Notre Dame visit pays off for LB Te'von Coney


South Bend Tribune

Te’von Coney didn’t hesitate when asked how to rank Notre Dame against other schools recruiting him.

“They sit at the top,” the 2015 linebacker target said following his Irish Invasion visit.

The Irish made a strong impression on the four-star prospect, who has Notre Dame and Florida tied as the leaders in his recruitment. The 6-foot-1, 220-pounder from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., made his first visit to South Bend last weekend.

“I didn't really know much about Notre Dame,” Coney said. “I just knew it was a great school. When I finally got a chance to go up there and see how it really was, it was a good turnout.”

Coney didn’t compete in Friday’s workout, but he circled nearby while watching Notre Dame defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder and outside linebackers coach Bob Elliott instruct his position group.

"I loved the coaches. The coaching was great,” Coney said. “Coach VanGorder and Coach Elliott got the linebackers better that day. I saw a lot of guys learning. There was great intensity from the coaches."

Listed as an inside linebacker by most recruiting services, Coney said he was pitched the role of the will outside linebacker at Notre Dame. Rivals ranks him as the No. 9 inside linebacker prospect in the 2015 class. 247Sports slates him No. 11 at the position.

“They're an aggressive style of defense now, so I think that's a fit for me because that's the type of linebacker I am,” Coney said. “I think Notre Dame's defense would fit me well."

Coney spent time talking to a trio of current Notre Dame sophomores — running backs Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston and linebacker Jaylon Smith. Bryant and Folston addressed the transition from high school in Florida to college in Indiana. Smith weighed in on the coaching staff and the defense.

Coney plans to visit Ohio State, Tennessee and Auburn in July. By the time August arrives, he will start to decide which schools will get an official visit. Notre Dame, with the talent it gathered for Friday’s camp, made its move as a serious contender for his signature come February.

"It was great,” Coney said. “It lets you know that they're trying to build a good 2015 class that can come in and try to help win a national championship."

DE Bryant impressed

Austin Bryant arrived at Notre Dame on Friday with little expectations. The four-star defensive end prospect only knew about the reputation associated with Notre Dame.

"I didn't anticipate anything,” Bryant said. “I was just anxious to see what the buzz was about at Notre Dame. I wanted to see why it's one of top colleges in America."

He left Saturday with a better understanding.

“I liked it a lot — really nice campus, good coaches, good player-coach relationships and just a good place overall,” Bryant said.

The only 2015 target to participate in the Invasion Friday’s camp, the 6-4, 246-pounder came to prove himself and compete against some of Notre Dame’s top offensive line recruits rather than just watch.

Bryant stood out as the best defensive lineman on hand. He made sure that the trip from Thomasville, Ga., was worth his time.

"It was great. There were a lot of top guys out there,” Bryant said. “I got a chance to compete and polished up for The Opening. It was a chance to have fun and get to be with some of the other guys."

Rivals ranks Bryant as the No. 12 strongside defensive end in the 2015 class and No. 143 regardless of position. 247Sports slates him as the No. 10 weakside defensive end and No. 168 overall.

Bryant was often matched up against offensive tackle commit Jerry Tillery in one-on-ones.

"He's good. Everybody that was up there was good,” Bryant said. "It was fun competing against him.”

Top lists and immediate plans aren’t concrete in Bryant’s mind. He’s still feeling out the recruiting process with no self-enforced deadline for a commitment. He will remain in touch with tight ends coach Scott Booker, who recruits in the state of Georgia for the Irish.

"We have a good relationship,” Bryant said. “We talk just about every week. It was good to see him at Notre Dame and not just seeing him at Thomas County Central High School."

New offers

Notre Dame continued to host prospects for camps and visits to start the week. A few more offers were reportedly extended by the Irish staff.

•OL Josh Myers, 6-5, 275; Miamisburg (Ohio) High: A 2017 prospect, Myers reported an offer from the Irish following a camp on Monday. Months before he starts his sophomore year, Myers already holds more than a dozen offers including Michigan, Ohio State, Florida and Penn State.

•WR Austin Mack, 6-2, 205; Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers: A 2016 prospect, Mack reported an offer from the Irish following a visit on Tuesday. His recruiting profile has escalated in June with offers from Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame. He caught 57 passes for 805 yards and three touchdowns as a sophomore at the same high school as Irish star linebacker Jaylon Smith. 247Sports slates Mack as a four-star prospect, the No. 23 wide receiver, No. 120 overall and the top recruit in Indiana for 2016.

•OL Ben Bredeson, 6-4, 270; Hartland (Wis.) Arrowhead: A 2016 prospect, Bredeson reported an offer from the Irish on Wednesday after a Tuesday visit. Bredeson has already become a hot commodity in the Big Ten with offers from Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska and Rutgers. 247Sports slates Bredeson as a four-star prospect, the No. 7 offensive tackle in the 2016 class and No. 20 overall.

Recent visitors

Recruits already holding offers have been a part of the numerous prospects visiting Notre Dame this week. None were as highly-touted as 2015 defensive end Bryan Cowart.

The 6-4, 250-pound target from Seffner, Fla., ranks as the No. 1 overall player in the 2015 class. He made the trip to campus Tuesday with some members of his Armwood High School team.

The Irish also hosted a pair of offered 2016 quarterbacks Tuesday — Dwayne Haskins and Jacob Eason. Haskins, a 6-2, 185-pounder from Bullis School in Potomac, Md., ranks as the No. 3 pro-style quarterback in the 2016 class according to 247Sports. Eason, a 6-5, 205-pounder from Lake Stevens, Wash., is 247Sports’ top-ranked pro-style quarterback. Eason is the son of former Irish wide receiver Tony Eason.

Notre Dame has hosted four of its top 2016 quarterback targets in a span of less than two weeks. Those four (Eason, Malik Henry, Jawon Pass and Haskins) are the four highest-rated at the position by 247Sports.

Action at WR

A pair of Notre Dame targets at the wide receiver position have flipped commitments. On Monday, John Humphrey withdrew his commitment to Baylor. On Tuesday, Alex Ofodile announced a commitment to Oregon.

Humphrey, a 5-10, 160-pound, three-star prospect from League City, Texas, previously expressed interest in Notre Dame before committing to the Bears. 247Sports slates him as the No. 35 athlete in the 2015 class. Rivals ranks him as the No. 88 wide receiver.

Ofodile, one of Notre Dame’s top targets at the position, last visited the Irish for the Blue-Gold Game in April. The four-star prospect from Columbia, Mo., didn’t make a scheduled summer trip to Notre Dame. 247Sports slates him as the No. 10 wide receiver in the 2015 class. Rivals ranks him No. 12 at the position. | 574-235-6214 | Twitter: @TJamesNDI

2015 linebacker target Tevon Coney during Irish Invasion football camp on Friday, June 20, 2014, at Notre Dame. (SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)
2015 defensive end target Austin Bryant during Irish Invasion football camp on Friday, June 20, 2014, at Notre Dame. (SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)