Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 17, 2016

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

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Page 44 of 55 OCT. 17, 2016 45 FOOTBALL RECRUITING nerback by the Irish, received his Notre Dame offer in early August. He recently took an official visit to Northwestern Sept. 24. Where Notre Dame stands with him is also a little bit of a mystery, but again a mutual interest is certainly there given the official visit. Hicks has recently stated to the UCLA Rivals site that Notre Dame is one of the schools recruiting him the hardest. UCLA, USC, California, Oregon and Washington are several schools in line to get one of his three remaining officials. JORDAN POUNCEY — OFFICIAL VISIT WIDE RECEIVER WINTER PARK (FLA.) HIGH Rivals Rankings: Three-star prospect. The Skinny: Pouncey has remained firm to the Irish since his summer commitment. A recent unof- ficial visit to home-state Miami sent a bit of a scare to Irish faithful, but the Hurricanes have not yet offered the underrated athlete. Pouncey is having a very good senior season at running back for his Winter Park team and is expected to vie for early playing time at wide re- ceiver upon his arrival in South Bend. He also could have a future at safety. The athlete will be tasked to give a helping hand in recruiting during the weekend. PETE WERNER — UNOFFICIAL VISIT LINEBACKER INDIANAPOLIS CATHEDRAL Rivals Rankings: Four-star talent and the No. 18 outside linebacker in the country. The Skinny: Werner has remained completely solid to the Irish since his commitment in late March. He told Brandon Brown of TheWolver- that Ohio State continues to recruit him often, but he is still 100 percent to the Irish and won't be changing his mind. The linebacker was in South Bend for the first two home games against Nevada and Michigan State. MICHAEL YOUNG — OFFICIAL VISIT WIDE RECEIVER DESTREHAN (LA.) HIGH Rivals Rankings: Three-star talent and No. 79 wide receiver nationally. The Skinny: The Louisiana wide receiver com- mitted to the Irish over the summer and will be making his first trip to South Bend as a commit. He chose Notre Dame over offers from Texas A&M, Oregon, Arkansas, Virginia Tech and others. Young will become just the second player from Louisiana on the roster when he signs with the Irish officially, joining defensive lineman Jerry Tillery out of Shreveport (La.) Evangel Christian. Young is the nephew of former Indianapolis Colts and LSU running back Joseph Addai. 2018 VISITORS JAELEN GILL — UNOFFICIAL VISIT RUNNING BACK WESTERVILLE (OHIO) SOUTH Rivals Rankings: Four-star recruit, and the No. 1 all-purpose running back and No. 28 overall player in the junior class. The Skinny: Gill is one of the top running backs on the Notre Dame board in the junior class. This will be his first experience in South Bend. Current 2018 running back Markese Stepp is consistently in Gill's ear about joining him at Notre Dame. Ohio State is also a major player in his recruit- ment. The top all-purpose running back in the class according to Rivals, Gill had his junior season cut short in the second game of the year with a frac- tured fibula. He is expected to make a full recovery. ZACK KUNTZ — UNOFFICIAL VISIT TIGHT END • CAMP HILL (PA.) HIGH Rivals Rankings: Four-star prospect, and the No. 1 tight end and No. 50 overall player nationally. The Skinny: Kuntz is the top tight end in the class and will be making his second trip to South Bend this year, having last visited for the game against Duke. The tight end is high on the Irish and told Blue & Gold Illustrated recently his family are Catholic and fans of Notre Dame. Kuntz is the top priority at tight end in the 2018 class for the Irish staff. MICAH JONES — UNOFFICIAL VISIT WIDE RECEIVER GURNEE (ILL.) WARREN TOWNSHIP Rivals Rankings: Four-star talent, and the No. 27 wide receiver and No. 144 overall junior prospect nationally. The Skinny: The wideout has the Irish in his top five along with Michigan State, Iowa, Northwest- ern and Illinois. He was last in South Bend for the June Irish Invasion, where he was a standout and earned his offer from the Notre Dame staff. Jones has already been to Illinois, Iowa and Northwestern this fall. Notre Dame is in good standing early on to eventually ink the signature of the rangy wide receiver. AENEAS HAWKINS — UNOFFICIAL VISIT DEFENSIVE TACKLE CINCINNATI MOELLER Rivals Rankings: Currently unrated. The Skinny: Hawkins received his offer from the Irish in April, and, even though he publicly released a top list, Notre Dame sits in a good position with him. He stays in constant contact with his former teammate and current Irish sophomore defensive lineman Elijah Taylor. Hawkins recently was offered by in-state Ohio State and also holds offers from Florida, Florida State and others. The competition is stiff for the late-blooming defensive lineman. MARKESE STEPP — UNOFFICIAL VISIT RUNNING BACK INDIANAPOLIS CATHEDRAL Rivals Rankings: Four-star talent, and the No. 11 running back and No. 174 player overall nationally. The Skinny: Stepp recently visited Michigan for the Wolverines game against Wisconsin. He told Brandon Brown of he simply wanted to see two great teams play. While he is not keeping his options open, he said just in case something happens with Notre Dame or for any committed player, it is smart to keep rela- tionships built with other staffs. This will be Stepp's third time in South Bend this year. ✦ Gurnee (Ill.) Warren Township's Micah Jones — Rivals' No. 27 wide receiver and No. 144 overall pros- pect in the class of 2017 — has Notre Dame in his top five. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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