Blue and Gold Illustrated

December 2015 Issue

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

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Page 63 of 92

FOOTBALL RECRUITING BY ANDREW IVINS T he finish line might be in sight for Notre Dame when it comes to National Signing Day Feb. 3, but just because the Irish have a chunk of its recruiting class already committed doesn't mean they are finished on the recruiting trail. As of Nov. 25, the Irish held 18 ver- bal commitments, but that number is expected to grow to 23, or even 24, by the time the class is finalized. Here's a look at Notre Dame's top eight remaining targets on the board, sorted by their Rivals rankings. Savannah (Ga.) Christian School athlete Deme- tris Robertson –– The 6-0, 180-pound Robertson is ranked as the No. 1 recruit in Georgia, and the No. 1 athlete and No. 6 overall prospect in the country. The former Alabama commit took an official visit to Notre Dame Sept. 5 and has talked about returning for an unofficial visit, although a date hasn't been set. The Competition: Stanford, Alabama, Georgia and Georgia Tech. Prediction: Alabama. Robertson has listed Stanford as his leader in the past, but he has yet to gain ad- mission into the Pac-12 school. He continues to state academics are important — and Notre Dame offers just that — but he needs to return to South Bend on his own dime for the Irish to be considered a real contender down the stretch. Ann Arbor (Mich.) Skyline linebacker Daelin Hayes –– The 6-3, 254-pound Hayes is ranked as the No. 1 recruit in Michigan, and the nation's No. 3 outside linebacker and No. 13 overall player. The former USC commit was in South Bend a week after he decommitted from the Trojans in early October and has been a longtime target for the Irish. He's ex- pected to decide in mid-December and enroll early at the school of his choice in January. The Competition: Michigan State and Ohio State. Prediction: Notre Dame. Hayes has taken official visits to all three of his finalists and raved about each trip, but the Notre Dame coaching staff has had the longest relationship to date with Hayes, which should be the difference in the end. Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West linebacker Caleb Kelly –– The 6-3, 214-pound Kelly is ranked as the No. 2 recruit in California, and the No. 5 outside linebacker and No. 17 overall prospect in the land. He plans to finally visit Notre Dame Dec. 11, after canceling a number of trips to the Midwest for one reason or another. The Competition: Oklahoma, Oregon and Michi- gan. Prediction: Oklahoma. The Irish should be con- sidered a long shot at best to sign Kelly, and that's primarily because of the struggles they have had to land high-profile Fresno-based recruits over the years. Still, head coach Brian Kelly claims that the Notre Dame's Eight Most Wanted The Irish are in strong position to land a com- mitment from Ann Arbor (Mich.) Skyline's Daelin Hayes, the nation's No. 3 outside linebacker and No. 13 overall player according to Rivals. PHOTO BY ANDREW IVINS

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