Notre Dame football connecting with Core 6 recruits
Miles Boykin wanted to return to Notre Dame, and this time he will bring his training group with him.
Core 6 Athletes, a training facility in the Chicago area, will make its first trip to Notre Dame on June 14. Boykin’s interest in a return visit and the growing player connections to Notre Dame led Core 6 founder Paul Szczesny to put a plan in motion.
"Miles wanted to go back there,” Szczesny said. “He's going to be spending the night and he wanted for his teammates to join him on the visit.”
Boykin, a 6-foot-4, 212-pound wide receiver at Providence Catholic in New Lenox, Ill., visited the Irish multiple times this spring. He’s the latest Core 6 prospect with mutual interest in Notre Dame.
Incoming freshman linebackers Nyles Morgan and Niles Sykes have both worked with Core 6. Sophomore-to-be offensive lineman Colin McGovern also trained with the group. The facility has emerged as one of the best talent producers in the Midwest since its inception in 2010. A pipeline connecting the Irish to Core 6 seems natural.
“Since I've started, we've never gone to Notre Dame before,” Szczesny said. “With Morgan going there and Sykes going there, there's no better time to build a relationship than now.”
Core 6 has previously made visits to a number of Big Ten schools, including Michigan and Ohio State. Football programs outside of the Midwest are even approaching the training facility to organize visits. Szczesny reached out to Irish offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock to schedule the trip to Notre Dame.
“They'd love to have us just like any other school in the country right now,” Szczesny said. “With the guys that we've had come through our program, for us to visit a school it's kind of a big deal. People are making it a big deal because we're going to Notre Dame and we've never gone there before. Anytime you get to build a relationship with a new staff, it's always good.”
In the past, Szczesny said, the interest to make a group visit to Notre Dame hasn’t been high enough. Top prospects like wide receiver Laquon Treadwell (Ole Miss), offensive lineman Ethan Pocic and linebacker Clifton Garrett (LSU), tight end Ian Bunting (Michigan), offensive lineman Jamarco Jones (Ohio State) and center Brian Allen (Michigan State) chose to pursue different programs than Notre Dame.
A group visit with Sykes and Morgan never materialized in part because Sykes didn’t receive an offer from Notre Dame until after his senior season. Szczesny said the group visits are a good complement to trips made by a recruit with his parents.
“I think it's good to have it both ways,’’ he said. “It's important to get the parents on campus with an athlete, which a lot of our guys do. We do a lot of our team trips too. The great thing about our guys is they spend so much time together in the offseason, they build these relationships and it's a great experience for them to get to share that visit.”
This summer, Core 6 also plans to make stops at Missouri, Penn State and Indiana. A former starting linebacker for the Hoosiers, Szczesny works to cultivate relationships with various coaching staffs across the country, but leaves the visit plans in the hands of his players.
“It's about providing opportunities for our guys to see that school if they're interested,” Szczesny said. “We always get asked, but it really just depends on where our guys want to go or where they haven't been or which school they want to see. At this point, we have a pretty good relationship with a majority of the coaches across the country. Any time we get to go and visit these guys, it's always a great opportunity."
The Irish have emerged as one of the leaders for Boykin. On Monday, the four-star prospect named Notre Dame in his top 10 list that also included Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Ohio State, Oregon and Virginia Tech. Rivals ranks Boykin as the No. 10 wide receiver in the 2015 class. 247Sports slates him No. 33 at the position.
Boykin’s interest in the Irish may help open a door to Core 6 that could stay ajar for a while. Szczesny will be making his first trip to campus since the 2000 game against Nebraska. A strong impression could create a stronger connection to talent in the region.
"I'm excited to get out there,” Szczesny said. “I think Nile Sykes and Nyles Morgan are going to be special players at Notre Dame. It's just the perfect time for us to go over there, build that relationship and possibly make that a yearly stop for us.”
Developments at defensive back
Notre Dame is trending in opposite directions with a pair of defensive back targets in the 2015 class. On Saturday, cornerbacks Shaun Crawford and Tarvarus McFadden released the good and bad news for the Irish.
Crawford, a recent Notre Dame visitor, announced on Twitter that he no longer holds a verbal commitment with Michigan. The 5-9, 175-pound junior at St. Edward in Lakewood, Ohio, originally committed to the Wolverines last August. Now with his recent visit to Notre Dame and a planned visit to Ohio State, the four-star prospect is a free agent.
Rivals ranks Crawford as the No. 13 cornerback in the 2015 class and No. 111 overall. 247Sports slates him as the No. 15 cornerback and No. 151 overall.
McFadden, a 6-3, 195-pound junior at American Heritage in Plantation, Fla., announced a top list of nine schools that didn’t include Notre Dame. His list featured Florida State, LSU, Georgia, Ohio State, Alabama, Auburn, Central Florida, Clemson and USC.
Rivals ranks McFadden as a five-star prospect, the No. 4 cornerback and No. 21 overall in the 2015 class. 247Sports slates him as a four-star recruit, the No. 5 cornerback and No. 45 overall.
State for Sanders
In his last sporting event before moving to California for his senior year, C.J. Sanders took home a pair of state titles.
Sanders, a 2015 wide receiver commit to Notre Dame, won the 100- and 200-meter races in Friday’s Division II state championships meet in Murfreesboro, Tenn. He logged a time of 10.76 seconds in the 100 and 21.88 in the 200.
“I wanted to leave my mark,” Sanders told The Tennessean. “That was my goal, and I’m glad I did it.”
Sanders will transfer this summer from Brentwood Academy to Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame. He will make the move with his family June 1.
Tyler James: 574-235-6214