Another week, another plethora of recruiting questions about the Notre Dame program. With increased excitement for what the Irish are accomplishing on the trail, the more intrigue there is from the fan base.
There are a ton of visits in the works, a lot already being verified by the Irish Breakdown staff. It is sure to be a busy couple of months for the Notre Dame staff. This week, we are talking under the radar targets, the cornerback board, the running back class and a little heat check on some top rated 2023 recruits.
Let’s answer some questions that Notre Dame fans and faithful are all wondering about. Of course, the questions come from Irish Breakdown subscribers on the message board.
dtrollhunter: Ryan, why has Notre Dame cooled on Malik Muhammad?
It stems from the staff’s opinion that he might not be a great fit at Notre Dame and also their view on a couple other 2023 cornerbacks on the board. They really like Tulsa (Okla.) Booker T. Washington two-way star Micah Tease, Coppell (Texas) standout Braxton Myers and of course Saint Louis (Mo.) DeSmet star Christian Gray.
Those seem to be the players at the very top of the board as it stands. Everyone knows how much the site likes Muhammad but it just seems that he isn’t the priority on the board for the Notre Dame staff right now.
cethclark60: Are there any more under the radar prospects you think ND has a good shot with?
When I hear “under the radar”, the term sleeper immediately enters my mind. As of now, I would say that Cambridge (Mass.) Buckingham Browne and Nichols athlete Ronan Hanafin would be a take for the staff if/when he would potentially choose the Irish. The staff has a much higher opinion on him than his current recruiting ranking.
Belmont (N.C.) South Point offensive lineman Sullivan Absher is another player who I believe would be a take if he opts for Notre Dame. Now, I am not as confident that the Irish are the clear leader here. He isn’t in commit mode and it is early but I would keep a close eye on this one. The Carolina schools are presenting a tough competition for him. Absher is absolutely a player to watch for Coach Hiestand.
Sticking at offensive line, recent offer Pinnacle (Ariz.) standout Elijah Paige is an interesting player to watch. The staff also likes Middletown (Ohio) Lakota East offensive lineman Austin Siereveld is someone else that Notre Dame is in sound position for. I don’t think it is a stretch the imagine Notre Dame ends up with at least one of those three offensive lineman.
Chicago (Ill.) Simeon wide receiver Malik Elzy is very high on Notre Dame. He is a talented pass catcher at 6-3, 195 pounds, with outstanding ball skills. I believe Notre Dame is in the driver seat if they would take Elzy’s commitment.
One more would be Marlin (Texas) linebacker Derrion Gullette, who is an insane athlete on the second level. The Irish have a lot of work to do here but he would absolutely be a take for the staff it seems.
cethclark60: On a scale of 1-10 what are your ratings on Notre Dame getting these prospects? Dante Moore, Rodney Gallagher, Braylon James, Samuel M’Pemba, Jason Moore, Charles Jagusah and Monroe Freeling.
Dante Moore: Notre Dame is the leader. The staff has done an excellent job to date and have clearly out-paced all other programs. There’s a reason Irish Breakdown has been so consistent with the fact Notre Dame was in a great position for months. 9 (Bryan has this as a 10)
Rodney Gallagher: There is work to do here. Notre Dame isn’t in a bad position but they are getting into the race late. Gallagher put his recruitment on the back burner a bit during basketball season so they should be able to make up any existing gap. 5 (Bryan has this as a 6)
Braylon James: Notre Dame loves Braylon James and that admiration seems to be reciprocated. This is another one that the Irish will need to close but I wouldn’t want to be in any other team’s position. 9
Samuel M’Pemba: M’Pemba has been high on Notre Dame for awhile but the talk seemed to have cooled down for a bit. They appear to still be the favorite. It’ll be big to get him back on campus. 8
Jason Moore: If Notre Dame isn’t Moore’s favorite then they are right near the top. This is trending in the right direction but there will be a lot of competition. 7
Charles Jagusah: It is hard to not imagine Jagusah in this class. There is a lot of confidence on the Jagusah front. 10
Monroe Freeling: Similarly to Moore, Notre Dame is right near the top for Freeling but there is work to be done. He is set to return to South Bend for the Blue-Gold game. This one could escalate quickly. 7
alberto: If Notre Dame was to add another 2022 RB, how does that affect the 23 cycle? Do they just stick with Irvin Jr. at that point?
I assume this is in reference to the recent news that 2022 Indiana running back signee Gi’Bran Payne was released from his national letter of intent. Obviously the connection with Deland McCullough is interesting, and worth keeping an eye on.
However, it remains to be seen if there is interest and whether Payne would be a good fit. That would be the only scenario that another running back would be added for 2022. I personally don’t think it will change anything substantially in 2023. Notre Dame is interested in potentially bringing in a second running back but it is not in a situation where it is a necessity.
They are leaving the option open if there is someone who they really like or presents versatility on top of Irvin.
jwb07: In the big intel drop this week, it was noted the Irish may try to get back in the Duce Robinson sweepstakes. Is this a recruitment that’s still wide open, or are they in a really deep hole that they’re not likely to get out of? Any rumblings of a potential spring visit for Duce? Does he have any relationship with Dante a la Carnell Tate where that could be a big chip for the Irish?
This is a recruitment that we are still trying to get a comprehensive understanding for. It doesn’t appear that there is a de facto leader as of right now – but Notre Dame’s lack of presence certainly doesn’t help the situation. They are going to try and get back into this thing but it’s not going to be easy. Expect further details in the near future on this one.
ggaona: Has there been any new movement with Duce Robinson or Jax Howard since the Parker hire? Thank you
The latest we have heard is that Notre Dame has made it a priority to get back into the race with Phoenix (Ariz.) Pinnacle star tight end Duce Robinson.
Whether there is movement will be dependent on if Notre Dame can get him on campus this spring/summer. As for Howard, there hasn’t been much chatter recently. For continued updates on the tight end class, keep an eye on the message board!
mike_gardner: Is there a defensive recruit that will sway more top ranked guys if we land him? (kind of like Dante Moore, if we get him on the offensive side)
This is an interesting question. I think the closest to that level is already in the class in defensive end Keon Keeley. His recruiting ranking speaks for itself. He is rated as a top ten player nationally by both On3 (3) and 247Sports (9).
Keeley also ranks as a five-star recruit from Rivals. The 6-6, 230 pounder is the perfect player to attract other top named defenders. It’s hard to believe that other defensive lineman won’t want to play with him, linebackers won’t want to play behind him and defensive backs wouldn’t want to intercept some errant passes he forces.
Keeping Keeley in the class is a huge priority for the staff. Early on in his recruitment he was a ring leader for the class. The sooner that Notre Dame can get him back to that point the better.
irishfam5: I know the staff has mentioned that Dante Moore is likely visiting the weekend of the 26th. Has anything been confirmed yet? Also, will there be any other recruits there with him that weekend or is this a weekend that will specifically focus on him? Thanks
It is not confirmed yet, but as of right now Moore is expected to be on campus that weekend. The only other recruit that has been confirmed for that weekend is Princeton (N.J.) Hun School 2024 defensive end Owen Wafle so the attention will be very firmly on Moore during the visit.
daniel-zawlocki: How much impact will the Ohio State game, in your opinion, have on recruits? Say we win, will that give us a chance to land any pipe dream recruits? If we lose, do you think that would turn current commits or recruits high on Notre Dame to look elsewhere? Or more neutral, doesn’t affect us too much in either direction.
I tend to stay somewhere in the middle on the impact. It will definitely resonate with recruits. I have spoken to several players who are beyond excited for what Coach Freeman has going on at Notre Dame and the recruiting impact but it is still a wait and see for what the on field product is. They want it to be tangible.
If Notre Dame is able to get into the Horseshoe and get a victory, that will be a huge opportunity to gain a huge amount of momentum. If it isn’t a good showing then it may stall the momentum slightly but it’s only one game. It isn’t the end of the world but you’d be lying if you didn’t think it would move the needle with recruits.
sigismund13: Michigan State with a new and energetic staff seems like a dangerous time for the regional hegemon UM recruiting-wise, especially out of Detroit the next few years.
Do you see a scenario over the next five or so years where ND can take advantage of an in-state recruiting civil war heating up (Dantonio’s crew was weak) and work into being the top choice for qualifying talent in the state? Is this even a worthwhile venture when analyzing talent coming out of the state?
I’d love to see ND attracting metro Detroit talent like Moore, but getting more Daelin Hayes type guys out of UMs backyard might be plausible with a competitive MSU causing issues at home as momentum for ND grows, especially if you sign Moore.
Enemy of my enemy type deal.
I would like to think that a bigger influence in Michigan would simply be due to Notre Dame’s changing ideology for identifying the “right fit” for the program. There is also an extreme confidence in this staff that they can recruit anywhere. Notre Dame is a national brand that can attract potential recruits from all over – use it.
Michigan State leveling the playing field with the Wolverines, however, is interesting. Michigan does have name recognition as well so if the Spartans can dull that lure in state then Notre Dame will have even more opportunity in theory. It sort of stunts the growth of both Michigan schools and makes them more susceptible to losing ground on other Midwest powers.
I do still think that it would be more about how Notre Dame is attacking the trail than the latter but whatever advantage presents itself, Coach Freeman and staff will take advantage of it.
sbirish25: I probably missed it, but any update on oline target Samson Okunlola?
There isn’t anything substantial. Last time I spoke to Okunlola, he was still in the process of arranging visits. His timeline remains the same. Notre Dame has made him a priority and he has said he will get to South Bend in either the spring or summer.
From there, he will make a decision whether he wants to get back for a game visit. My gut says Notre Dame will be a player here but there is a lot of work to
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