Previewing Notre Dame’s Massively Important Recruiting Weekend

Notre Dame officially kicked off June official visits last weekend, but offensive line prospect Elijah Paige was the lone visitor on campus. This weekend, the Irish host a lot more with eight highly-sought uncommitted prospects and nine current Notre Dame commitments all in town for the most crucial weekend for the class of 2023 recruiting.

Here’s a look at every prospect that will be in town.

Uncommitted Prospects

Caleb Downs – 5-star / S

Notre Dame is not considered the favorite for downs heading into his visit, but anytime Notre Dame gets someone on campus, they have a chance. Notre Dame already has Peyton Bowen and Adon Shuler, both of whom are on campus this weekend, committed at the safety position, but they would be thrilled if they could pull off an upset here and add Downs to the mix as well.

Downs has been to Georgia four times, unofficially and once officially – last weekend. He’s been to Notre Dame three times unofficially in addition to this trip as well, but the Irish are 4th in the On3 predictor for Downs at the moment, with Georgia the heavy favorite. He’ll visit Alabama and Ohio State in the next two weeks.

Jason Moore – 4-star / DE

Notre Dame is considered the favorite for Moore heading into this visit, and the Irish will look to further cement that status this weekend. On3 has Notre Dame at 91.5% to land Moore, with Penn State, Ohio State, and Michigan trailing far behind. There’s been some Moore buzz around Penn State in this one lately, though, after his official visit there last week. Moore has visits with Michigan and Ohio State the next two weekends.

Notre Dame already has a stacked DL class with Keon Keeley, Devan Houstan, Boubacar Traore, and Brennan Vernon, but they’d love to add Moore as well. Keeley and Houstan are on campus this weekend.

Monroe Freeling – 4-star / OT

Notre Dame is locked in a battle with Clemson, heading into Freeling’s visit this weekend. The Irish already have three OL committed for 2023, with another possible in the near future, Paige, so spots could be filling up. Highly touted Charles Jagusah, who has long been linked with Notre Dame, is also set to visit later this month.

It will be interesting to see how this one plays out. There’s been some talk that Notre Dame could take six linemen this year, but there’s also been talk that Freeling might wait until the fall to make a decision.

Jaiden Ausberry – 4-star / LB

Notre Dame already has two linebackers committed to 2023 – Drayk Bowen and Preston Zinter – so the Irish have a good foundation at the position for 2023 on the heels of its best linebacker class in decades in 2022. Still, Notre Dame has made a big push for Ausberry and would love to lure him out of the South if they can. Both Zinter and Bowen will be on campus this weekend, Bowen unofficially, to help with their pursuit.

Ausberry is an LSU legacy, but it’s no given that he will end up at LSU. However, Notre Dame is considered one of the favorites if he leaves the South entirely. He visited Auburn last weekend, where his brother is a sophomore for the Tigers and will visit Michigan next weekend. His official visit to Notre Dame this weekend is the third time he’s visited, Notre Dame.

Christian Gray – 4-star / CB

Classify Gray as one of the “must gets” from this weekend’s visitors after Notre Dame lost CB Justyn Rhett to Georgia earlier this year. Notre Dame needs an elite corner in this class, and Gray fits the bill. The good news for Notre Dame is On3 has the Irish at almost 80% to land Gray, with LSU a distant second at 15.7%. That is primarily because this will be the seventh – yes seventh – visit for Gray to Notre Dame.

Gray also has planned upcoming visits to USC and Ohio State with a July 4 announcement. Notre Dame needs to secure their position as the favorite, even with more official visits planned after this weekend.

Micah Tease – 4-star / CB

Another corner Notre Dame would love to land out of this weekend is 4-star Oklahoma native Micah Tease. Despite hailing from Oklahoma, Arkansas is currently the odds-on favorite in the On3 predictor for Tease’s commitment. However, Notre Dame is right there in the second group of schools in the mix, and this will be Tease’s fourth time on campus, so there is genuine interest in the Irish.

Tease is a versatile prospect who could also play wide receiver, and everyone knows how much of a need that position is for Notre Dame as well. Tease has planned visits with USC and Michigan State for the next two weekends.

Rico Flores – 4-star / WR

Speaking of wide receivers, Notre Dame has two on campus this weekend it would love to land. Rico Flores has a July 3rd announcement scheduled with Notre Dame currently at 96.9% in the On3 predictor, so hopefully, for the Irish, this is a check-the-box type visit for Flores. In addition to Notre Dame, Flores has visits scheduled to Georgia and Ohio State.

Notre Dame needs at least four wide receivers in this class following last year’s recruiting implosion at the position. Adding Flores on the 3rd is almost necessary for Notre Dame, given their wide receiver board.

Ronan Hanafin – 3-star / WR

There may not be another prospect whose offer list overshadows their rankings more than Hanafin. Despite being a 3-star on most services, Hanafin has picked up offers from Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, and Ohio State over the last few months. Oklahoma, Michigan, LSU, and USC have all offered as well. Even with interest from seemingly every elite program in the country over the last few months, Notre Dame is believed to still be the odds-on favorite. On3 lists Notre Dame at 77.8% heading into the visit.

Hanafin is listed as an athlete on some sites and was offered as a defender by some schools, but Notre Dame is recruiting him as a receiver. If they ultimately get both Flores and Hanafin out of this weekend, Notre Dame fans should be thrilled

Committed Prospects

In addition to the uncommitted players, Notre Dame is hosting more than half of the currently committed prospects this weekend as well. Drayk Bowen will be in town unofficially to help recruit and spend more time with the current commits as he’s become the unofficial “lead recruiter” amongst the current commits.

  • Keon Keeley – 5-star / DE – Other programs will continue to make passes at Keeley, but Notre Dame has held them all off so far. Having him in town with fellow commits is significant for the Irish.
  • Jayden Limar – 4-star / RB – One of Notre Dame’s newer commitments will be in town for his third total visit. No other officials are planned.
  • Peyton Bowen – 4 Star / S – Another prospect Notre Dame will have to continue to fend off advances from other schools for. Getting Bowen in town with so many commitments and elite prospects is important.
  • Adon Shuler – 4-star / S – New Jersey seems locked in on Notre Dame despite several big-time offers since his commitment.
  • Sullivan Absher – 4-star / OL – Making his third trip for his official this weekend with no other official visits planned.
  • Sam Pendelton – 4-star / OL – Like Asbher, Pendelton has no other officials planned
  • Devan Houstan – 4-star / DL – Making his second trip to Notre Dame with no other official visits planned.
  • Braylon James – 4-star / WR – One of Notre Dame’s most important commits given the need at receiver. Hopefully, he hits it off with Flores and Hanafin.
  • Preston Zinter 4-star / LB – Making his fifth trip to Notre Dame and is considered one of Notre Dame’s most locked-in commits.

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One Comment

  1. I’m pretty sure C.J. Carr said he will be in South Bend this weekend too. Hopefully he helps with the recruiting of wide out.

    This is Keeley’s third trip to South Bend since his last visiting Florida. That says that Notre Dame is doing a great job of fending off the Gators.

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