Welcome back to the 2020 Football Recruiting Big Board! Today we’re back to looking at the offense. Check out Tyler’s recent defensive big board update for our take on the other side of the ball.
|Position||247C||First Name||Last Name||Temp||Hometown||State|
Commits: Drew Pyne, 0.9315
Commits: Chris Tyree, .9823
Notre Dame landed the co-jewel of its offensive class when elite all-purpose back Chris Tyree pledged to the Irish a couple of weeks ago. Elite backs just have not come to South Bend in recent years; in fact, at #34 overall, Tyree is the highest-rated Irish running back commit since #27 overall James Aldridge in the 2006 cycle and the first top 50 back since #45 overall Greg Bryant (RIP) in the 2013 cycle. Rankings aside, what should have every Irish fan excited is Tyree’s speed and agility; at the Opening finals last year he recorded a laser-timed 4.38 40 and a 3.95 shuttle, and he had one of the top 60 meter times in the country this past indoor track season. No doubt Chip Long is already dreaming about Tyree running wild in the blue and gold.
With Tyree in the class and a higher-than-expected post-spring opinion of the backs they already have on campus, the staff can afford to be extremely picky with other prospects here. Reportedly the board has shrunk to a single option, Cullen Coleman (0.8728), who could also end up on the other side of the ball at drop end or linebacker. Coleman will take an official visit to Notre Dame on the 21st; the Irish are in great shape coming into that visit, with Cal, Purdue, and to a lesser degree Stanford lurking as the main competition. Since the turn of the year Coleman picked up offers from Alabama, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State, and Wisconsin, among many others. He also has offers from Harvard, Dartmouth, Brown, and Penn, and his brother is about to join Columbia’s program.
If Coleman does go elsewhere, expect the Irish staff to stand pat at RB with Tyree.
Commits: Jordan Johnson, 0.9844
Another ranking note before we get into the board drama: Jordan Johnson got a huge bump in the Rivals rankings, from #59 overall up to #19. That in turn bumped him up from #38 in the 247 Composite to #29, which makes him a consensus five-star (for the time being, at least). He’s Notre Dame’s first five-star WR commit since #14 overall Michael Floyd in 2008; along with Duval Kamara (#31 overall in 2007), they’re the Irish’s only five-star wideouts in the internet recruiting era. Don’t let the distance from Johnson’s commitment make you forget how big a get he is.
Now… Jalen McMillan (0.9752) scheduled an official visit to Notre Dame for the USC game in October. McMillan is a complete receiver who would push for playing time from day one. While he’s a Fresno-area prospect who, yes, also has a fall official to Oklahaoma scheduled, he also goes to an elite academic prep school that’s similar to Notre Dame and his coach’s daughter was a student manager at Notre Dame recently. Washington is the other main competitor.
AJ Henning (0.9607), well… Who knows? Some thought the commitment of JJ McCarthy, a blue-chip 2021 QB and fellow Chicagoland prospect, to Michigan would be the nail in the coffin. Some others thought that angle was significantly overplayed by Michigan fans. He just took an official visit to Georgia and they made a very big impression. He starts an official visit to Notre Dame today and has one scheduled to Michigan in two weeks. Michigan fans have long expected him to commit on that visit, and he might, but on a recent 247 podcast he talked about taking official visits in the fall to Penn State and an as-yet-undetermined fifth school. Illinois has been hanging around the fringes as well. This feels like a recruitment that has a lot of twists left in it.
The staff’s interest in Michael Redding (0.9428) seems to be fading a bit. I can’t say I disagree with that move, since he strikes me more as a possession receiver. The Irish have had no problem landing those kinds of guys, and in any case, there’s less need for them in a system that emphasizes the tight end position so heavily. We’ll see what happens here, but it looks like there are higher priorities for Notre Dame today. Redding is visiting Miami and Florida unofficially this weekend.
Nebraskan Xavier Watts (0.8728) will be in South Bend for the monster recruiting weekend in a couple of weeks; he has no other officials scheduled at this time. He’s an underrated and electric athlete and Notre Dame is chasing him hard. Michigan is pushing too, but the true threat here is the hometown Huskers. I get the feeling Watts will end up at either Nebraska or Notre Dame.
The final guy to discuss is Rome Odunze (0.8741), who officially joined the board since our last update. The 6’2″ Odunze, who attends Irish pipeline Bishop Gorman, turned some heads with a 4.55 40 and 4.00 shuttle at the Los Angeles Opening regional in February. McMillan, Henning, and Watts would all have a spot ahead of him, but if any of those guys don’t work out the Irish might well push harder here.
Commits: Michael Mayer, .9621; Kevin Bauman, 0.9200
The Irish have been done here for a long time, but one little note on anti-ND ranking conspiracies: Mayer made a big jump since our last Big Board update, going from #102 overall in the 247 Composite to #76 overall. So that’s nice.
Commits: Tosh Baker, 0.9671
The offensive line picture for the 2020 class is substantially clearer than at any other point in the cycle. There are three guys legitimately on the board, with things fairly clear for each kid. Michael Carmody (0.9413), who we believe profiles as a bookend to Baker, started an unofficial visit yesterday. Notably, given that his brother Robby plays for Mike Brey, this visit is solely about Michael as a football recruit. He has an official visit to Ohio State scheduled for the 21st; I’m not sold he’ll make it that far, but you never know. Reece Atteberry (0.8863) is a clear interior prospect. He has an official scheduled to Ohio State as well, but for the 14th – he’ll be in South Bend on another official on the 21st. Notre Dame seems to be in the driver’s seat here.
