QB loss drops Notre Dame's rank

South Bend Tribune

Despite losing its quarterback commitment, Notre Dame still sits just outside the top 10 in ESPN’s newest 2015 recruiting rankings.

The Irish, at No. 13 nationally, hold verbal commitments from five recruits in ESPN’s top 300.

Offensive lineman Tristen Hoge received the highest ranking of Notre Dame’s recruits. The No. 1 center in the country, ESPN ranked him No. 131 overall regardless of position.

Notre Dame’s newest commitment, cornerback Shaun Crawford, sits just behind Hoge at No. 137 overall and the No. 12 athlete.

Two more offensive linemen, Jerry Tillery and Trevor Ruhland, landed in the top 300. Tillery ranks as No. 203 overall and the No. 18 offensive tackle. Ruhland is slated at No. 279 overall and No. 25 for offensive guards.

Wide receiver Jalen Guyton also made the list at No. 248 overall and 30th for his position.

The loss of Blake Barnett, Notre Dame’s former quarterback commit, gave the Irish a big blow in the rankings. Barnett, who gave his verbal commitment to Alabama earlier this week, is ranked higher than any Notre Dame recruit at No. 56 nationally and the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback.

Barnett’s addition to Alabama only gave the Crimson Tide a bigger lead as the No. 1 recruiting class. Sixteen of Alabama’s 19 verbal commitments are slated inside ESPN’s top 300. No other school has more than 10 recruits (Clemson) on the list.

Clemson, Texas A&M, Penn State and Auburn round out the top five recruiting classes nationally.

Invasion begins

Recruits started to arrive on Notre Dame’s campus Thursday and Friday for the Irish Invasion recruiting weekend. A number of players took to Twitter to express anxiety or excitement. Here’s a sampling:

2015 TE/LB prospect Inoke Moala, Mishawaka (Ind.) Penn: “Notre Dame football camp tomorrow... Never been so nervous before”

2016 QB prospect Logan Byrd, Kathleen (Ga.) Veterans: ND camp tonight! Cant wait to spin it in front of Coach Kelly! #Irish”

2016 LB prospect Daelin Hayes, Orchard Lake (Mich.) St. Mary’s: “Ready to invade the invasion #Irish”

2016 WR prospect Kyeler Burke, Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton: “I love ND”

DE King visits

One of the top Midwest prospects in the 2016 class visited Notre Dame on Thursday.

Defensive lineman Joshua King, a junior-to-be at Hinsdale South in Darien, Ill., made the trip to South Bend to meet head coach Brian Kelly and formalize his verbal scholarship offer from the Irish.

King tweeted a picture of himself posing with Kelly.

“So excited for this great opportunity,” King’s tweet read in part.

247Sports slates the 6-6, 245-pound King as a four-star prospect, the No. 3 strongside defensive end and No. 49 overall in the 2016 class. He’s the top-rated recruit in Illinois for his class.

TE Clark to UM

One of Notre Dame’s top tight end targets in the 2015 class committed elsewhere this week.

Chris Clark, the 6-6, 253-pound prospect from Avon, Conn., announced a verbal commitment to Michigan on Thursday.

Clark visited Notre Dame in March, but had narrowed down his top four schools to Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, North Carolina. Clark briefly pledged his commitment to UNC, before backing out and settling this week on Michigan.

A four-star prospect, Clark ranks as the No. 4 tight end and No. 146 overall nationally according to Rivals. 247Sports slates him as the No. 6 tight end and No. 191 overall. ¦ 574-235-6214 ¦ Twitter: @TJamesNDI

3. CB Shaun Crawford, 5-9, 170; Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward: Though undersized, Crawford brings the skill set of an explosive playmaker to Notre Dame's defens (Photo courtesy of Cleveland Plain Dealer/THOMAS ONDREY).