Notre Dame football recruiting: ND staff hits the pavement on off week

South Bend Tribune

Another walk through the halls of Newbury Park (Calif.) High School on Wednesday morning turned into a special moment for Zach Okun.

The junior offensive lineman was pulled aside by his coaches and was greeted by Notre Dame assistant coach Mike Denbrock. Soon he learned the Irish coaching staff was extending him a verbal offer.

“I was definitely a little bit stunned,” Okun said. “I wasn't expecting it at all. I was just walking to class and all of a sudden I had a Notre Dame offer. That was pretty cool.”

Denbrock, making the rounds throughout his recruiting area in California during the Irish bye week, made Okun one of the priorities during his travels. Okun, who said most of his knowledge of Notre Dame comes from games on television and movies like “Rudy,” now plans to study up on a new college option.

“I don't know too much about them or the coaching staff too well,” Okun said. “I'm definitely going to try to get as well-versed with them as I possibly can.”

The 6-foot-4, 315-pound prospect has already fielded interest from a handful of schools, but most of his offers have come from Pac-12 programs like UCLA, Washington and California.

Okun plays right guard for Newbury Park and is being recruited as an offensive guard or center by most programs, including Notre Dame. Ranked as a four-star prospect in early 2015 rankings, 247Sports slates Okun as the No. 5 guard and No. 98 player overall.

A decision doesn’t appear to be close on the horizon for Okun.

“I'm not going to narrow anything for a while until I see the schools I want to see,” Okun said. “I'm pretty open right now.”

Calif. DE offered

Mail from Notre Dame had become a staple of Keisean Lucier-South’s daily flood of roughly 30 recruiting mailings. Meeting Mike Denbrock and receiving an offer Thursday showed the interest was serious.

“I was really surprised because Notre Dame's a really good school and they're a top football school,” Lucier-South said. “I'm truly blessed that I got an offer from Notre Dame.”

A 6-foot-6, 215-pound defensive end at Orange (Calif.) Lutheran, Lucier-South’s recruitment has already hit a national level as a junior. Lucier-South boasts offers from Oregon, USC, UCLA, Tennessee and Texas among others. He’s also been hearing from other major programs including Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Clemson, Florida State and Michigan.

The four-star prospect already has made unofficial visits to USC and UCLA but plans to make other trips extending into next summer.

“I really want to see if I fit there at the school, if it fits my personality,” Lucier-South said. “Most importantly, I want to look at academics because that's the first thing in my college decision.”

Lucier-South ranks as the No. 6 weakside defensive end and No. 57 overall in the 2015 class, according to 247Sports.

Snoop Dogg and Notre Dame?

The California love from Notre Dame extended to the son of famed West Coast rapper Snoop Dogg last week.

On Thursday, Diamond Bar head coach Ryan Maine broke the news on Twitter, reporting a Notre Dame offer for his junior wide receiver, Cordell Broadus.

The 6-foot-2, 186-pound Broadus ranks as a four-star prospect with double-digit offers. 247Sports slates him as the No. 4 wide receiver and No. 64 overall in the 2015 class.

Broadus recently named USC, UCLA, California and Oregon as his top four in an interview with 247Sports. He recently made headlines following USC’s firing of Lane Kiffin, asserting that he should have been fired sooner. Broadus’ father has long been known as a USC fan.

“I got a lot of respect for coach Lane Kiffin and the rest of the USC coaching staff, but he wasn't leading the team in the right direction,” Broadus tweeted on Sept. 30.

Hitting the road

The Irish coaching staff took advantage of its bye week by making recruiting trips across the country to see top prospects and verbally committed recruits.

Head coach Brian Kelly even showed off his ride, a helicopter, on his Twitter account. Senior linebacker target Nyles Morgan of Crete, Ill., reported a visit from Kelly and offensive coordinator Chuck Martin on Thursday.

Prospects across the country reported visits from members of the coaching staff throughout the week. Here are some of the reported stops for the Irish coaching staff:

Tony Alford – St. Thomas Aquinas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (2014 WR commit Corey Holmes); IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla. (2014 RB target Bo Scarbrough).

Scott Booker – Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy, McDonough, Ga. (2014 DE/OLB target Andrew Williams); Thomas County Central, Thomasville, Ga. (2015 DE target Austin Bryant).

Kerry Cooks – The Colony, Texas (2014 DE/OLB commit Grant Blankenship); Gladewater, Texas (2015 DT target Daylon Mack); Sulphur Springs, Texas (2015 athlete target Larry Pryor); Poteet, Mesquite, Texas (2015 LB target Malik Jefferson).

Mike Denbrock – Junipero Serra, Gardena, Calif. (2014 athlete target Adoree Jackson, 2015 DL target Rasheem Green); Crespi, Encino, Calif. (2015 DB target Marvell Tell).

Bob Diaco – St. Peter’s Prep, Jersey City, N.J. (2015 CB target Minkah Fitzpatrick).

Bob Elliott – John Hardin, Elizabethtown, Ky. (2014 DT target Matt Elam); Parkway Central, Chesterfield, Mo. (2014 DE/OLB commit Jonathan Bonner).

Mike Elston – Carroll, Fort Wayne, Ind. (2014 S/LB target Drue Tranquill); St. Xavier, Cincinnati (2015 LB target Justin Hilliard).

Harry Hiestand – Montgomery Bell Academy, Nashville, Tenn. (2014 OL commit Alex Bars).

Chuck Martin – Marist, Chicago (2014 TE commit Nic Weishar); Central Catholic, Toledo, Ohio (2014 QB commit DeShone Kizer).

Notre Dame assistand Mike Denbrock was busy recruiting the West Coast during the Irish off week. SBT photo/JAMES BROSHER