:00 PM EST
- Television: ESPN / ESPN3
- Location: St. Petersburg, FL (Tropicana Field)
On the commitment front, Notre Dame has three current commitments playing in the Under Armour game this year – linebacker Alex Anzalone and offensive linemen Hunter Bivin and Colin McGovern. All three will be playing for “Team Highlight” in Friday’s contest letting the two linemates play together for the first time before reporting to South Bend in the summer. Anzalone’s recruitment was a bit drama-filled but all three are considered very solid commitments for Notre Dame at this time – especially with Anazalone set to enroll early at Notre Dame.
Three additional Notre Dame prospects will be playing the game as well. “Team Nitro” will feature wide receiver Sebastian Larue and safety Max Redfield while running back Tareean Folston will be playing with the trio of Irish commitments for “Team Highlight”.
Both Redfield and Folston are set to announce their decisions before or during the game – Redfield during the game Friday and Folston during practice later today. If Notre Dame were able to pick up either, or better yet both, the Irish make a case for taking over the #1 spot in team rankings. Redfield is an elite safety prospect who could potentially step in and start from day one for the graduating Zeke Motta and as a one time USC commitment, it would take away an elite defender from Notre Dame’s biggest rival. Folston meanwhile would be a perfect compliment to current running back commitment Greg Bryant. Folston is a game changing back with home run potential and could see the field early on in his career as well.
Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl
- Date: Friday, January 4 @ 9:00 PM EST
- Television: NFL Network
- Location: Carson, CA (Home Depot Center)
Right after the Under Armour game is finishing up, the Semper Fidelis bowl should get getting ready to kick off in California making for a full night of viewing for college football fans. For Notre Dame fans, the Irish will be well represented in this bowl as well with five different current commitments suiting up.
For starters, Notre Dame fans will get their first look at quarterback Malik Zaire on the east squad where we could potentially get a preview of the Zaire to Will Fuller connection with Fuller playing wide receiver for the east team as well. Offensive lineman Mike McGlintchey meanwhile could be in the game blocking for them while defensive back Cole Luke tries to intercept his future quarterback for the west team. The last Notre Dame commitment in the game is cornerback Devin Butler who has been impressive in practice already this week for the East.
It would be pretty neat to see Zaire, Fuller, and McGlinchey all on the field at the same time like we got to see Dayne Crist on the field at the same time as John Goodman and Michael Floyd a few years back in the Army All American Bowl.
On the prospect side, Notre Dame has a few recruits in this game as well with defensive back LJ Moore and linebacker Deon Hollins both playing for the west. Moore visited for the Michigan game while Hollins is reportedly looking to set up a visit to Notre Dame this month despite being committed to UCLA.
US Army All-American Bowl
- Date: Saturday, January 5 @ 1:00 PM EST
- Television: NBC
- Location: San Antonio, TX (Alamo Dome)
Notre Dame will be represented the most in the Army All-American Bowl this year just as they have in the past with seven commitments playing in San Antonio this weekend. On the east team, running back Greg Bryant will run behind offensive lineman John Montelus with linebacker Doug Randolph joining them on the defensive side of the ball for team east.
On the west team, Corey Robinson will be lining up at wide receiver where he could have potentially been on the field at the same time as fellow wide receiver commitment Torii Hunter Jr before Hunter suffered a broken femur in practice on Tuesday. Notre Dame’s first commitment in this year’s class, Steve Elmer, will help anchor the west offensive line.
Notre Dame’s most prized recruit – 5-star linebacker Jaylon Smith – will help anchor the West team’s defense where he will look to showcase his elite skills against the nation’s best recruits.
Defensive end/outside linebacker Alquadin Muhammad will be playing for the East team and will be announcing his college decision during the game. At one time, Muhammad was considered a strong Notre Dame lean, but at this point that is anything but the case considering he has not officially visited Notre Dame. One time USC commitment Eddie Vanderdoes, an elite defensive line recruit, is also playing the West team. He will not be announcing his decision during the game, but things do look fairly promising for the Irish with the former Trojan commitment. Another USC commitment, defensive end/outside linebacker Torrodney Prevot, is reportedly looking to visit Notre Dame in January as well.
In all, Notre Dame will have 14 recruits playing this weekend (excluding the injured Torii Hunter) which should give any Notre Dame fan with about nine hours to kill this weekend while we all wait for Monday’s national championship a great preview of the future star players for the Fighting Irish. With several key recruits announcing their decision, Notre Dame fans could also have something to celebrate – hopefully just a precursor for a much larger celebration a few days later.