Blue and Gold Illustrated

August 2016

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

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FOOTBALL RECRUITING "We also want to use the Irish In- vasion as something that's a step on a year to two years out — the future stars for Notre Dame," head coach Brian Kelly noted back in February. "It's not just the immediate stars that are coming on campus, but Irish In- vasion is, 'Look what's going to be coming in the future as well.'" The focus on younger players al- lowed for Notre Dame to add to its quickly growing 2018 recruit- ing class, but it also gave the Irish a chance to get an even earlier start on the rising sophomores. With its 2017 and 2018 quarter- backs already in the fold, Notre Dame has set its sights on the top quarterback from the 2019 class, Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei stand- out J.T. Daniels. He was joined at the Irish Invasion by teammate Bru Mc- Coy, a 6-3, 185-pound wide receiver. Daniels already has an offer from the Irish, and McCoy hopes to turn his performance into an offer down the road. One player that took advantage of the camp was 2019 defensive tackle Jacob Lacey of Bowling Green (Ky.) South Warren. Lacey, a 6-2, 285-pound interior player, showed off impressive athleticism during drills. His fast hands and high-effort impressed and earned him an offer within days. ✦ Irish Prospects Shine At The Opening The Irish Invasion was not the only major event with strong Notre Dame ties. In July, the Nike+ Foot- ball The Opening Finals took place in Beaverton, Ore. There were over 30 prospects in attendance with an offer and/or interest from the Irish. When the event started, Notre Dame had no committed players in attendance. By the time The Open- ing was over, two players had given verbal pledges to the Irish. Rivals250 running back C.J. Holmes of Hamden (Conn.) Cheshire Academy committed to Notre Dame on July 8 with a video created by Bleacher Report in which Holmes and several high school teammates were out on a boat. Holmes reeled in a leprechaun out of the lake, who then handed Holmes a Notre Dame hat and said, "Welcome to the family," to which Holmes replied, "Go Irish." Holmes did not partake in any of the testing at The Opening, but he showed off his pass catching skills and athleticism during the seven-on-seven portion of the combine. He took snaps out of the backfield and at wide receiver, showing off the versatility that made him a high priority for the Notre Dame staff. Two days later, four-star offensive tackle Robert Hainsey of Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy had his announcement for Notre Dame aired on ESPNU during a semifinal game of the seven-on-seven tour- nament. Hainsey, who is ranked No. 64 nationally by, became the second-highest ranked member of the 2017 class, trailing only Cypress (Texas) Cy-Fair tight end Brock Wright, who checks in at No. 47 nationally. Hainsey performed well during the one-on-one matchups against the top defensive linemen. He played left tackle, left guard and center during the event. The Pittsburgh native looked extremely com- fortable playing on the inside, where he matched up well against bigger defenders. — Bryan Driskell

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