All of Notre Dame nation has loved what they’ve seen from the Irish so far this season. They are winning games, they run the ball, they stop the run, and they are exciting. So far, it’s been very enjoyable to watch. And when the average fan likes what they see, that means recruits like it too, and thank goodness for that.
We’ve all heard the forty year decision pitch. Which is good, there is no question about that. It’s something Notre Dame should be selling. But, it’s not what they should only be selling; after all, a lot of money has gone into a not so great product lately. Elite players want to play for elite programs. Now, Notre Dame can sell the best of both worlds. A great education to go along with a great (and elite) football program. It’s been a while since we broached recruiting, so lets take a look at how the season has impacted the recruiting outlook.
Shoring Up The Base
The Irish entered the season with 16 committed players and ranked in the top 10 nationally according to 247 Sports. Those 16 guys largely committed to the idea the program would not be the 4-8 calamity it was the season prior. And when you have that many committed players preseason, there is a chance for major defections if the season itself goes south. A lot of players hit the right tones, “I’m committed the school, not the coach,” things of that nature. But, as losses mount, they start to look around.
Fortunately, that is not a concern for this 2018 group. The hot start has shored up the class Notre Dame had already built, which currently boasts six top 150 players nationally. Priority number one is keeping what you’ve already got in the fold, and the Irish have accomplished that.
Wide Receiver Commitment
Geordon Porter- Wide Receiver. Etiwanda, CA
This three star receiver from California announced yesterday between Notre Dame, Arizona State, Utah, UCLA, and Washington State. The current 247 crystal predictions stood at 75% Notre Dame and 25% Arizona State, but notably it was one to one between Notre Dame and ASU picks in the last week or so. Porter pulled the trigger for the Irish, raising their total commitment number to 18.
Porter is a Will Fuller, Kevin Stepherson type receiver–long, lanky, and lightning fast. He boasts a 10.68 100 meter time (slightly off the time of former commit Braden Lenzy) and plays to his speed on the field. He’s elusive with the ball in his hands, and tracks the ball extremely well. He’s rated similarly to Fuller and Stepherson as well, as a mid three star, but Brian Kelly has shown an ability to find receivers who fit the offense who aren’t as highly regarded.
Porter joins fellow receivers Micah Jones and Kevin Austin to the 2018 class, with some others coming up Notre Dame would love to land.
Chasing The Big Fish
The thing with having 17 commits on board and some momentum from a strong season, it allows the staff to get ambitious with their targets and opens the eyes of some players who might not have considered Notre Dame to be a serious school. Here are some of those:
Amon-Ra St. Brown- Receiver, Anaheim, CA
The holy grail in this class, he’s an absolute star. We all know the story with him and his brother Equanimeous, but their relationship doesn’t appear to be playing at least a huge role anyway. I’m sure he’d like to play with his brother just fine, but it’s not a deal breaker, unfortunately.
For a long time USC was a foregone conclusion. His high school quarterback is committed there for 2019, he’s from California, and the family was disenchanted with the Notre Dame strength program. However, a lot has changed in a short time. The strength program has been overhauled, Notre Dame just whipped up on USC something fierce (with Amon-Ra in attendance), and funny enough, the passing game struggles make it more likely EQ sticks around one more season to play with his brother.
National recruiting writer Steve Wiltfong recently picked the youngest St. Brown to Notre Dame, which is notable, but there is a long way to go here yet.
Cade Mays-Offensive Line, Knoxville, TN
This five star lineman (and long time Tennessee commit) hasn’t been on the Notre Dame radar all cycle, but Tennessee kind of stinks and Notre Dame runs for 300 yards every week and could have their 3rd and 4th linemen of the past 5 years get drafted in the first round next season. Consequently, Mays is giving the Irish an official visit, which is no small thing.
As of now, he’s still a Tennessee commit, but if he’s looking around and using an official visit to Notre Dame, there must be something there. This is a situation to monitor going forward.
Nicholas Petit-Frere- Offensive Line, Tampa, FL
This is a name that came up every now and then over the summer, then it died down quite a bit, but he resurfaced in an official visit for the USC game. You’ll notice in his profile his crystal ball predictions include Florida, Notre Dame, Alabama, and Ohio State. Not bad programs.
I’d say this one is more likely than Mays just because there was prior interest. He’s also from Florida, which means in addition to Harry Hiestand, who everyone loves, Autry Denson will also be on the case as that is his recruiting area.
As was the case with Amon-Ra St.Brown, Steve Wiltfong picked Petit-Frere to Notre Dame on the 30th of October. Which doesn’t mean a whole lot by itself, but it does indicate some momentum for Notre Dame in his recruitment.
Solomon Tuliaupupu- Linebacker, Santa Ana, CA
A teammate of Amon-Ra St. Brown, he just recently showed up on the radar when he visited for the USC contest (isn’t it great Notre Dame whipped them so badly?) Given his recent interest, this one will take some time to matriculate, but this is someone to watch for and he would be worth the wait.
First, the guys photo looks like he’s a Manti clone. Second, he’s an athletic marvel who could play any of the linebacker spots, including the Rover. Third, Mike Elko is on the case, along with Brian Polian, who has some sort of savant gift for recruiting the west coast. If things keep going the way they are going for Notre Dame on the field, watch out.
As mentioned above, the commitment of Porter puts the Irish up to 18 total, with anywhere from four to six spots remaining. It’s hard to say where Notre Dame’s priorities are; they still don’t have any corners, which is a huge concern given they signed none last year. They’d have to want at least two in this class, and with offensive line, linebacker, and receiver still priorities, things are going to be tight. Of course, we go through this every single year, and things always work out. So take em all, is what I say.
This was shaping up to be a good class prior to the season, and with the hot start, the coaches can dare to aim a little higher.