Weekly Notre Dame Football Recruiting Roundup 1/17

Notre Dame Football Recruiting 2016
(Photo: Matt Cashore // USA TODAY Sports)

Each week UHND will bring you the latest recruiting information until National Signing Day on February 3rd. Last week saw Notre Dame land a commitment from one of the biggest names on its board, star wide receiver Javon McKinley. This week, with only several spots left in Notre Dame’s class, new names crack the list as recruits to keep an eye on moving forward.

Ben Davis

  • Hometown: Gordo, AL
  • Position: LB
  • Star Ranking: Rivals 5-star; 24/7 5-star; ESPN 4-star
  • Top Offers: Alabama, Florida State, LSU
  • Trending:

Say what you will about Ben Davis being a long shot to end up at Notre Dame considering his father’s status as a legend at Alabama, but Davis and his family visited Notre Dame this past weekend, a sign the Davis family meant it when they said Ben’s recruitment is completely wide-open. The fact Notre Dame even had a chance to host the 5-star Alabama native is a testament to Autry Denson’s rising recruiting ability, and the visit could not have gone any better, with Davis calling the visit “perfect.” Having already visited Georgia and LSU, the next trips for Davis after his trek to South Bend will be to Auburn and Alabama.

It will be difficult to sway Davis away from the allure of Tuscaloosa when national championships and NFL Draft selections are the norm rather than the aspiration for Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban, but Notre Dame did everything in its power to make Davis’ decision a tough one.

Jonathan Jones *New*

  • Hometown: Orlando, FL
  • Position: LB
  • Star Ranking: Rivals 3-star; 24/7 3-star; ESPN 3-star
  • Top Offers: Georgia, Florida, LSU
  • Trending:

Jonathan Jones has been on Notre Dame’s radar throughout the recruiting season and hosted the talented Floridian in September when the Irish played Massachusetts. While long considered to be a Michigan lean, there has been talk the Wolverines may be getting close to full at the position, a development that is shaking up Jones’ recruitment.

Jones took an official visit to hometown UCF this weekend and intends to visit Duke the weekend of January 22nd. And while the plan is to make a decision on National Signing Day, Jones told the Orlando Sentinel he “may know a few weeks before that.”

Considering there is only one week between his visit to Duke and National Signing Day, Jones may have tipped his hand, and signs are looking good for Notre Dame.

Jonah Morris *New*

  • Hometown: Akron, OH
  • Position: ATH
  • Star Ranking: Rivals 3-star; 24/7 3-star; 3-star
  • Top Offers: Michigan State, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin
  • Trending:

The one-time Michigan State commitment is listed as an athlete for a reason. The 6-foot-4 Morris has the athleticism to play wide receiver or linebacker at the next level and personifies the kind of recruit Michigan State has built its program around – a raw prospect that needs polish but becomes a productive contributor as an upperclassman.

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Morris has climbed his way onto the recruiting board after a scheduled visit to Ohio State this past weekend was cancelled, with his lone planned visit to Notre Dame. Notre Dame is trending very well here.

Nate Johnson *New*

  • Hometown: Thompson’s Station, TN
  • Position: WR
  • Star Ranking: Rivals 3-star; 24/7 3-star; ESPN 3-star
  • Top Offers: Michigan, Miami, Tennessee
  • Trending:

Despite committing to Michigan in December after decommitting from Purdue, wide receiver Nate Johnson has developed a wandering eye as his recruiting profile has exploded as of late. Johnson has recently added scholarship offers from Michigan, Miami, Penn State and Tennessee. Notre Dame threw its hat into the ring as well with a scholarship offer this past weekend.

Johnson has visited Miami and tentatively plans to visit Notre Dame the weekend of January 22nd and Northwestern the 29th. the fact Johnson received an offer lends some credibility to the chatter that Notre Dame is fading with 4-star California wide receiver Damian Alloway.

