It’s been an eventful few weeks recruiting the running back position for Notre Dame’s new RB coach Deland McCullough. The Irish lost a commitment from Sedrick Irvin a couple of weeks ago but quickly replaced him in the class with Jayden Limar last week. Notre Dame would like to land two backs this cycle, though, so what’s next for them at the position will be interesting to watch since, at the moment, their board could be classified as high risk/reward.
Following Limar’s commitment last week, there appear only to be two backs left with offers that are strongly considering the Irish – the nation’s top back Richard Young and speedy Jeremiyah Love, a consensus 4-star prospect. Justice Haynes is an elite back that Notre Dame was in on early, but Haynes won’t be officially visiting this summer, and the Irish appear out of it.
Both Young and Love will visit Notre Dame in June. Young’s selection of Notre Dame for one of his official visits last week was a bit of a surprising development for Notre Dame and a mini win for McCullough. However, Notre Dame might need a lot more mini-wins in the recruitment of Young for the Irish to have a real shot. Even with Young selecting Notre Dame for an official, most feel the Irish still have a lot of ground to make up between now and the conclusion of his visit to pull it off.
On top of Notre Dame, Young will visit Alabama, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Georgia. On’3 predictor has Alabama at 93% at the start of the month before official visits begin for Young.
There is a bit more optimism with Jeremiyah Love heading into his officials. He’ll visit Oregon and Michigan before Notre Dame and then Alabama after. At the moment, he has the four official visits only lined up. Without any official predictions in for Love, the On3 algorithm has Notre Dame as slight favorites over Michigan.
After those two, there isn’t much going on for Notre Dame at the position, so the staff must be somewhat optimistic about their chances of landing one of the two considering they have not yet expanded their board.
Should Notre Dame swing and miss on both, the Irish have had success with late running back offers in both of the last two cycles. In 2021, Notre Dame offered Audric Estime very late in the cycle and pried him away from a Michigan State commitment. In this past cycle, Notre Dame landed Gi’Brian Payne well after signing day in large part because of McCullough’s relationship with him from his time at Indiana, where Payne committed and signed initially.
Could Notre Dame pull off another late addition if they whiff on Young and Love? Of course. The running back position lends itself to breakout stars late in the cycle more than some other positions, but it wouldn’t be ideal for the Irish either. So that makes the official visits for both Love and Young all that much more critical for Mccullough, Tommy Rees, and Marcus Freeman.
Notre Dame gets Young on campus first with a mid-week visit on June 13. There are some pros and cons to those mid-week visits, with the most notable con being Young won’t be around other Notre Dame commits and prospects. The reverse is that the staff will be able to dedicate much more one-on-one time with him without any other prospects on campus.
Love visits a few days later as part of a large June 17 weekend visit group. Samuel M’Pemba, Jaden Greathouse (WR), Jordan Hall (LB), Jasiah Wagoner (CB), and Christian Hamilton will all be on campus that weekend. All six players, including Love, are top-200 overall players on the 247 Composite.
Deland McCullough has already done some great work on the recruiting trail just by getting Young on campus when it appeared as though the Irish were non-factors in his recruiting just weeks ago, but he’s got a big test on his hands in June to hopefully land one of the two elite backs the Irish will host in June.