Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 30, 2017

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

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Page 42 of 55 OCT. 30, 2017 43 PREP PROFILES It's been a bit of a roller-coaster ride for Notre Dame at the cornerback po- sition over the past year or so. During the last cycle, the Irish held two four-star commits — Mansfield (Texas) High athlete Paulson Adebo and La Mirada (Calif.) High product Elijah Hicks — at one point before finishing the class with zero. The 2018 haul started strong with the Irish landing a commitment from four-star prospect Kalon Gervin before he de- committed a few months later. Notre Dame remains at square one at cornerback and is doing all it can to identify potential targets. That in- cludes offering prospects committed elsewhere. On Oct. 10, the staff ex- tended an offer to Tennessee commit and Manchester (Tenn.) Coffee County Central product Alontae Taylor. The 6-1, 180-pounder set an official visit to Notre Dame the following day for Oct. 28 when the Irish host North Carolina State. Blue & Gold Illustrated caught up with Taylor 's high school coach, Ryan Sulkowski, to discuss Taylor 's interest in the Irish and his recruitment in general. "The first thing he tells me is, 'We're working on an official visit,'" Sulkowski stated. "He said just the tradition and the history stand out. I've been to South Bend. It's just that whole mystic and the fan base. "He was excited about that, and he's excited to get an opportunity to go up and see it for himself. It'll be a business trip for him because it is late in the game. He's set up to be a mid- year graduate. … We have a short window right now, and that's what he and I discussed. "The consideration is still there to not graduate early. … The biggest thing is he doesn't want to rush a decision. He wants to make the right decision." Taylor has been committed to Ten- nessee since June 2016, but he is still exploring his options. The Irish land- ing an official visit signals the pro- gram has a chance. "Notre Dame is definitely in the mix, especially since it's one of his five officials," Sulkowski said. "He's going to do his due diligence. He's going to go with his gut feeling on things." Sulkowski says Taylor plans to take all five officials and in-home visits will be a big help as well. — Corey Bodden Defensive end is one of the re- maining needs for the Irish in the 2018 class, and the staff continues to evaluate targets across the country. Notre Dame expanded its board Oct. 6, offering a SEC commit — Atlanta Hapeville Charter product and South Carolina pledge Kingsley Enagbare. The 6-4, 255-pounder announced his pledge in late July over Georgia, Penn State, Auburn, North Carolina State, Arkansas, Georgia Tech and North Carolina, among others. Notre Dame is now part of that list for the three star and is a program he may consider moving forward. "It's a nice offer," Enagbare told Blue & Gold Illustrated. "We've been talking a little bit on and off for a while. It was earlier this year. … It picked back up when they offered. … It's great because Notre Dame is a legendary school for college football, and they have a good degree too. "My interest level is probably mid- level high." A visit to South Bend is a possibil- ity for the Gamecock commit. "Probably," Enagbare said when asked if Notre Dame was a school he wanted to visit. "A date is still something we have to work out … I still want to explore my options. I'm still 100 percent committed to South Carolina. "First, I'd want to get an overall feel of the campus. I want to see how hard they practice there and the intensity. I also want to get a feel for [defensive line] Coach [Mike] Elston." Enagbare had been in contact with Elston on and off during the process. "He gets straight to it," Enagbare said of Elston "I'm looking for a de- fensive line coach that is laid back, but intense at the same time. Some- one who has a lot of energy. Just a good teacher overall." Following landing his offer in Octo- ber, Enagbare made sure to watch the Irish face off against North Carolina. "I liked what I saw from the de- fensive line," Enagbare explained. "They just get after the ball. They have a nice intensity about them. … I feel like he pushes them hard. "He drives the point of getting to the ball hard and just keeping a high intensity." — Corey Bodden Tennessee DB Commit 'Excited' About Irish Offer And Visit South Carolina DE Pledge Considering Visit To Notre Dame ALONTAE TAYLOR ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ Coffee County Central H.S. Manchester, Tenn. Class: 2018 Status: Offered Position: Cornerback Ht.: 6-1 • Wt.: 180 Rivals Rankings: No. 25 wide receiver and No. 131 overall player nationally KINGSLEY ENAGBARE ✪ ✪ ✪ Hapeville Charter H.S. Atlanta Class: 2018 Status: Offered Position: Defensive End Ht.: 6-4 • Wt.: 255 Rivals Rankings: No. 27 strongside defensive end nationally "It's great. Notre Dame is a legendary school for college football, and they have a good degree, too." ENAGBARE "He was excited about that, and he's excited to get an opportunity to go up and see it for himself." COFFEE COUNTY CENTRAL HEAD COACH RYAN SULLKOWSKI ON TAYLOR GETTING AN OFFER FROM NOTRE DAME

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