National Signing Day 2017 is just around the corner and the newly overhauled Notre Dame coaching staff has been hitting the road and turning over every leaf to fill out this year’s class. Over the last few weeks there’s been a fury of new offers going out as Notre Dame looks to replace recent decommits while adding to a strong core of committed recruits. With just over two weeks to go, we’re taking a look at all the new names and remaining prospects on the board.
Note: We will pin these posts to the top of the Football Board and update it as new names pop up and others fall off the list. We had originally planned on one long post but it was getting to be too long and A.D.D. kicked in.
Notre Dame’s Need at the Position
Notre Dame currently only has one wide receiver in the class of 2017 – 3-star playmaker Michael Young. Notre Dame had two up until last month before Jordan Pouncey decommitted. Pouncey is still listing Notre Dame among his finalists, but the Irish do not figure to be a factor in his recruiting moving forward. Miami is considered the leader for his services.
Notre Dame would like to have at least three wide receivers in this year’s class so Brian Kelly and his staff have their work cut out for them. Young is primarily a threat from the slot so Notre Dame will ideally add at least two more prospects to the fold between now and Signing Day that can work the outside X & W
Prospects on the Board
- Oliver Martin (6-1, 188, 4.6 // Iowa City, IA // Offered)
Martin is the #1 recruit on Notre Dame’s board at wide receiver and is not a new offer. Notre Dame has been in on Martin for a while and hosted him back in December for the Echoes Awards Banquet weekend. Right now it looks like this is an Iowa vs. Notre Dame battle and will come down to whether or not Martin wants to leave his home state. The 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions have been pointing towards Notre Dame lately. Oliver is in the 247Sports Top 100 and a 4-star recruit everywhere except Rivals.
- Gavin Holmes (5-11, 178 lbs, 4.43 // Justin, TX // Offered)
Uncommitted currently, Gavin Holmes was one of the first of this last wave of new offers for Notre Dame. Chip Long visited Holmes last week as soon as the dead period ended an is planning on visiting campus officially at the end of the month. Holmes was the first visit for Notre Dame’s new offensive coordinator. Holmes can play either outside or on the inside in the slot in Notre Dame’s offense. Nebraska and Arizona State are the biggest threats here.
- Jafar Armstrong (6-0, 200 lbs // Mission, KS // Offered)
Another recent offer that went out last week. Armstrong is a 4-star recruit on 247Sports but is a 3-star in their composite rankings. Armstrong plays for Bishop Miege where former Notre Dame offensive line great Tim Grunhard is the offensive line coach. Armstrong is currently committed to in state Missouri.
- Mac Hippenhammer (6-1, 170 lbs, 4.49 // Fort Wayne, IN // Offered)
The most recent offer to go out over the weekend for Notre Dame. The local product was at the Irish Invasion last spring but did not get an offer until Saturday. In the meantime, Hippenhammer committed to Penn State and also has offers from Michigan State and Louisville. Things are trending in Notre Dame’s direction but the Irish still have some ground to make up. Hippenhammer will be on campus this week and Notre Dame needs to use the visit to make up ground. Getting a quick commitment from Hippenhammer would be a nice way to get some positive momentum going after the string of December and January decommitments.
- Michael Smith (6-2, 205 lbs // Vero Beach, FL // Offered)
This is one of the more intriguing late offers for Notre Dame. Smith is a late bloomer who came out of no where as a senior with 1,500+ yards and 24 touchdowns receiving. He didn’t play football until high school after primarily playing basketball so he has pretty good athleticism for the position but is still very raw. Smith is not the kind of recruit who will step foot on campus and challenge for reps, but has the ability to be a playmaker down the road if he continues to develop. This is one where the coaching staff will really have to trust their projection given Smith’s small body of work. Pitt and Georgia Tech have also offered.
An Ideal (And Somewhat Realistic) Potential Finish
It all starts and finishes with Martin here for Notre Dame. He is #1 on the board and the success of Notre Dame’s recruiting efforts at wide receiver hinge on the Irish landing Martin. Notre Dame visited Martin last week as soon as the dead period ended with Bobby Elliot coming out of the bullpen with DelVaughn Alexander still not officially hired to help. Elliot, an Iowa native, has been crucial in the recruitment of Martin. All that said, I am always leery a head to head battle with State U.
On top of Martin, Notre Dame can’t go too wrong if they land at least one of Holmes, Smith, Armstrong, or Hippenhammer. Holmes might be the most versatile of the quartet and Smith has the most boom or bust potential. Hippenhammer is the most likely of the group to jump on board and it wouldn’t be surprising if that happened sooner rather than later. Notre Dame would take up to four wide receivers this year if Martin was one of the final three.