Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 19, 2016

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

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44 SEPT. 19, 2016 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED FOOTBALL RECRUITING BY COREY BODDEN AND DAVID MCKINNEY N otre Dame will host one of its big- gest recruiting weekends of the season Sept. 17 when Michigan State comes to South Bend. The current list includes one Rivals five-star talent and six four-star pros- pects in the 2017 class alone. Notre Dame will also host several 2018 Ri- vals four-star prospects, including one they lead for, and will get an early chance to make a good impres- sion. Current 2017 Notre Dame com- mits are also expected to be in atten- dance and could do some additional recruiting for the coaching staff. It is going to be a major weekend for the Notre Dame staff and a big indicator on how the 2017 class will finish, and maybe how the 2018 class will continue its hot start. 2017 Visitors SHAUN WADE — OFFICIAL VISIT Defensive Back • Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian Rivals Rankings: Five-star recruit, and the No. 4 cornerback and No. 17 overall player in the nation. The Skinny: Wade said that, as of now, he's still committed to Ohio State. However, he is still interested in Alabama and Notre Dame, and is listening to pitches from both schools. If Wade were to decommit from Ohio State, those would be the elite cornerback's top two with the thought being that Alabama might hold a slight edge over Notre Dame. Wade pledged to Ohio State Jan. 12 and is currently one of four five-stars committed to the Buckeyes. JACOB PHILLIPS — OFFICIAL VISIT Linebacker • East Nashville (Tenn.) Magnet Rivals Rankings: Four-star pros- pect, and the No. 2 inside linebacker and No. 37 overall player in the country. The Skinny: Notre Dame made the top five for Phillips and will be one of his five official visits. The Rivals four-star has already taken his official to Oregon and was slated to travel to Oklahoma Sept. 10. He will visit Ala- bama and LSU the next two weeks following his trip to South Bend. Notre Dame is in good shape with Phillips, but the frontrunner could be Oklahoma given how long the Sooners have been on the four-star linebacker. He spoke highly of his Oregon visit from the opening week- end of college football and also is high on Alabama. Notre Dame will get its shot to impress Rivals' No. 2 inside linebacker nationally. THOMAS GRAHAM — OFFICIAL VISIT Cornerback • Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) High Rivals Rankings: Four-star talent, and the No. 7 cornerback and No. 68 overall player nationally. The Skinny: Graham's recruitment is wide open. Any of the five schools the cornerback plans to officially visit during the course of the 2016 football season have a good chance at landing him. Graham visited Nebraska for the Huskers' season-opening matchup with Fresno State, and will also visit Arizona and Oregon. Graham has stated that he feels comfortable with head coach Brian Kelly and Notre Dame, and is excited about the poten- tial of receiving a Notre Dame educa- tion. Graham will announce his deci- sion during the first week of December. AARON BANKS — OFFICIAL VISIT Offensive Tackle • El Cerrito (Ca- lif.) High Rivals Rankings: Four-star recruit, and the No. 15 offensive tackle and No. 101 overall player in the land. The Skinny: Banks is the most re- cent addition to this list, and he told Blue & Gold Illustrated Sept. 7 that he had set the Michigan State game weekend for his official visit to South Bend. Banks took an unofficial to the campus in early August and came away impressed with Notre Dame's presentation. He also really likes of- fensive line coach Harry Hiestand and how the offensive linemen at Notre Dame seem to love him. The addition of Banks is a major development in Notre Dame's re- cruiting for the 2017 class. He may be a tough pull from the West Coast and the likes of USC, Arizona State and Oregon, but he wouldn't be taking an official if there wasn't a legit chance he could wind up at Notre Dame. DAVID ADAMS — UNOFFICIAL VISIT Linebacker • Pittsburgh Central Catholic Rivals Rankings: Four-star pros- pect, and the No. 4 inside linebacker and No. 113 overall player in the nation. The Skinny: The Pittsburgh line- backer has been committed to Notre Dame for almost six months and will not be wavering on that decision. He said over the summer that Tennessee was still trying to recruit him, but he was telling them thanks but no thanks. Adams is itching to get to Notre Dame next year and play for line- backer coach and his lead recruiter Mike Elston. He said in late July he is still trying to be active on the recruit- ing trail and he could help with sev- eral major Notre Dame targets in at- tendance for the Michigan State game. HEZEKIAH JONES — OFFICIAL VISIT Wide Receiver • Stafford (Texas) High Rivals Rankings: Four-star talent, and the No. 17 wide receiver and No. 128 overall player in the country. The Skinny: Jones is committed to Texas A&M, so that's the initial road block for the Irish chances. It has also been speculated that proximity to home may be a factor for Jones and his parents. Five Rivals150 Prospects Headline Big Visitor Weekend East Nashville (Tenn.) Magnet Rivals four-star linebacker Jacob Phillips is one of several high- profile prospects headed to South Bend for the Michigan State game Sept. 17. PHOTO BY NICK LUCERO/RIVALS.COM

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