Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 17, 2018

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

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42 SEPT. 17, 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED FOOTBALL RECRUITING BY COREY BODDEN AND DAVID MCKINNEY N otre Dame hosted six official visi- tors from coast to coast during the program's 24-17 win over the Michi- gan Wolverines. It was an early ma- jor recruiting weekend for the Irish, who aim to round out their 2019 class with a bang. Blue & Gold Illustrated takes a look at how the trips went for each of the official visitors. CORNELIUS JOHNSON WIDE RECEIVER • GREENWICH (CONN.) BRUNSWICK Rivals Rankings: Three-star pros- pect. The Skinny: Johnson kept it sim- ple when asked how his official visit to Notre Dame went. "The visit was good," Johnson told Blue & Gold Il- lustrated. "I was really impressed." Johnson went on to say that he had a great time meeting with Irish wide receivers coach DelVaughn Al- exander and spending time with his player host, freshman wide receiver Braden Lenzy. The 247Sports top-200 player came into the visit with Notre Dame in his top group along with Stanford, Alabama, Michigan and Penn State. Stanford is the likely leader at this time, but Notre Dame made an im- pression and will continue to push for him throughout his recruitment. KENDALL ABDUR-RAHMAN WIDE RECEIVER • EDWARDSVILLE (ILL.) HIGH Rivals Rankings: Three-star re- cruit. The Skinny: Of the six official visi- tors for the Michigan game, Abdur- Rahman could be the best bet to eventually end up in Notre Dame's class of 2019. The talented athlete has shown significant interest in the Irish and doesn't have an extensive list of big-time programs pining for his commitment. Abdur-Rahman said that he hasn't made any plans for announcing a commitment yet, but did say a de- cision would probably come in the middle off his senior season. WALTER ROUSE OFFENSIVE TACKLE • WASHINGTON (D.C.) SIDWELL FRIENDS Rivals Rankings: Three-star pros- pect. The Skinny: Coming out of the visit, Rouse said that he is seeing his recruitment clearer now. The Irish were well aware that Rouse wanted to spend time around doctors, and the staff made sure to get him plenty of time with Dr. Brian Ratigan — a former Irish linebacker who went on to become an orthopedic surgeon at Notre Dame. Rouse has aspirations of becoming a surgeon, so this was an vital factor for him. Following the visit he an- nounced he was down to the Irish and Stanford with plans to announce his decision by the end of September. ISAIAH RUTHERFORD CORNERBACK • CARMICHAEL (CALIF.) JESUIT Rivals Rankings: Four-star talent, and the No. 9 cornerback and No. 83 overall player nationally. The Skinny: Of the six visitors, Rutherford may have been deemed the least likely to wind up at Notre Dame heading into the weekend. While the Rivals100 prospect wasn't sure what to expect during the trip, the Irish left a lasting impression on him and his parents. Rutherford told Blue & Gold Illus- trated that the Irish moved up his list, and he was impressed by the team's defense, coaching staff and more. To close out September, Rutherford has official visits scheduled to Colorado (Sept. 15) and Oregon (Sept. 22). A decision could come in the weeks after those trips conclude. Notre Dame did well during the visit, but it remains to be seen if it was enough to pull him from the West Coast. BRALEN TRICE DEFENSIVE END • PHOENIX O'CONNOR Rivals Rankings: Four-star talent and the No. 23 weakside defensive end in the country. The Skinny: Much like Rutherford, Trice would have been the other op- tion when it came to ranking which prospects were least likely to commit to Notre Dame. However, the Irish also made a move with the talented four-star defensive end, who said the visit went "great." Defensive line coach Mike Elston and the rest of the defensive staff will need to remain on Trice, who is planning to take an official to Or- egon Sept. 15. Washington, TCU and UCLA round out his top group. Notre Dame is likely battling the Ducks and Huskies for his signature. ENOKK VIMAHI OFFENSIVE LINEMAN KAHUKU (HAWAI'I) HIGH Rivals Rankings: Four-star talent, and the No. 17 offensive tackle and No. 132 overall player nationally. The Skinny: Notre Dame is still aiming to add one more offensive tackle to its current group of four, and Vimahi could very well be that guy. Based off social media, Vimahi and his family appeared to enjoy their time in South Bend. Vimahi appears destined to take more visits throughout the fall before coming to his decision. It wouldn't be a surprise to see special teams co- ordinator Brian Polian, considered an ace West Coast recruiter, travel to Hawai'i during the fall to check in on the Rivals250 prospect. USC, UCLA, Oklahoma, Washing- ton, Nebraska, Ole Miss and Virginia round out his top eight. ✦ Official Visitors Give Michigan Weekend High Marks Washington (D.C.) Sidwell Friends offensive tackle Walter Rouse is prioritizing academics, and Notre Dame and Stanford are battling it out for his commitment. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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