Spring ball is over, the summer doldrums are on the way, but there is no rest for the weary on the recruiting front. There has been a flurry of activity recruiting wise since the end of spring ball, with Notre Dame gaining and dropping with various prospects, and picking up several high profile commitments. It’s been a while since we’ve given an update on the overall landscape, so this should serve as an overall primer without getting too much into the weeds.
Where Notre Dame Stands Now
Notre Dame is currently ranked 7th overall in the team rankings according to 247 sports, with 10 players currently committed to Notre Dame. Of those 10, seven are ranked in the top 215, with five ranked in the top 125. It also includes the best long snapper in the nation according to those who track such things (you laugh, but no one is laughing when the ball sails over the punters head, so appreciate this) and a total heat check at defensive end from Mike Elston in German football star Alexander Ehrensberger. Elston has been on fire lately, which we will get to in a second, and he flexed his recruiting prowess by nabbing someone from another continent. He’s rated a three star, but he could be a four star, or heck even a five star, who can really say?
Since the spring finale, Notre Dame has received the pledges of three high profile recruits, all in the top 125 and all at huge positions for the Irish. Hawaiian defensive end Jordan Botelho was the first to pop on April 18th, with the 120th ranked recruit committing soon after his visit to the Irish campus. The Irish obviously have a thing going on with Hawaii, landed a few high profile guys from the island in recent history, and had he been the only defensive end in the class, it’d be seen as a coup. Fortunately, that’s not the case.
122nd ranked defensive end Rylie Mills out of Lake Forest, Illinois committed to Notre Dame on the 6th of May, spurning Ohio State and Wisconsin. According to those on the recruiting beat, Mills is likely to grow into a three technique, a la someone like Kapron-Lewis Moore, with Botelho being a true defensive end, but either way it’s a huge signing for the class. Two top 125 defensive line talents are nothing to sneeze at, and a rarity for Notre Dame in the past.
57th ranked offensive tackle Tosh Baker made it a trifecta on May 8th, silently committing to the Notre Dame coaches prior to officially announcing a few days later. Likely to be the crown jewel of what is likely to be a small offensive line class, the Arizona product got Notre Dame off to a great a start for that unit, after signing what many consider to be the best overall class during the 2019 cycle. The jury is still out on how good of a line coach Jeff Quinn is, but the guy can certainly recruit his position.
What Top Prospects Could Be Next To Commit?
The one everyone is anxiously waiting on is 29th ranked Chris Tyree, the all-purpose running back out of Virginia. The last month has been a bit of a roller coaster, with Notre Dame holding a clear lead after his spring visits, and then Oklahoma surging ahead after his official visit to Norman in April. There was even some speculation he was close to committing to the Sooners on that visit and canceling his official to Notre Dame scheduled for June 23rd.
However, Notre Dame has re-emerged as the leader here, and the June visit is still happening. Even better, Tyree announced earlier today that he will be announcing his commitment on May 23.
As of today, it’d be a surprise if he didn’t end up in the class, which would obviously be a huge development for the program, who has had trouble signing players of this caliber to play running back in recent years.
The other “big fish” who could conceivably commit soon is defensive end out of Michigan, 87th ranked Braiden McGregor. He has shot up the rankings in the same way Kyle Hamilton did last cycle, although McGregor has risen much quicker.
He was long considered a huge favorite to end up at Michigan, but a visit to Notre Dame during the spring and his budding friendship with commit Rylie Mills has prognosticators bullish on Notre Dame’s chances. And again, Mike Elston has been on fire lately, so there is reason to be optimistic. However, Michigan isn’t going to go away quietly, so I’d expect this to go on for a little while, even if Notre Dame is in a good position now.
One player who is strongly trending toward Notre Dame is recently offered Michael Carmody, the 124th ranked offensive lineman out of Mars, PA. He is the brother of Irish basketball player Robby Carmody, and he was very excited to receive the Notre Dame offer. Obviously, it’s no small thing to get a top 125 player, especially on the offensive line, and this recruitment could end quickly.
Names To Keep An Eye On
- Cornerback Clark Phillips out of La Habra California has expressed strong interest in Notre Dame, and has built a solid relationship with cornerback coach Todd Lyght. It’s always tough to get a read on a California prospect, but the #46 overall player has the Irish in his top three, so there is a good chance there.
- #49 wide receiver Jalen McMillan out of Fresno (I know, I know) has Notre Dame in his top four, with the Irish competing with Oklahoma and Washington for his services. This one isn’t going to end soon by all appearances, so Notre Dame just needs to stay the course here and see how it plays out. That is unless they have other players on board, which is possible.
- It’s been a “he loves me, he loves me not” type of recruitment for #77 Illinois receiver AJ Henning, at least from a reporting perspective. Some reports have said Notre Dame looks really good, others say he’s fading away, and those reports fluctuate from week to week. Kudos to the kid for keeping the media guessing, and this will go at least until the end of summer.