Notre Dame heads north for football prospect Neville Gallimore

TYLER JAMES
South Bend Tribune

Mike Elston tweeted a photo of his passport on Tuesday.

He is no longer just a national recruiter, wrote the Notre Dame defensive line coach. He is now an international recruiter.

The reason? Canadian defensive tackle prospect Neville Gallimore.

On Tuesday, Elston visited Canada Prep Academy in St. Catharine’s, Ontario, and met with head football coach Geoff McArthur. Elston used one of his spring evaluation trips to see Gallimore, who received an offer from the Irish.

Gallimore’s size, 6-foot-3 and 300 pounds, and highlight film (watch here) explains Notre Dame’s interest in the athletic defensive tackle. But how did the Irish discover the Ottawa native?

“Even though we're in Canada, we play a full U.S. schedule,” McArthur said. “That's help validate his ability.”

That schedule included some familiar names in 2013. In September, Canada Prep played against Poly Prep from Brooklyn, N.Y., a team that included 2014 Irish signee Jay Hayes. In November, the Canadians took on Cleveland’s St. Ignatius and another Irish signee, offensive lineman Jimmy Byrne.

Canada Prep finished its season at 2-5, but its players matched up against a handful of schools with future NCAA Division I players. The film shows how players like Gallimore stack up against top competition. In April, Gallimore won defensive line MVP at the Rivals Camp in Detroit.

Notre Dame is not alone in discovering Gallimore. This week the 2015 prospect hit 20 total offers with Notre Dame, Miami and Cincinnati joining a list that includes Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Pittsburgh.

The exposure has been aided by McArthur, who knows his way around the college football recruiting process. He starred at California, where he still holds the single-season and career receiving yards records, from 2000-04. Now the Los Angeles product is trying to get his players to the same level.

“I work really hard to get my kids' information out there,” McArthur said, “so we can spread the word and make sure that we're doing a good job on our end and working hard for the kids.”

Once discovered, Gallimore’s talent spoke for itself. He only played in five games last season, missing two, including the St. Ignatius game, with a wrist injury. Canada Prep used Gallimore as a defensive end, rarely in a three-point stance, to hold the edge and chase down plays from behind.

Gallimore doesn’t have a rating from Rivals or 247Sports, but that will likely change with all the offers coming his way.

“He's a maximum effort guy,” McArthur said. “He's always hustling, and he has freakish ability. He's 6-3, 300 pounds and runs around like a linebacker. He has gifts that you can't teach.”

The Irish, always on the search for quality defensive linemen, haven’t hesitated in crossing the border to recruit Gallimore. Now Gallimore is eyeing a trip to South Bend to check out Notre Dame’s campus. If mutual interest develops, more trips to Canada may be in store for Elston and the Notre Dame staff.

"I'm really impressed with coach Elston,” McArthur said, “and I'm definitely looking forward to building a relationship with him and Notre Dame.”

More offers for 2016 class

The Irish extended offers to a pair of 2016 wide receivers in Florida this week as recruiting coordinator Tony Alford hits the state for spring evaluation.

•WR Darnell Salomon, 6-3, 180; Hialeah (Fla.) Champagnat Catholic: Champagnat head coach Mike Tunsil reported an Irish offer for Salomon on Tuesday. Salomon caught 47 passes for 896 yards and nine touchdowns as a sophomore. Salomon holds more than a dozen offers including Alabama, LSU and Florida State.

Watch highlights of Salomon here.

•WR Nate Craig, 6-2, 198; Tampa (Fla.) Catholic: Craig reported an Irish offer Wednesday on Twitter. He caught for more than 500 receiving yards and scored 16 touchdowns in two seasons at Pasco High in Dade City before transferring to Tampa Catholic. Craig already claims 31 offers including ones from Alabama, Auburn and Florida State.

Watch highlights of Craig here.

Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Notre Dame offered Canada Prep defensive lineman Neville Gallimore, a 2015 prospect from Ottawa, Ontario, earlier this week. (Courtesy of Canada Prep/PATRICK FIFE)