Welcome back to the 2020 Football Recruiting Big Board! In case you missed it, check out Jaden’s Offensive Big Board Update from a couple weeks ago. Today we are taking a look at Notre Dame’s targets along the defensive side of the ball. There are a lot of names on the list, so let’s just dive right in.
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There is still a lot of movement on the board at corner and safety. It’s not entirely clear how the numbers will shake out, but it sounds like the staff is looking to take 5 total defensive backs.
Clark Phillips is THE top target left on the board regardless of position. The top 50 corner has a top 2 of Notre Dame and Ohio State. The Irish will be pushing very hard for his pledge, but it will not be easy.
Notre Dame looked like the team to beat early on for Enzo Jennings, and then things kind of trailed off… Recent reports are that he is going to visit South Bend in the near future, though. And the Irish could get back into the thick of it for the top 100 talent.
Cameron Martinez is a kid that just recently received a Notre Dame offer within the last couple of weeks. The Irish will definitely be in it for the Muskegon, MI native. But Ohio State, Northwestern, Michigan State, Michigan, and Kentucky have all been on him a lot longer. Notre Dame is currently playing catch-up. Other recent offers include Caleb Offord and Ramon Henderson.
The two guys on the list that seem to most want to be Irish are also a pair of lower-rated recruits per the recruiting services, Landen Bartleson and Lovie Jenkins. It’s unclear if the Irish would decide to take both of these two recruits at this point, or if they might decide to take just one and continue searching for bigger fish. Both guys should be visiting South Bend in June, so it will be interesting to see how things develop over the next few weeks.
Clark Phillips may be the top target on the board, but Lathan Ransom isn’t much farther down. The Irish are probably in his top group right now, but he is highly coveted by elite teams all over the country. I can’t say with any confidence that the Irish will land him.
Jordan Morant is another guy that the Notre Dame staff really, really likes. The Irish probably trail the likes of Penn State and Michigan right now, but they made a nice impression during his visit last month.
RJ Moten was just recently offered by Notre Dame this week. His relationship with the Notre Dame staff is still very much in the early stages, but reports are that Notre Dame is an offer he really wanted. Other recent offers at safety include Malcolm Greene, Ricky Hyatt and Jordan Addison.
Another name to keep an eye on, and one that is not on the board as an offered recruit just yet, is Alaka’i Gilman. No, he’s not related to Maurice Stovall — but he is related to current Irish safety Alohi Gilman. Like his brother, Alaka’i is currently flying a bit under the radar as a recruit, but to a lesser degree. Teams like Arizona State, USC, and Cal have already offered. If he’s half the player his brother is, maybe Notre Dame should be next. Such a development likely wouldn’t occur until sometime in the fall, however.
Commits: Aidan Keanaaina (.8871)
The Irish got their guy in AK and they’re not pushing for anyone else.
Commits: Jordan Botelho (.9423), Rylie Mills (.9423), Alexander Ehrensberger (.8416)
Notre Dame has done extremely well so far recruiting defensive end this cycle. They almost batted perfectly this cycle, but unfortunately Braiden McGregor proved himself to be a true Michigan Man™ last night while publicly committing to the Wolverines.
There are 3 recruits now that the Irish might focus on. Mitchell Melton appears to be the top guy. The drop end prospect is scheduled to officially visit South Bend on June 7th. If the Irish don’t seem to be gaining any traction with him, Ben Yurosek and Cam Large look like they would be next on the list. Or the staff could decide to stop pushing for defensive ends altogether after missing on McGregor. We’ll likely find out soon.
The Notre Dame staff seems pretty content with where the depth chart is at linebacker at the moment. The only real target on the board at linebacker right now is Cody Simon, the younger brother of current Irish linebacker Shayne Simon. Cody has had a very quiet recruitment thus far, and it’s unclear when he plans to make a decision. Safe money is on the Irish to land him, but there is a slight chance the Irish decide not to take a linebacker this cycle with how full the cupboards currently are.
Long story short, Notre Dame is in a very good spot as far as front seven recruiting goes. At defensive back, the situation is a lot cloudier.
Notre Dame is in decent shape with some really good defensive backs, but all of those targets are far from locks to the Irish at this point. And after guys like Phillips, Ransom, and Morant, what other high-level recruits do the Irish have a legitimate shot with? Defensive back could quickly end up being a glaringly obvious blemish on an otherwise stellar recruiting class.
Until that point, however, the most we can do as fans is cross our fingers and trust the staff to get it done.