Rumors

The recruiting battle between Washington and Notre Dame for linebacker/safety Asa Turner will wage on into February.  Turner, originally scheduled to sign his letter of intent on Wednesday during the early signing period, has been wrestling with the decision between the Huskies and Irish and has been unable to settle ona  final destination.  Saturday Turner released a statement saying he will be waiting until the traditional signing period in February.

I’d like to thank everyone, especially the University of Washington and Notre Dame coaching staffs, for their patience and understanding through this difficult time.

I do not want to commit/sign to a program until I am 100% comfortable with that decision, and unfortunately, I am still unsure. Therefore, I will be using the time between now and February 6th to evaluate what is best for my future and family.

Turner provided the lone bit of drama for Notre Dame on Signing Day as the Irish had their 21 commitments all locked up and in line to sign their letters of intent.  The Notre Dame staff though has been recruiting Turner since his summer commitment to Washington and have given him enough reason to reconsider the Irish that he is waiting.

Notre Dame’s decision to continue to recruit Turner has ruffled the feathers of Washington coach Chris Petersen and Husky fans.  On Signing Day, Petersen took a veiled shot at Notre Dame for recruiting Turner and bemoaned of the “vultures” of college football.  Husky fans have been trying to justify Washington’s recruitment of committed players under Petersen as different than the Notre Dame staff’s efforts with Turner ever since.

Turner made a very wise decision to wait until February as it appears he is legitimately torn between the two programs.  Since he is not an early enrollee, there really is not any difference between signing in December and February so it makes perfect sense that he wait.

One thing to watch here now is another program trying to get back into the mix as well.  With six weeks to recruit Turner again, a team that struck out at linebacker or safety could easily try to get back into the race here.  There are no indicators right now Turner is considering anyone else, but with the nature of recruiting these days, it would not be surprising at all if other programs tried to get back into the mix.

Notre Dame will keep the spot open for him as they try to close out this class now with Turner and 4-star DE Isaiah Foskey who had said all along he will be waiting until February.  As of now the Irish are considered the favorite for Foskey.  Should the Irish manage to pull in both in February, Notre Dame will have itself one hell of a defensive recruiting class.

Who said there wouldn’t be any drama for Notre Dame on the early Signing Period on Wednesday?  While the Irish class was thought to be just about wrapped up for months and the Irish went a perfect 21 for 21 with signatures today, they could still be inline for a 22nd.  Asa Turner, the 4-star safety from California who had been committed to Washington, is reportedly torn between Notre Dame and Washington and decided to not make a final decision today after having a previously scheduled signing ceremony.

Turner was scheduled to sign earlier today, but while some of his teammates made their decisions, Turner instead announced that he would be taking more time to make his final decision.

He told Prep Pigskin Report that he will be making his decision in the next couple of days or even late tonight.

With the early Signing Day period, he has until Friday to sign his letter of intent.  If he is still undecided then, he will have to wait until the traditional February signing period.

Notre Dame has been working on Turner for a while even after his committed to Washington.  When Notre Dame traveled to San Diego to take on Navy, Irish coaches made the quick drive to Carlsbad to take in Turner’s game that weekend.

Obviously this turn of events is a very positive sign for Notre Dame who would love to add a defensive playmaker like Turner if they are able to.  While he is listed as a safety, at 6-4, 215 lbs already, he has the looks of a potential stud ROVER.  247 Sports ranks him as the #297 overall prospect in the country in their composite rankings.

Notre Dame signed three linebackers already in this class with Hawaiian native Marist Liufau another candidate for ROVER though it’s believed he will could ultimately grow into a BUCK.  With Turner’s background as a safety, he would bring the cover skills needed for ROVER and has a frame capable of packing on weight too.

It will be interesting to see how this one plays out and what Notre Dame ends up doing with it’s roster should he send in a letter of intent to Notre Dame.  Brian Kelly said on Wednesday that they have room to still add to this year’s class when asked at his press conference, but as is, the Irish will have to have some roster attrition to get under 85 by summer.

