Notre Dame football recruiting: Irish back scouring Louisiana
The football program at John Curtis Christian High School is nostranger to attention.
An undefeated 2012 season was capped by the school's 25th statechampionship in the 50 years the River Ridge program has been playingfootball in Louisiana. The program was also named 2012 high schoolnational champions by a number of publications. including USA Today,MaxPreps and Rivals.
But the attention Notre Dame has been giving the John Curtis programsince the 2013 signing day? That's something that's relatively new.
"Notre Dame recruited here a good bit in the past, but in the lastfive, eight, 10 years or so they really haven't been terribly activehere," head coach JT Curtis said. "This is a little bit of a change."
Hard to argue with the interest shown by the Irish in the past fewmonths. John Curtis -- a program that sent ND All-America linebackerMichael Stonebreaker in the '80s -- has had players sign with FBSprograms every year but one since 2002, according to the Rivalsrecruiting database.
Irish cornerbacks coach Kerry Cooks heads up recruiting in the stateof Louisiana for Notre Dame and has stopped by John Curtis during thespring evaluation period, as has Irish recruiting coordinator TonyAlford.
Two 2014 targets have emerged with offers -- wide receiver MalachiDupre and linebacker Kenny Young. The Irish will continue to recruitboth players in what Curtis said is normally a slow recruiting processfor his players. This summer Curtis will sit down with the players'parents to gauge what programs they have the most interest in.
"I have very few that ever commit early," Curtis said. "That's justkind of the process that we do. We want to make sure that if they do,that it's a place that they know they're finished. That's wherethey're going to go. We don't commit very easily and we don'tdecommit."
Both Dupre and Young could help Notre Dame at positions of need in the2014 recruiting class.
Dupre, at 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, is a playmaker at the wide receiverposition with size and athleticism. That athleticism was on displayearlier this month, when Dupre won LHSAA Class 2A state track andfield titles in the high jump (6-6), long jump (23-53/4), and triplejump (44-21/4).
A four-star prospect, Dupre is slated as the No. 3 wide receiver andNo. 30 players overall in 247Sports.com individual prospect ratings.Rivals ranks Dupre seventh at his position and No. 58 overall.
Young, at 6-2, 220 pounds, fits the profile of an inside linebacker atNotre Dame.
"Kenny is a linebacker that has good size, runs really well and hasgood ball skills," Curtis said. "He's really an active linebacker."
247Sports slates Young as the No. 11 inside linebacker and No. 220overall. Rivals ranks Young as the No. 10 outside linebacker and No.199 overall.
Young could become an even more coveted prospect for Notre Dame, afterlinebacker target Dante Booker verbally committed to Ohio State onThursday.
Curtis said he's not sure why Notre Dame hasn't been heavily involvedin recruiting his program in the past several years, but he's glad tosee and hear from the staff more often.
"We've had contact with them through the years. They've just neverreally been that actively involved," Curtis said. "That might just bethrough the evaluation process. College recruiting is all aboutevaluation, and it's not an easy process to go through.
"They look to see if a particular guy fits into their scheme or intowhat they're looking for. I think these guys maybe fit into that alittle bit better."
The Irish haven't had much success recruiting in Louisiana lately. NewOrleans cornerback Albert Poree is the most recent signee in 1999.(Poree transferred to Georgia Tech after one season.) But the Irishhave a handful of offers out to 2014 prospects in the state, headlinedby running back Leonard Fournette.
Having seen programs like Michigan and Ohio State have some successrecruiting in LSU and the SEC's backyard, Curtis said the Irish wouldbe wise to spend time in the state as well.
"Louisiana has awfully good football players," Curtis said. "Theyprobably are going to try to be here a little bit and maybe tap intosome of the talent that's in our state. They'd be smart to do that."
Top five lists
A pair of Notre Dame targets released top five lists on Thursday: onewith good news, one with bad news.
Junior wide receiver Derek Kief unveiled a top five on his personalwebsite and Notre Dame made the cut. The 6-foot-5, 197-pound wideoutfrom La Salle High in Cincinnati also highlighted Kentucky, OhioState, Northwestern and Alabama in his top five.
Kief ranks as the No. 21 wide receiver on 247Sports and No. 46 on Rivals.
Junior defensive lineman Josh Frazier released his top five list ofschools on Twitter, but Notre Dame didn't make the cut.
The 6-3, 324-pound prospect from Har-Bar High in Springdale, Ark.,went with USC, Georgia, Alabama, Texas A&M and Arkansas to completehis unordered favorites. Frazier did precede his list by saying thelist could change, but the Irish clearly have a lot of work to do inrecruiting one of their top remaining defensive line targets.
Frazier, who projects as a nose guard in Notre Dame's 3-4 defense,ranks as the No. 5 defensive tackle in the country on Rivals.com, andNo. 92 overall in the 2014 class. 247Sports slates Frazier as the No.10 defensive tackle and No. 71 overall.
Nelson to visit again
Matt Nelson received an offer from Notre Dame when he visited in Apriland has scheduled a return trip to South Bend for another look.
The 6-foot-8, 245-pound Nelson plans to visit on June 7. The juniorfrom Xavier High in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is being recruited as adefensive end by the Irish.
The three-star prospect is ranked as the No. 13 tight end prospect by247Sports and No. 30 by Rivals.