Blue and Gold Illustrated

May 2018

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

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Page 50 of 63 MAY 2018 51 FOOTBALL RECRUITING With an early offer on the table, the Irish should be a player for McGregor throughout his recruitment. One of the busiest days of the month was April 12, when four unof- ficial visitors descended upon South Bend. Four-star 2020 quarterback Drew Pyne made his third visit to Notre Dame and later announced his com- mitment to the Irish April 16. The New Canaan (Conn.) High standout was joined on the visit by his cousin, 2020 four-star offensive tackle Kevin Pyne of Millis (Mass.) High. With Drew in the fold, Notre Dame should be heavily involved with Kevin go- ing forward. Notre Dame also hosted two top targets in the class of 2019 in Alexan- dria (Va.) Episcopal four-star safety Litchfield Ajavon and four-star Hag- erstown (Md.) St. James School wide receiver John Metchie. Ajavon, the No. 79 overall player nationally, has long been seen as a Notre Dame lean, and he ultimately committed to Notre Dame April 21. Metchie, the country's No. 170 overall player, said he could possibly return to South Bend for an official visit. Notre Dame and Penn State are expected to be among the top schools for him going forward. The weekend of April 13 was a big one for Notre Dame with the first group of official visitors. Four-star defensive line commits Jacob Lacey of Bowling Green (Ky.) South Warren and Sachse (Texas) High big man Hunter Spears took their official visits to Notre Dame and were joined were joined by two more standout linemen — three-star end Colt Ellison of Aledo (Texas) High, and NaNa Osafo-Mensah, a four-star end from Fort Worth (Texas) Nolan Catholic. Four-star linebacker Osita Ekwonu of Charlotte (N.C.) Providence Day, the No. 5 outside linebacker and No. 148 overall player in the land, was also in town on an official. Osafo-Mensah, the No. 160 over- all player nationally, is one of Notre Dame's top overall targets and will announce a decision between the Irish and Texas May 19. Coming into the visit, the Irish trailed the Long- horns, but intel from the weekend suggests Notre Dame may have re- gained the pole position. Osafo-Men- sah will officially visit Texas May 4 before entering decision mode. Ellison loved his trip to Notre Dame, and so did his parents, but he appears destined to stay closer to home, likely at TCU. With Ekwonu, all signs point to Notre Dame being his leader as the four-star starts closing in on a deci- sion. On April 14, that group of visitors was joined by Omaha (Neb.) Burke three-star outside linebacker Nick Henrich, who left the trip with Notre Dame as one of his top schools. WEEK THREE Notre Dame hosted a talented group of visitors for the program's Blue-Gold Game April 21. The top target in town was Edina (Minn.) High 2019 offensive tackle Quinn Carroll, who was on an of- ficial visit. Carroll has Notre Dame in his top six along with Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Virginia Tech and Minnesota. The trip was the fourth to Notre Dame for the nation's No. 6 offen- sive tackle and No. 33 overall player. Carroll has also taken official visits to Virginia Tech and Penn State, and could visit the remaining three pro- grams in his final six before making a decision this spring or early summer. Notre Dame is believed to be the team to beat for the standout tackle. The other top prospect that made the trip for the spring game was Montvale (N.J.) St. Joseph's 2019 de- fensive end Howard Cross. The 6-2, 240-pounder, the No. 26 strongside defensive end and No. 238 overall player nationally, committed to the Irish on Sunday morning following the Blue-Gold Game. Notre Dame also hosted another Rivals250 defender who is familiar with the program: Cleveland St. Igna- tius linebacker Tommy Eichenberg. The 6-3, 225-pounder is the younger brother of Notre Dame junior of- fensive tackle Liam Eichenberg. The younger Eichenberg, who is the No. 8 inside linebacker and No. 226 overall player nationally, is still waiting on an offer from Notre Dame, but the four-star is on the radar. The 2020 class was also repre- sented during the Blue-Gold Game with one of Notre Dame's major tar- gets making the short trip: Frankfort (Ill.) Lincoln-Way East four-star ath- lete AJ Henning. Offered this past January, Henning has been back to South Bend mul- tiple times since then and holds the Irish in high regard. Notre Dame is leaving his future position open, but he will wind up at running back or wide receiver if picks the Irish. Cincinnati Elder offensive tackle Jakob James, who holds offers from Louisville and Cincinnati, and Tigard (Ore.) High cornerback Max Lenzy were also in town for the Blue-Gold Game. Oregon and Oregon State have offered the younger brother of Notre Dame 2018 wide receiver Braden Lenzy. ✦ Notre Dame hosted Edina (Minn.) High 2019 offensive tackle Quinn Carroll, the nation's No. 6 offensive tackle and No. 33 overall player per Rivals, on an official visit during the Blue-Gold Game April 21. PHOTO BY ANGELA DRISKELL

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