Notre Dame didn’t treat Tucson (Ariz.) Salpointe Catholic’s Lathan Ransom like a lost cause over the last few weeks.
The Irish football coaching staff continued to recruit their top safety target. But after Ransom verbally committed to Ohio State on Tuesday, Notre Dame will now look to reset its 2020 recruiting class going forward.
At 17 commitments, the Irish have just a few scholarship spots left this cycle. Whether the Irish add another receiver or linemen remains unknown. What looks the most certain is two more defensive backs joining cornerback pledges Landen Bartleson, Clarence Lewis and Caleb Offord.
However, the Irish aren’t recruiting their defensive back targets with a sense of urgency at the moment. Take Lufkin (Texas) High’s Jerrin Thompson for an example. The four-star recruit planned a June 21-23 official visit to South Bend before Notre Dame cooled off on his recruitment and canceled the trip.
The 6-foot, 180-pounder told the Tribune he still wants to take an official visit to South Bend, especially for Notre Dame’s Oct. 12 home game against USC. He just needs the green light from the Irish. 247Sports considers Thompson as its No. 12 safety and No. 145 overall player for the 2020 recruiting class, while Rivals pegs him No. 12 at the position and No. 201 overall.
“I really haven’t talked to anyone from Notre Dame for about a month,” said Thompson last week. “I don’t know if it’s been that long, but I know we haven’t really been keeping in touch.”
It’s not that Notre Dame isn’t interested in Thompson. July and August are just slower recruiting months with coaches on vacation and the dead period. Last year, the Irish reached 17 commitments by July 4. It took 67 days before they landed pledge No. 18 in wide receiver Kendall Abdur-Rahman.
Soon the Irish will reevaluate their priorities for this cycle.
There’s enough time for a reassessment. No 2020 recruit will visit South Bend until September. Notre Dame’s next official visit weekend will be for its Sept. 14 home game against New Mexico. The next defensive back to take an official visit to South Bend will likely be Bakersfield (Calif.) Liberty’s Ramon Henderson for the Sept. 28 game against Virginia.
Irish special teams coach Brian Polian and cornerbacks coach Todd Lyght extended an offer to Henderson on May 24. The three-star cornerback hopes to silently commit somewhere after taking five official visits and make his decision public in December.
Henderson feels like a priority to Notre Dame despite having never visited its campus. The Irish adding three cornerback commitments has not deterred Henderson either.
“Coach Polian talked to me about it,” Henderson told the Tribune. “He said, ‘Yeah, we have a few guys committed. But I’m telling you that there’s no rush and we respect your decision about your December timeline and all that.’ He basically told me that I’m still able to go and that there are no holdbacks, ifs, ands or buts about.”
Oklahoma, UCLA and California were among schools to offer Henderson after his first season playing cornerback last year. He could bring upside with his length, 10.59 100-meter dash speed, athleticism and room to grow at the position.
Henderson began the recruiting process attracting smaller schools as a receiver. His minimal time at cornerback might explain why 247Sports regards him as its No. 83 athlete and No. 984 overall player.
“At the end of this season, whichever position I feel better at is the one I will pursue,” Henderson said.
The only other uncommitted recruit that has scheduled an official visit to Notre Dame is Kansas City (Mo.) Raytown cornerback Dontae Manning. He told Rivals analyst Josh Helmholdt of his plans to attend ND-USC.
The 6-0, 175-pound Manning pledged to Oklahoma following his April 12-14 official visit. He decommitted on July 6. Texas A&M could pose as Notre Dame’s biggest threat for Manning. The Aggies hosted Manning for a June 14-16 official visit. The Irish offered Manning on Jan. 30.
Alexandria (Va.) Episcopal’s Elijah Gaines and Highland Springs (Va.) High’s Malcolm Greene could also take official visits to Notre Dame. Gaines included Notre Dame in his top seven schools last month. Irish running back commit Chris Tyree continues to recruit Greene, a four-star safety.
The Colony (Texas) High defensive back Christian Gonzalez took a June 21-23 official visit to Notre Dame but will likely take more visits. Oklahoma cornerback Ryan Watts, who took an April 5-7 official visit to South Bend, will also be worth monitoring. Like Manning, Notre Dame has not stopped recruiting Watts. Notre Dame also extended an offer Tuesday to Argyle (Texas) Liberty Christian cornerback Collin Gamble.
There may not be much movement in Notre Dame’s 2020 class until September. Henderson should be the next recruit and substantial visit to watch.
“I want to feel secure in that it’s like home,” Henderson said. “I only grew up with one parent in my mom, so going that far, I definitely need a place that I could establish as my new home for a while. After college, I would want to still think of it as home as part of the alumni.”