Notre Dame football recruiting: Alford has ND in the running

TYLER JAMES - <a href="http:

Five-star running backs and Tony Alford have been getting along quitewell lately.

The Notre Dame running backs coach and recruiting coordinator helpedsign Greg Bryant in February, sealed a verbal commitment in the 2014class from Elijah Hood in April, and now has another elite runningback prospect for the 2015 class set for an unofficial visit in June.

Jacques Patrick, a sophomore from Timber Creek High in Orlando, Fla.,claims more than 30 offers already in the recruiting process and plansto check out a handful next month on a Midwest circuit.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound back plans to visit Notre Dame's campus onJune 11, with visits to Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdueand Northwestern also on the schedule.

Patrick will be returning the favor from Alford, who watched therunning back's first practice of the spring several weeks ago.

"I've been wanting to get up there for a while now," Patrick said."I'll finally get up there in two weeks, and I'm excited about it.Notre Dame just played in the national championship game. I'm reallylooking forward to meeting the coaching staff and getting on campus tosee what Notre Dame has to offer."

So much early interest for Patrick came on the heels of a sophomoreseason in which he rushed for 2,032 yards and 29 touchdowns. A handfulof offers in the fall grew to include every SEC power and many othersacross the country.

Patrick has a long way to go until the 2015 signing day, but he likeshaving the ability to get an early start on visiting schools andpinpointing his interests. A coaching staff he feels comfortable with,a strong academic environment and a chance for early playing time tophis current checklist of factors to consider on visits.

Patrick, who's ranked as the No. 9 running back in early 2015 rankingsby, has taken note of the recruiting haul Alford hasgathered for the Irish. Joining a unit complete with Bryant, TareanFolston and Hood is something that intrigues the young player.

"Nowadays in college, there's not just one back anymore. There's atwo- or sometime three-back rotation that keeps you fresh in collegeand, hopefully, in the NFL," Patrick said. "I wouldn't mind ... Itreally doesn't scare me away. I wouldn't mind playing with guys likethat."

The horses won't be on campus when he visits in June, but he'll getgood look at the ND stable.

Texas targets like ND

The tail end of the spring evaluation period has produced a number oftop lists from prospects across the country. In Texas, a pair of 2014Notre Dame targets have trimmed down their options and have kept theIrish in the picture.

On Monday, wide receiver KD Cannon released a top list of 12 schools:Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech, TCU, Ole Miss,Notre Dame, Miami, Texas A&M, Florida State and Florida.

The 6-0, 161-pound prospect from Mount Pleasant, Texas ranks as theNo. 5 wide receiver, according to both Rivals and 247Sports.

On Tuesday, a top list of schools for defensive end Solomon Thomas wasreleased via his head coach at Coppell High, Joe McBride, on Twitter.

The 6-3, 256-pound prospect is said to be favoring the following 13schools: TCU, Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ohio State,UCLA, Stanford, Notre Dame, Alabama, Texas A&M, Oregon and Arkansas.

Thomas, who attends the same high school that produced Irish juniorrunning back Cam McDaniel, has a top 40 overall ranking on 247Sportsand Rivals. 247Sports slate Thomas as the No. 3 strongside defensiveend prospect nationally and Rivals ranks him at No. 4.

Hood in Lemming Top 10

CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming recently releasedhis spring Top 100 for the 2014 class, and Irish running back commitElijah Hood earned the highest ranking from the Notre Dame class.

Hood, a 5-11, 221-pound prospect from Charlotte (N.C.) Catholic, isslated at No. 7 overall on the list. Offensive lineman Quenton Nelson(81), defensive end Andrew Trumbetti (94) and offensive lineman AlexBars (96) also made the list.

Staff writer Tyler James:

Notre Dame recruiting coordinator Tony Alford.