The Notre Dame recruiting class currently sits at 21 signed players, with room for 4-5 more, and Brian Kelly looks for a good close on Wednesday, the culmination of the 2018 recruiting cycle. Barring a shut out on Wednesday, it’s likely coach Kelly will look back on the efforts of the recruiting staff as a success. They are currently 9th nationally in the team rankings, with five consensus top 100 players, with another two ranked in the top 50 by at least one of the major services. He’s brought in elite talent in the secondary, wide receiver, defensive line, and quarterback. By most measures, this is a good haul.
But, there is reason to believe the Irish will add three more, plus a good shot at four or five, including one big fish. Let’s go through the particulars here and I’ll make predictions for each.
C’Bo Flemister, Running Back
Zebulon, Georgia, .8382 composite rating, three star
Currently committed to Georgia Tech, but that is not going to stick. Notre Dame hosted him on a visit last weekend and received glowing praise from Flemister in the aftermath. A big need in the class following the dismissals of CJ Holmes and Deon McIntosh and Notre Dame has made him a priority. A big hint where Flemister is leaning is his hosting of the Irish coaches for an in-home visit, while Tennessee and Georgia Tech–the two closest pursuers–decided not to send their coaches in-home. It appears the writing is on the wall.
Prediction: Notre Dame
Derrick Eason, Defensive End
Norfolk, Virginia, .8464 composite, three star
Currently committed to NC State, but like Flemister, it doesn’t appear that is going to stick. He recently visited the Irish and came away with strong feelings towards the school in South Bend. A recent offer, Eason would be another body along the defensive line, similar in stature to Justin Ademilola the defensive end/defensive tackle commit from New Jersey (and the twin of Jayson). As of this moment, he looks to be Irish in a few days.
Predicition: Notre Dame
Noah Boykin, Cornerback
Washington, D.C., .8916, three star
Notre Dame was so confident in Boykin eventually joining the class, in December they told another player on this list, DJ Brown, they were full and not to bother visiting. However, things have changed with Boykin and Notre Dame. He started to look at Florida more seriously in the new year, and Notre Dame has gotten back into it with DJ Brown. It had gotten to the point where Boykin to Florida seemed like a lock, but there have been reports Notre Dame is still communicating with Boykin and aren’t completely out of it. Boykin could do an about face in the final week, but I don’t see it.
Lawrence Keys III, Wide Receiver
New Orleans, Louisiana, .9026, four star
What once looked like a formality has turned into a horse race. Following his official visit to Notre Dame a couple weeks ago, Keys looked all set to join the 2018 class. The talk around Keys was always his decision to wait till signing day, with the concern being he wouldn’t have a scholarship if he waited too long. It’s always been odd, he’s the only player I’ve heard this being a concern for, with a number of players also announcing on the 7th. Keys has since taken a visit to Texas, who apparently made a big impression, and now the Longhorns are said to be tied with Notre Dame. Most still think Keys ends up with Notre Dame, but when a formality lingers and lingers for this long, it makes me think the trigger for Notre Dame will never be pulled.
DJ Brown, Cornerback
Washington, D.C., .8802, three star
Once committed to Virginia, he de-committed following his visit to Notre Dame a couple weeks ago, and looks prime to join the Irish on Wednesday. He was certainly patient; even after being told they were full in December, Brown hung in there with Notre Dame when they came calling again in January. He quickly scheduled a visit, enjoyed himself and every crystal ball prediction on 247 has him ending up with the Irish. Notre Dame needed numbers and talent at corner after striking out last year, and it looks like they are going to get it.
Prediction: Notre Dame
Jarrett Patterson, Offensive Line
Mission Viejo, California, .8912, three star
A recent offer who was up for a visit in the last couple of weeks, but not sure it’s going to be enough to get Patterson out of the west coast. UCLA is hot on his heels, and while Patterson recently eliminated Michigan from consideration (let’s give a golf clap for that), Notre Dame may not have had enough to time to get Patterson all the way comfortable with a move to South Bend.
Solomon Tuliaupupu, Linebacker
Santa Ana, California, .9582, four star
This one was easier to take when it was just a pipe dream, but it got really interesting in the last week with multiple reports Notre Dame was making a big move for the Mater Dei star. Hopes got high. But, his recent official visit to USC seems to have locked him up for the home town team. Not for the lack of trying, but this one was always going to be a tough pull.
Nicholas Petit-Frere, Offensive Tackle
Tampa, Florida, .9963, five star
To quote Anchorman, “this is a big one.” There aren’t many recruits in recent memory who have kept things as close to the vest as Petit-Frere has this cycle. There are never any updates, no one knows how he feels, the only thing we know is who is involved and that he’s deciding February 7th at 10 am eastern time. The final three seem to be Florida, Notre Dame, and Ohio State, with Alabama recently being eliminated according to some. Tom Loy of 247 sports recently said academics were extremely important to him and his family, “maybe even more so than the football.” If that is the case, you’d think Notre Dame has a big edge here, given the other schools in hot pursuit. But, the Irish have also recently lost Harry Hiestand and it’s unclear how much of an impact that will have on the ultimate decision. I have very little confidence in saying I think Kelly and co. pull this off. If he is who reporters say he is as far as what is really important to him, I think Notre Dame will push the buttons they need to make this happen.
Prediction: Notre Dame