Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2018

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

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Page 32 of 47 FEBRUARY 2018 33 FOOTBALL RECRUITING and the speed and range to make plays to the sideline. The Great Oak talent possesses the physicality and instincts to play the Mike position, the range and play- making skills to play the Buck (weak- side inside linebacker) position, and the size/frame to even grow into a Drop end down the road. Rivals ranks Lamb as the nation's No. 77 overall player. OVIE OGHOUFO • LB • 6-3, 208 Lathrup Village, Mich. • Harrison H.S. Oghoufo had a dominant senior season, which earned him Michigan Defensive Player of the Year honors from USA Today. The Harrison stand- out is an athletic defender that pos- sesses outstanding lat- eral quickness and good open field speed. That allows him to cover a lot of ground, and his improved instincts dur- ing his senior made him a highly impactful edge player. There is growth needed from a physical standpoint, but Oghoufo is a tough defender. When he is confi- dent and his technique is sound he is strong in coverage, and his potential in that department is outstanding. Oghoufo needs work, but his com- bination of attitude, athleticism and playmaking ability gives him greater upside than your typical three-star recruit. SHAYNE SIMON • ROV • 6-3, 212 West Orange, N.J. • St. Peter's Prep Simon racked up 14 tackles for loss and five interceptions as a se- nior, which highlight his all-around dominance and tailor-made for the rover position. He is an excellent run defender thanks to his length and toughness, and he uses his speed and athleticism to at- tack downhill and make plays in space. Ideally, Notre Dame needs its rover to be just as good against the pass as he is against the run, and Simon has that ability. He is instinctive in coverage, has fluid athletic skills and his ball skills are special for a linebacker-type athlete. He projects as a playmaker against the run, as a coverage player and as a pass rusher. Rivals ranks Simon as the nation's No. 159 overall player. DERRIK ALLEN • S • 6-2, 215 Marietta, Ga. • Lassiter H.S. Allen is smart, highly instinc- tive and an exceptionally disrup- tive player on the back end. He is a smooth athlete that spent the first three years of his prep career playing cornerback. All of his athletic move- ments are loose and easy, and his balance is highly impressive for someone his size. The Lassiter standout is an elite cover player as a safety, which should allow him to develop into a playmaker against the pass at the next level. He must continue improv- ing in the run game, but he has the strength and willingness to thrive in that area. Allen has the talent and size to compete for playing time the moment he steps foot on campus. Rivals ranks Allen as the nation's No. 66 overall player. HOUSTON GRIFFITH • S • 6-0, 194 Chicago • IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) Like Allen, Griffith spent the first three years of his prep career play- ing cornerback, which helped him develop top-level coverage skills as a safety. He is a fluid athlete, displays a high football IQ, and has a natural feel in coverage that makes him an im- pact pass defender. He was always a physical player with strong hands, but he filled out his frame as a senior and became a more impactful run defender. Griffith is a heady player with the tools to develop into a disruptive pass de- fender. He has the skills to impact the safety depth chart as a true freshman. Rivals ranks Griffith as the No. 35 overall player in the country. PAUL MOALA • S • 5-11, 196 Mishawaka, Ind. • Penn H.S. Moala tested extremely well this summer at Notre Dame's Irish In- vasion, running a 4.45 in the 40- yard dash and performing well in position drills, which earned him an Irish of- fer. He is a hitter and an instinctive player who is constantly around the football. Players like Moala won't impress fans that look at the star-rating systems, but he brings value. With Moala you know you are going to get a high-effort player and someone willing to do whatever he is asked by the staff. At the very least he is expected to become a vital part of your special teams units. TARIQ BRACY • CB • 5-11, 170 Milpitas, Calif. • Milpitas H.S. Bracy is one of the most underrated players in the class, at least from a national perspective. A consensus three-star player by the major re- cruiting services, he has film that tells a different story. The 5-11, 170-pounder was a dominant high school running back, rushing for 2,049 yards as a senior, but his skills project best at cornerback. Bracy has outstanding speed, top-flight agility and incred- ibly loose hips. He combines smooth athletic skills with explosiveness and suddenness. The Milpitas star picked off 14 passes during his prep career, and has the physical attributes to develop the impactful man-to-man cover skills Notre Dame needs in its defense. JOSEPH WILKINS JR. CB • 6-2, 180 North Fort Myers, Fla. • North Fort Myers H.S. Wilkins is a solid all-around cor- nerback that lacks any special traits, but he also lacks any discern- able weaknesses. There is upside for some traits to make big jumps, and his all-around game made him a coveted player for the Irish staff. The first trait that jumps out is his length. Wilkins is 6-2 with long arms, length that negates his lack of top- end speed. He is a smooth athlete that pos- sesses loose hips and quick feet, which help him make sudden and quick movements in coverage. A smart player that stays under control, he doesn't overreact to receiver moves and makes good reads on the ball. Note: Little Rock (Ark.) Pulaski Acad- emy offensive tackle Luke Jones commit- ted to Notre Dame Dec. 27 and will not sign until Feb. 7. ✦

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