Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 30, 2017

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

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42 OCT. 30, 2017 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED FOOTBALL RECRUITING BY DAVID MCKINNEY AND COREY BODDEN OFFENSE N otre Dame's offensive recruiting class for 2018 is much closer to completion when compared to the defensive side. The Irish landed their quarterback in Gibsonia (Pa.) Pine-Richland prod- uct Phil Jurkovec in May 2016. Run- ning back Markese Stepp of India- napolis Cathedral followed later that summer to give Notre Dame a good one-two punch to start its offensive efforts for 2018. A nice run for the Irish this Febru- ary and March landed Gurnee (Ill.) Warren Township wide receiver Mi- cah Jones, plus offensive linemen Cole Mabry of Brentwood (Tenn.) High and John Dirksen of Maria Stein (Ohio) Marion Local. Tight end George Takacs of Naples (Fla.) Gulf Coast committed this May, while wide receiver Kevin Austin of Coconut Creek (Fla.) North Broward Prep joined the mix in August. Notre Dame is looking to add at least one more wide receiver, one or two offensive linemen and another tight end if the right fit is there. At wide receiver, Notre Dame's main targets are Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei five-star Amon-Ra St. Brown, Medford (Ore.) South Med- ford product Chase Cota, Etiwanda (Calif.) High speedster Geordon Por- ter and New Orleans McDonogh 35 talent Lawrence Keys. Notre Dame is the likely leader for Porter, while the Irish look to make up ground with the other three pros- pects. St. Brown took an official visit to South Bend for the USC game Oct. 21, while Porter and Cota made it to South Bend for the Georgia game Sept. 9. The Irish are looking at one tight end — Norcross (Ga.) Wesleyan product Tommy Tremble. The 6-4, 225-pounder took an official visit for the USC game, and Notre Dame is likely the team to beat. The Irish hosted two offensive line targets for official visits at the USC game — Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep tackle Nick Petit-Frere and Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei guard Chris Mur- ray. Petit-Frere visited South Bend last spring, while it was Murray's first trip to the school. Notre Dame is in solid shape with both players. The Irish are also making a run at five-star tackle Cade Mays of Knox- ville (Tenn.) Catholic. Mays is pub- licly committed to Tennessee and is a Volunteer legacy, but his pledge is in question with the uncertainty go- ing on with the UT program. Notre Dame is looking to get Mays on cam- pus for a visit, though they have not yet offered. DEFENSE Cornerback is probably the most discussed position when it comes to the current state of Irish recruiting. Notre Dame didn't sign any corner- backs in the class of 2017 and is cur- rently without any commits at the position in the 2018 class. However, all hope of signing a quality cornerback prospect isn't lost. Notre Dame hosted four-star Ev- erett (Wash.) Archbishop Murphy product Kyler Gordon on an offi- cial visit for the Temple game and made a big impression on him and his mother. The matchup with North Carolina State Oct. 28 could also prove to be a big one for cornerback recruiting. The Irish are set to host two four- star prospects currently committed to other schools that weekend. Manchester (Tenn.) Coffee County Central prospect and Tennessee commit Alontae Taylor and four-star Washington (D.C.) H.D. Woodson and Maryland commit Noah Boykin will both be in town to watch the Irish take on the Wolfpack. Notre Dame hit a homerun at safety Feb. 13 when Derrik Allen, the No. 82 overall player in the country according to Rivals, committed. The Irish would like to add at least one more safety to the class, and its best chance is Anaheim (Calif.) Servite four-star Julius Irvin, who visited for the Georgia game. The Irish are a finalist to land him. At defensive tackle, Notre Dame secured commitments from its top two targets at the position, Jayson Ademilola and Ja'Mion Franklin. The story is a bit different at defen- sive end. The Irish secured a commit- ment from three-star Justin Ademi- lola, but are still searching for more impact pass rushers to add to the class. Names like four-star Thomas Booker, four-star Jayson Oweh and three-star Joseph Ossai all expressed interest in Notre Dame, but with those prospects trending toward other programs, the Irish have had to expand the board a bit. Atlanta Hapeville Charter product and South Carolina commit Kingsley Enagbare picked up an offer from the Irish Oct. 5 and has discussed taking a visit to South Bend. Notre Dame has one of the stron- gest linebacker classes in the country, landing four-star Jack Lamb, Rivals' No. 65 overall player in the country; Matthew Bauer, the No. 132 overall prospect in the nation; Shayne Si- mon, the No. 141 overall recruit in the land; and Ovie Oghoufo, the No. 7 player in Michigan. Even with the strong four-man class, there are some concerns about depth on the current roster, which is why the Irish staff continues to push for prospects at the position, includ- ing California four-stars Solomon Tu- liaupupu and Bo Calvert. Hillsbor- ough (N.C.) Orange County four-star outside linebacker Payton Wilson has also been in consistent contact with linebackers coach Clark Lea recently, even with his commitment to North Carolina. ✦ An Overview Of Notre Dame's 2018 Class Four-star inside linebacker Jack Lamb, Rivals' No. 65 overall player in the nation, is the high- est-ranked defensive commitment in Notre Dame's 16-man class. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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