Andrew Gentry (0.9735), #51 overall in the 247 Composite, intends to announce this summer. He took an official visit to Notre Dame in April that he loved and he has an official visit scheduled to Michigan for the 21st. Both schools (and many others) would love to land him, but I’d be absolutely stunned if he commits anywhere but BYU. Gentry is a devout LDS kid who intends to take his two-year mission after high school; while I do think he’s been sincere in his positive comments about Notre Dame, BYU is just too good a fit for him all around.
Also of note, Baker will take his official visit to Notre Dame on June 21st. Keeps getting bigger.
Off the Board
OG Zak Zinter (0.9083) pledged to Michigan after the Irish staff told him they wanted to see how things went with Carmody and Atteberry. Don’t try to tell that to a Michigan fan, though…
OT Jake Wray (0.8992), who decommitted from Ohio State when Urban Meyer resigned, committed to Colorado. Wray is a big get for new Colorado head man and former Georgia DC Mel Tucker, who has struck out with the top in-state talent this year.
Top 50 RB MarShawn Lloyd (0.9817) shocked everyone when he committed to South Carolina a couple of weeks ago with no prior warning. How much of a surprise was it? Literally everyone at 247 got it wrong – he had five “crystal ball” predictions for Georgia, four for Penn State, one for Maryland, and one that was cloudy. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions on that one. Lance Taylor got Lloyd to briefly consider a visit to Notre Dame, but obviously nothing ever came of it.
Three-star RB Kobe Pryor (0.8826) committed to Clemson, whose interest raises an eyebrow given Pryor’s measurables; at the Atlanta Opening regional, he checked in at 5″10″ and 205 pounds and logged a 4.83 40 and a 4.32 shuttle. Clearly the Clemson staff sees something in him, and in all honesty, who the hell am I to argue with them? But it’s intriguing nonetheless.
In a much less surprising development, WR Julian Fleming (0.9978), #5 overall, committed to Ohio State as he had widely been expected to do. Fleming joins #67 overall Gee Scott (0.9641) and #86 overall Jackson Smith-Njigba (0.9565) in Ohio State’s WR class, so the rich get richer. To bum you out somewhat less, though, consider that Notre Dame has #29 overall Johnson in its class and a real shot at #46 overall McMillan and #78 overall Henning. Maybe a 10% chance of landing both guys, but hey, better than zero.
Texas WR Troy Omeire (0.9534) released a top group without Notre Dame; he hasn’t committed anywhere, but the Irish are definitely out.
With 11 commits in the fold, the 2020 class is about half done; before this month is out, it could be about three-quarters done. That’s as much a function of the new recruiting calendar as anything else, so it’s not necessarily notable in itself. What is notable, however, is the quality of that 11-kid group: per the 247 Composite rankings, it includes one five-star, two top 50 guys, four top 100 guys, and six top 150 guys. The average commit Composite rating (excluding long snapper Alex Peitsch) is 0.9364.
Some perspective around those numbers:
- The 2014-2019 classes combined featured one Composite five-star (Tommy Kraemer) and two top 50 players (Kraemer and Brandon Wimbush). Those classes also averaged just over three top 100 players per cycle and averaged exactly five top 150 players per cycle. At the halfway mark, the 2020 class has already blown the last six Irish classes out of the water in terms of quality.
- The 2011-2013 classes were a dramatically different story. Those three classes featured five five-stars, eight top 50 players, 13 top 100 players, and 19 top 150 players, even though the 2012 class was intentionally small with just 16 kids. 2011-13 was marginally better than 2014-19 with good kids (top 150), producing just over one more such prospect per year. With elite kids (top 50), 2011-13 produced at eight times the rate of 2014-19. Whoa.
- The 0.9364 average Composite rating for 2020 would easily be the highest of any of Kelly’s classes. That almost certainly will come down some barring some very pleasant surprises, but it’s also very likely to eventually end up as Kelly’s second best mark. It will most probably nestle comfortably between 2013’s 0.9230 and 2012’s 0.9121; the remaining recruits in the class would have to average below a 0.8900 score to drop the class below a 0.9121 average, and I don’t see that happening. (I’m assuming here that future ratings changes for individual Irish commits will more or less even out.)
- For an individual recruit, a 0.9364 rating would rank right around #160 overall, which might make you say meh. Not so fast, my friend… 0.9364 would’ve been the second-highest class average in the country for the 2019 cycle. It would’ve been fourth for 2018, third for 2017, and first for 2016. Even a final average of, say, 0.9150 would be a top-ten lock.
Notre Dame is recruiting at a higher level right now than at any point over the last six-plus years. That’s cause for celebration, but we should celebrate while remembering that this kind of class should be – and was, from 2011-13 – the norm for Notre Dame. The key is to have a staff filled with active, engaged recruiters and put a solid product on the field; we’ve clearly checked both boxes over the last couple of years. With Notre Dame’s current position in the 2021 class, I think there’s a good chance we’ll see the momentum continue. Heady times indeed.