Blue and Gold Illustrated

January 2018

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

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40 JANUARY 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED FOOTBALL RECRUITING BY COREY BODDEN AND DAVID MCKINNEY N otre Dame hosted its annual Echoes Awards Dec. 8, and sev- eral of the program's top remaining recruiting targets were in attendance. Over the weekend, the Irish hosted three official visitors, one 2018 un- official visitor and nine (DT Jayson Ademilola, DE Justin Ademilola, Rover Shayne Simon, WR Micah Jones, TE George Takacs, OT Cole Mabry, LB Ovie Oghoufo, OT John Dirksen and DT Ja'Mion Franklin) of the 18 current commits. The following is a rundown on all four of the non-committed visitors, and where Notre Dame stands with each coming out of the visit. KYLER GORDON — UNOFFICIAL VISIT CORNERBACK • EVERETT (WASH.) ARCHBISHOP MURPHY Rivals Rankings: Four-star talent, No. 3 prospect in Washington and No. 25 cornerback in the nation. The Skinny: With a decision loom- ing, Gordon felt he needed to get one more look at Notre Dame, and the Echoes weekend was the perfect op- portunity. Gordon's parents joined him on the official visit in September, but did not come along this time around. This visit was more about Gordon bond- ing with current Irish commits and players than selling his parents on the school. The bonding aspect of the trip went well, and the current Irish commits were treating Gordon as if he was al- ready part of the class. Gordon has toyed with the idea of committing Dec. 17, his 18th birthday. LUKE JONES — OFFICIAL VISIT OFFENSIVE TACKLE • LITTLE ROCK (ARK.) PULASKI ACADEMY Rivals Rankings: Three-star talent, No. 4 player in Arkansas and the No. 45 offensive tackle in the country. The Skinny: Jones first came to campus for an unofficial visit for the USC game Oct. 21 and returned for an official visit for the Echoes. He is an Arkansas commit, but has been giving Notre Dame a hard look as we get closer to signing day. Jones spent much of the visit hang- ing out with current Irish offensive line commits Cole Mabry of Brent- wood (Tenn.) High and John Dirksen of Maria Stein (Ohio) Marion Local. Mabry and Jones have commu- nicated before. In fact, Jones first reached out to Mabry via direct mes- sage on Twitter to express his interest in the Irish program and mentioned how much he enjoyed his in-home visit with offensive line coach Harry Hiestand. How Jones connects with new Ar- kansas coach Chad Morris, who left SMU to head up the Razorbacks, is likely the key in terms of a potential flip. MALIK LANGHAM — OFFICIAL VISIT DEFENSIVE END • HUNTSVILLE (ALA.) LEE Rivals Rankings: Three-star talent, No. 21 prospect in Alabama and No. 38 strongside defensive end nation- ally. The Skinny: Langham is a new prospect on the board for Notre Dame. Following an in-home visit with defensive line coach Mike Elston Nov. 27, he picked up an offer and locked in his official visit shortly after. A week later, he hosted Alabama head coach Nick Saban on an in- home visit and added an offer from the Crimson Tide. Many assumed that an offer from the in-state power would shut down Langham's recruitment, but the three-star still made the visit to Notre Dame, and the Irish made a big impression. He said there was a lot to take in during the visit, but what stood out to him the most was the way Notre Dame players and coaches interacted with one another. Langham could easily see how much Irish players enjoy playing for their position coaches, especially in regards to Elston. Langham and Elston spent a good bit of time to- gether over the weekend. Going forward, Langham will take official visits to Vanderbilt and Ala- bama before announcing his decision on National Signing Day. BRADEN LENZY — OFFICIAL VISIT WIDE RECEIVER • PORTLAND (ORE.) TIGARD Rivals Rankings: Four-star talent, No. 3 player in Oregon and No. 14 athlete in the land. The Skinny: In June, Lenzy an- nounced that he was flipping his commitment from Notre Dame to Oregon. However, with uncertainty surrounding Willie Taggart's future in Eugene, he reached back out to Notre Dame and expressed renewed interest in the Irish. Lenzy decommitted from Or- egon Dec. 5 after Taggart departed for Florida State, and the four-star hosted Notre Dame offensive coordi- nator Chip Long on an in-home visit the next night. Long convinced him to return to South Bend for an official visit dur- ing the Echoes weekend, and it re- portedly went well. Lenzy has not said much publicly about the visit, but did tell Blue & Gold Illustrated that he enjoyed him- self. With the promotion of Ducks co- offensive coordinator and offen- sive line coach Mario Cristobal to the head coaching position, Oregon could very well get Lenzy back in the class, but both Notre Dame and UCLA will be making a big push. ✦ Echoes Weekend Features A Talented Group Of Visitors Everett (Wash.) Archbishop Murphy four-star cornerback Kyler Gordon made his second visit to Notre Dame for the Echoes Awards Dec. 8. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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