Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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66 PRESEASON 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED PREP PROFILES Notre Dame is still working to add weapons in the class of 2019, and ESPN300 wide receiver Genson Hooper is a top target. The Houston St. John's product doesn't open up much about his re- cruitment, but told Blue & Gold Il- lustrated in August that he's talking to Notre Dame frequently and has a good bit of interest in the Irish. "It's pretty high," he said. "Notre Dame has a great, historic program, an electrifying fan base and great academics, which is something I'm looking for." Education, Hooper said, is one of the most important factors in his re- cruitment. He wants to know he's got a stable future in front of him once football comes to an end. "If the big dream [the NFL] doesn't work out, I want something that's going to be worthy after the ball stops rolling," Hooper said. "I feel like I can develop at Notre Dame. I like Notre Dame a lot." Notre Dame isn't the only academ- ically inclined institution Hooper is considering, though. The Texas talent said he's also high on Northwestern, Stanford and Duke, as well as in- state schools Baylor and SMU. Hooper said he plans on attending an Irish home game this fall, most likely when the Irish host Stanford Sept. 29 or Florida State Nov. 10. When that visit does happen, Hooper said he's looking forward to meeting with current Irish players and taking in a game at Notre Dame Stadium. "The game-day experience is go- ing to be amazing," Hooper noted. "I want to meet a couple players and see what they think about the program. "Most of the time players are truth- ful, so I want to ask them in person how they feel about Notre Dame." Heading into his senior season, Hooper is speaking with several Irish coaches every week, including head coach Brian Kelly, offensive coordi- nator Chip Long and wide receivers coach DelVaughn Alexander. Hooper said he's a big fan of the way Alexander has been approach- ing his recruitment. "One thing I really like about him is he's a very detailed coach," Hooper said of Alexander. "Most coaches in recruiting, they just try to stroke your ego, but if I post a video on Twitter and I run a good route, he tells me how I can run it better. "That attitude of always trying to get better, I like that about him a lot." During his junior season at St. John's, Hooper caught 25 passes for 466 yards and four touchdowns. — David McKinney In May, Notre Dame became the first school east of the Mississippi River to offer 2020 defensive end Xavier Carlton of Modesto (Calif.) Christian. The 6-6, 235-pounder expressed high interest in the Irish program to Blue & Gold Illustrated following the offer. "I was stoked, honored and hum- bled to have received this offer," Carlton said. "Education and playing for a program that is rich in history and supports their student-athletes are so important to my family and me. Notre Dame has all of this." Carlton is aiming to be in South Bend this fall if his game schedule permits. "I'm hoping to do an unofficial visit in November for the Florida State game, depending on how my season goes," he said. "I am defi- nitely excited about their upcoming season, and I can't wait to watch the defensive line in action, especially the guys playing at my position. "I definitely want to visit the cam- pus, see its history and feel what it's like to be a part of the football team and tradition. … I'm excited to meet head coach Brian Kelly, defensive line coach Mike Elston and [graduate assistant] Larry Black and the rest of the coaches and players in person." Carlton has been able to stay in contact with the Irish a bit this sum- mer through Black. "I check in from time to time to learn as much as I can about the program, their upcoming season and just to talk sometimes," Carlton stated. "We are just trying to get to know each other. He tells me to keep working, never stop and strive to be great." The three-star prospect has been focused on preparing for his junior season, so he isn't very close to mak- ing a decision. Along with the Irish, he's picked up offers from Arizona, Arizona State, California, Iowa State and Utah, among others, since March. "I want this year to be better than last year in school and on the field," Carlton said. "I'm just humbled by the process and enjoying it." During his sophomore season in 2017, Carlton recorded 82 total stops, eight tackles for loss and six sacks according to MaxPreps. — Corey Bodden Texas Receiver Is Eager To Visit Notre Dame This Fall 2020 California Defensive End Hopes To Check Out The Irish GENSON HOOPER ✪ ✪ ✪ St. John's H.S. Houston Status: Offered Class: 2019 Position: Wide Receiver Ht.: 6-5 • Wt.: 175 Rivals Rankings: No. 91 player in Texas and No. 84 wide receiver nationally XAVIER CARLTON ✪ ✪ ✪ Modesto Christian H.S. Modesto, Calif. Status: Offered Class: 2020 Position: Defensive End Ht.: 6-6 • Wt.: 235 Rivals Rankings: No. 26 player in California and No. 17 strongside defensive end nationally "Education and playing for a pro- gram that is rich in history and supports its student-athletes are so important to my family and me. Notre Dame has all of this." CARLTON

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