Breaking Down Notre Dame’s Remaining Defensive Recruiting Board

With Monday’s addition of Jaylen Sneed to the Notre Dame football class of 2022, the Irish are done recruiting the linebacker position for this cycle. However, there’s still plenty of top-line talent left on the board for Irish on the defensive side of the ball. 

Cyrus Moss (DE) – The Bishop Gorman product visited Notre Dame in June a couple of weeks after an official visit to Oregon – the program with all four crystal ball predictions from 247Sports pointing in their direction at the moment.  

Notre Dame had three defensive end commitments before Darren Agu decommitted on Sunday, leaving the Irish with just two and a need for a pure edge rusher like Moss.  Aiden Gobiara and Tyson Ford will likely end up playing strong-side end or even growing into interior players.  Moss would be a big-time pick-up for Notre Dame, but the Irish defensive staff has some work to do to pull this one off.  

Anthony Lucas (DT) – Lucas also visited Notre Dame in June along with Alabama, Miami, and Texas A&M officially, in addition to some unofficials.  Heading into his visit with Notre Dame, there was some optimism that the Irish could eventually earn his commitment. However, no one is considered the leader for Lucas right now, and there isn’t a single crystal ball in for him. 

Notre Dame has just one interior commitment – Donovan Hinish – and would love to add another tackle like Lucas.  It’s not a necessity to add another, but adding one like Lucas is the kind of difference-making addition programs like Clemson and Alabama make.

Hero Kanu (DT) – Notre Dame only recently offered the top-100 DL.  While that would typically be considered a bit too late in the game, there’s some optimism that the Irish will be real players in his recruitment down the stretch.  Kanu hails from Germany and the same program that produced Alex Ehrensberger, so there is some familiarity here.  

Kanu hasn’t started taking official visits yet and listed Notre Dame in his top 10 shortly after getting his offer from the Irish.  If Notre Dame can get him on campus for an official, it looks like they have a legit shot.  If Notre Dame can add one of either he or Lucas to the mix, they’d be in great shape. 

Benjamin Morrison (CB) – Of all the recruits left on the board for Notre Dame on defense, the only one they are considered to be the leader for is Morrison.  His recruitment was a whirlwind in June, with Notre Dame on commit watch heading into his early June visit only to see Washington reportedly pull ahead after visiting the Huskies.  Over the last few weeks, though, Notre Dame is believed to be back in the lead. 

Adding Morrison might be seen as a luxury since Notre Dame already has three commitments in the secondary already – Jayden Bellamy, Devin Moore, and Jaden Mickey – all who can play corner, but adding Morrison would give Notre Dame some flexibility with someone like Bellamy, who could also play safety.  Notre Dame also needs all of the 4-stat talents it can get in the secondary too. 

Xavier Nwankpa (S) – Nwankpa is the highest-rated player left on Notre Dame’s defensive board and is the exact kind of addition Notre Dame needs in this class to have a legit chance at staying in the top 5.  Notre Dame’s safety room also really needs a player of Nwankpa’s caliber in it.  It’s likely a Notre Dame and Ohio State battle for the country’s #54 overall rated prospect.  The Crystal Ball currently only has one prediction in for Nwankpa that points to Ohio State, but that prediction isn’t from a Notre Dame or Ohio State insider. 

Jake Pope (S) – A few weeks ago, it looked like Jake Pope might be the safety Notre Dame would add this cycle, but things have been trending away from the Irish for the Georgia native. It looks like Alabama might end up being the pick for Pope when he announces.

If Notre Dame were to finish with Morrison, Nwankpa, Moss, and one of Kanu / Lucas, Notre Dame couldn’t ask for a better finish.  

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