Notre Dame is also still recruiting 4-star DE/TE Isaiah Foksey and you better believe that the staff will find a way to make room for a pass rusher like him as well if he wants to join in February.

There are eighteen days left in the 2018 recruiting cycle, so a quick look on where Notre Dame stands and where they are going.

They are currently ranked eighth nationally on 247 Sports, with 21 signed players and one committed to sign on February 7th. The Irish are looking to add at least three more players and possibly four if some of their top players decide to sign on to play in South Bend.

Updated Rankings

247 Sports released their final top 247 players, with eight Notre Dame players making that group. Some notes about that:

  • Rover recruit Shayne Simon came in as Notre Dame’s highest rising player, climbing 80 spots to #47 nationally. He joins defensive tackle Jayson Ademilola, in the top 50, with Ademilola rising to #45.
  • The only other player to rise in the rankings was Jack Lamb, 14 spots to #105.
  • The biggest faller was safety Derrik Allen, who dropped 26 spots, to be the lowest in the top eight, at #161.

There has been a lot of buzz about Simon at the all-star game practices, with Steve Wiltfong at 247 saying he could see Simon claiming the starting Rover position as a freshman, pushing 5th year senior Drue Tranquill to the Buck linebacker spot. There is a good discussion to be had about the merits of moving Tranquill, but the buzz around Simon is real. Generally left out of the discussion when discussing Notre Dame’s top 4-5 players, Simon could be a major coup for Kelly and the defensive staff.

A Late Offer At Running Back

With the dismissals of CJ Holmes and Deon McIntosh, plus the move of Josh Adams to the NFL, in a week Notre Dame lost three running backs and are left with only three on scholarship on the roster. And that includes early enrollee Jahmir Smith. Not a great situation.

Notre Dame moved quickly and offered C’Bo Flemister, out of Georgia, who is currently committed to Georgia Tech. You’ll initially notice his low ranking, a borderline three star player, but I’d encourage everyone to watch his film. He’s got pretty good speed with an aggressive one cut running style. He also has a knack for making a cut at just the moment the defense is off balance, and the first player that came to mind when watching him do that was Sony Michel out of Georgia. Not to say he is a player of that caliber, Michel was a five star player, but he is similar in style.

It’s fair to be skeptical of late offers, but I don’t see Flemister as a throwaway offer. He’s got some pretty unique skills and is a good fit given the offense he played in. He has an official visit set up in the coming weeks, so there is a legitimate chance for Notre Dame here. A really good late find for Kelly and the staff, if they can pull it off.

Rumblings And Grumblings

  • Notre Dame might be out of it for the four star safety out of Servite, CA, Julius Irvin. This may be a casualty of the Mike Elko departure, as they had a good relationship and he was his main recruiter. The loss of Elko has likely dropped Notre Dame out of the top group of teams, and this late in the game it’s hard to make up a lot of ground, especially without a position coach at the moment.
  • The Irish are apparently still in it for Solomon Tuliaupupu, the middle linebacker from Mater Dei in California, but it would be an upset if he actually ended up in South Bend. He’s heavily favored to end up at USC with his five star teammates JT Daniels and Amon-Ra St. Brown, but the promotion of Clark Lea to DC is keeping the Irish in this. It’s not impossible, but not something to be confident in.
  • Noted today by UHND is the visit this weekend of wide receiver Lawrence Keys. Word is he wants to wait till signing day to join a school, but Notre Dame will be pushing for a commitment this weekend, as they might run out of room for him should he wait for signing day. I like Notre Dame to end up with Keys.
  • A pair of corners, Noah Boykin and newly offered Taiyon Palmer, are still in play for the Irish, with Notre Dame trying to secure a visit with Palmer in the last weeks of the cycle. While Notre Dame went in-home with Palmer last week, if he never makes it to campus, it’s hard to take his recruitment seriously. So, the visit is what to watch for. Boykin has visited, and was previously thought to be favoring Notre Dame. But, as time has gone on, momentum has faded with him. Still, things can change quickly in recruiting, and Notre Dame remains a legit possibility. Just guessing, I’d think Boykin was the better possibility, as Notre Dame has a longer history with him.