Notre Dame Football Recruiting: Recapping The Opening

The premier high school summer football camp wrapped up over the 4th of July weekend, and there were some fireworks (bada bing). About 160 of the best high school football players descended into Nike headquarters and we previewed the event last week, highlighting the five Notre Dame commits in attendance and several prospects with heavy interest.

I don’t want to beat around the bush so lets just get into what happened, who impressed, and some rumblings about new players to keep an eye on.

Derrik Allen Made The Play Of The Event

Georgia safety commit Derrik Allen made the highlight play of the five day circus with a one handed interception that lived up to his Twitter handle of @DsmoothAllen, because it was smooth and silky.

For those who haven’t seen it, during the one on one portion–perhaps the most competitive portion of the event–Allen was matched up in press coverage against receiver Gunner Romney. Romney ran a go route, Allen ran stride of stride, pinned him with his left arm, and plucked the ball out of the air with his right hand like he was playing catch with his buddies.

It was quite the sensation on social media.

Beyond that great play, Allen acquitted himself very well against the nations best. He made several plays in the team 7-on-7 portion, including an interception and a few passes broken up. He certainly solidified his status as a high level four star and the 55th player nationally according to 247’s composite rating. It would be very lovely and nice if Notre Dame held onto him until signing day next February.

Ja’Mion Franklin Makes A Name For Himself

As I noted in the preview, this was a big weekend for both players, especially Ja’Mion Franklin, in terms of gaining national notoriety. Franklin entered the weekend as mid-three star, having risen several spots in the national rankings. This event was his chance to show he belonged. He capitalized on that opportunity.

During the lineman one-on-one’s, both with and without pads, Franklin showed impressive burst of the line, strength, and flashes of some pass rush moves that left a few of his counterparts blocking air.

Was it enough for Franklin to rise in the rankings and earn that fourth star? There are some mixed opinions on that, but I would imagine his composite rating would rise as well as his national rating. More importantly, he competed hard and proved he can compete with and amongst the best in the nation. It’s a big step for a guy who recently was a two star recruit and in the 1,000’s nationally. Brian Kelly has had a tough time recruiting elite talent on the defensive line recently, but he found a good one long before he became a hot commodity.

Jayson Ademilola Makes The Final Five

Other than Derrik Allen, the guy to be most excited about following the weekend is Jayson Ademilola. Just reading the reports coming in on Twitter from the event, he got off to somewhat of a slow start, or pretty much uneventful. He was ok, didn’t look bad, but wasn’t very impressive either. Just a guy. Keep in mind, this was before the pads came on.

As the weekend progressed, and the pads were introduced into the proceedings, things got turned up on Ademilola’s end. He was winning battle after battle against some elite competition, such as borderline five star guard Trey Hill and five star guard–and #9 player in the nation–Jamaree Salyer.

He impressed enough that he was selected to take part in the Final Five, which is the five best players on each side of the ball to compete one-on-one the next day. It was at this event where he went head to head with Salyer three straight times, with Ademilola winning the first battle, and Salyer taking the next two.

This is obviously fantastic news from the defensive tackle position, not just from Ademilola, but also Franklin. They appear to have two very strong options up the middle at the moment, with some opportunities to improve at defensive end down the line.

I doubt Ademilola moved up to five star status following the weekend, but he won’t be outside the top 100 much longer is my guess.

Top Notre Dame Prospects Show Out

The two most likely prospects to end up in the Notre Dame class, receiver Kevin Austin and Rover Shayne Simon, both had good camps, with Austin again showing he is among the elite at receiver.

The thing I noted in my article about Austin last week was his top end speed and acceleration, which seems to catch people off-guard when they see it, because it doesn’t show up on film as much. During the 7-on-7 portion he was able to get behind the defense several times either for touchdowns or long receptions. This coupled with the fact that he appears to have some sort of adhesive on his hands allowing him to snatch the ball seamlessly out of the air, and a very strong frame, you’ve got the makings of a very good wide receiver prospect.

Word is a commitment could be any day, and Notre Dame fans should feel good. So there’s that.

Shayne Simon was used at safety and took some one-on-one’s at corner, with some mixed results, which is actually good news in my opinion. He’s not a corner or a safety, he’s being recruited to play Rover. If he can hold his own against that group playing an unfamiliar position, you have to like his potential playing a hybrid position for Notre Dame. He made a nice interception for his team during 7-on-7 and looked good in a lot of the drills. Like Austin, word can come any day and things look good.

Notes From The Weekend

  • Notre Dame commits Ovie Oghoufo and George Takacs were also on hand, but I didn’t hear too much about those guys, and thus don’t have as much to add. It’s hard for guys like Oghoufo, their one-on-ones with running backs don’t receive the fanfare of the other positions, so they aren’t talked about as much.
  • Linebacker target Jack Lamb, a four star from California, also had an impressive few days. He’s been linked strongly to Notre Dame lately, some recruiting types seem to think Notre Dame leads for him. Something to keep an eye on.
  • Five star guard Jamaree Salyer was mentioned above and Notre Dame has gained some traction with him in the last month. The Georgia product visited campus a couple weeks ago and said this weekend he’ll be taking an official visit for the tilt against the Bulldogs in early September. Long way to go for this one, but a strong performance this year could move the needle for this elite talent.
  • Speaking of elite talent, Amon-Ra St. Brown. Still good at football. Find a way Brian Kelly. Find a way.

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