Demetris Robertson

  • Hometown: Savannah, GA
  • Position: ATH/WR
  • Star Ranking: Rivals 5-star; 24/7 5-star; ESPN 4-star
  • Top Offers: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State
  • Trending:

Elite prospect Demetris Robertson should have one of the more intriguing recruiting finishes of the 2016 cycle. The buzz around Robertson is simply all over the place. Some reports have listed Notre Dame as strong contenders while others see the Georgia native staying in-state with the Bulldogs, with some even making arguments for Alabama and Stanford. However, Notre Dame’s status as a very real threat increased significantly when Georgia Insider Kipp Adams projected Robertson to Notre Dame.

Notre Dame is positioning itself very well for a potential signing day stunner.

Caleb Kelly

  • Hometown: Fresno, CA
  • Position: LB
  • Star Ranking: Rivals 5-star; 24/7 5-star; ESPN 4-star
  • Top Offers: Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State
  • Trending: ↔

Caleb Kelly’s recruitment has largely been the status quo this past week, although most experts view the race for his services to be primarily between Oklahoma and Notre Dame despite his inclusion of Oregon into his final three. While Oklahoma has long been considered the favorite, chatter has increased of late that Notre Dame has significantly cut into the Sooners’ lead.

Jordan Fuller

  • Hometown: Old Tappan, NJ
  • Position: CB
  • Star Ranking: Rivals 4-star; 24/7 4-star; ESPN 4-star
  • Top Offers: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State
  • Trending:

Jordan Fuller took an official visit with his mother to Ohio State over the weekend and has another visit planned to Ann Arbor the weekend of January 22nd. Considering Notre Dame is recruiting Fuller to be a safety-cornerback hybrid despite Fuller’s stated desire to play cornerback – a wish both Ohio State and Michigan are willing to grant – it’s difficult to see a pathway for the Irish to come out on top for his services. Notre Dame can sell ample playing time, but it’s unlikely the widening gap for Fuller can be closed.

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Jeffrey McCulloch

  • Hometown: Houston, TX
  • Position: LB
  • Star Ranking: Rivals 4-star; 24/7 4-star; ESPN 4-star
  • Top Offers: Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State
  • Trending:

Notre Dame has been the definition of patience with Jeffrey McCulloch and has continued to battle for his signature despite the fluidity of his leaderboard. McCulloch was considered a lock to Texas A&M prior to the Aggies’ systematic implosion, and the Fighting Irish never wavered when the interest in Texas A&M was replaced by the likes of Texas and Alabama.

McCulloch was officially accepted academically by Stanford this past week, a development that may be the end of Notre Dame’s push. With another academic school now in the mix – as well as reports McCulloch enjoyed his visit to Austin this past weekend – it wouldn’t be unexpected for Brian Kelly to consider moving on to greener linebacker pastures.

Scott Janssen is a blogger for the Huffington Post and has written several nationally-featured articles, including an appearance as a sports contributor on MSNBC. He talks football 24 hours a day, much to the chagrin of his wife and those around him. Scott can be reached at scottjanssenhp@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter.

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2 Comments

  1. Really enjoy the updates, makes the offseason more interesting and always enjoy the recruiting segments
    Go Irish

  2. Thank you for the update. It looks like a couple more Georgia/SEC insiders are favoring Notre Dame for Demetris Robertson’s signature on National Signing Day. A lot of credit to Autry Denson and the rest of the staff. This recruiting cycle was not looking positive last February with the departure of Kerry Cooks and Tony Alford. Plus there were not many elite prospects leaning in Notre Dame’s favor, except for the commitment of Tommy Kraemer. This staff has worked their tail off to get a very respectful class. If they can add Robertson to go along with Kraemer, Daelin Hayes, Khalid Kareem, Liam Eichenberg, Javon McKinley, and diamond in the rough Chase Claypool, then they should have a Top 10 class. That would be remarkable, considering that most of the names above were not trending towards Notre Dame about year ago, some of them even 6 months ago.

    Next recruiting cycle’s #1 focus is the defensive front.

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