DT Elijah Taylor brings third commitment in as many days for Notre Dame football

BOB WIENEKE
South Bend Tribune

At this rate, Notre Dame's recruiting class of 2015 will be full well before the Fourth of July.

The Irish staff on Friday received another commitment, its third in as many days and fourth this week, when Cincinnati Moeller defensive lineman Elijah Taylor announced his intention.

Of the four players who have announced this week, three are interior defensive linemen as Taylor joins Brandon Tiassum of Indianapolis and Micah Dew-Treadway of Bolingbrook, Ill.

Nabbing Taylor was big in that the Irish won a head-to-head battle against Ohio State for an Ohio kid.

"This one wasn't an easy one. Ohio State certainly was very much in the picture," said 247Sports.com director of recruiting Steve Wiltfong, who pointed out that the addition of Taylor is the latest piece of success in Ohio for Irish coach Brian Kelly, who came to ND from the University of Cincinnati.

On Friday, the prize was Taylor, a 6-foot-3, 285-pound inside presence whose biggest strength would appear to be his strength. Last fall it was reported that the bench presses 350 pounds, squats 520 and dead lifts 600.

"He's college-ready," was how Moeller coach John Rodenberg described Taylor's strength. "His strength numbers are out of the roof."

And the addition of Taylor now makes the interior of the defensive line one of the strengths of what is now a 12-man class.

"Those three guys together set Notre Dame from an interior defensive line standpoint," Wiltfong said.

If, however, an elite player were interested, the Irish staff most certainly would accept him. And the guy at or near the top of ND's list, and almost everyone's, is Canadian Neville Gallimore, a 6-3, 300-pound tackle who has a slew of offers.

"Neville is a guy that I would think Notre Dame would always have room for," Wiltfong said. "He's on top of almost everyone's board."

247Sports ranks Taylor as a four-star prospect and the No. 19 defensive tackle in the 2015 class. Rivals gives Taylor three stars and has him as the No. 31 defensive tackle.

Besides Ohio State, Michigan State and Tennessee were also in the mix for Taylor.

With the rush of commitments, Notre Dame has jumped up the boards in terms of recruiting rankings. Rivals now has the Irish ranked 11th in the country, 247 has ND in the No. 12 slot.

The June surge could continue. According to Wiltfong, ND remains securely in the hunt for Lakewood (St. Edward High) four-star cornerback Shaun Crawford, who had been a Michigan commit but recently decommitted from the Wolverines. And the Irish appear to be in good position to add another player to what is expected to be a class that numbers around 20 players.

"In the very near future it's expected they're going to win another nice recruiting battle in Ohio for Crawford," Wiltfong said.

The addition of Taylor, who could not be reached for comment, is the latest link in a chain that connects Moeller, a legendary high school program, and ND, a legendary college program.

Former Moeller linebacker Bob Crable went on to stardom at ND. Former Moeller coach Gerry Faust coached at ND from 1981-85, and Rodenberg expected that Taylor would soon be receiving a call from Faust. Former Irish quarterback Andrew Hendrix, who will play this season at Miami (Ohio), played for Rodenberg and then spent four seasons with the Irish before deciding to finish his career with the RedHawks

"Notre Dame and Moeller are sort of linked," Rodenberg said. "I'm sure it'll be a great situation for (Taylor)."

Watch highlights of Taylor here.

Defensive tackle, Elijah Taylor, top center, committed to Notre Dame on Friday. SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN