Notre Dame catch away from elite WR recruiting class
Looking for a fresh crop of wide receivers, Notre Dame didn’t waste much time in alleviating the need in the 2015 recruiting class.
The Irish already hold commitments from a pair of talented wideouts and continue to look for more help. Both Jalen Guyton and C.J. Sanders have proven themselves as prolific pass-catchers in high school.
Now the Irish are targeting some receivers with a bit more size. Grabbing one or even two more wide receivers with different skill sets could make for a well-rounded class of potential targets for quarterbacks of the future at Notre Dame.
Here’s a look at where the Irish stand with 2015 wide receivers.
• Jalen Guyton, 6-1, 185; Allen (Texas) High: The three-star prospect became the first wide receiver in the class back in March. Guyton doesn’t jump off the board in terms of size or speed, but he’s a crisp route-runner with good hands and finds ways to get open.
As a junior, Guyton hauled in 42 passes for 1,028 yards and 13 touchdowns from Texas A&M quarterback commit Kyler Murray. Guyton helped cap off an undefeated season with four catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns in the state championship.
Guyton brings the versatility to play any of the receiver roles in Notre Dame’s spread offense. He may serve best as a No. 2 option on the outside or in the slot. Rivals ranks him as the No. 46 wide receiver in the country for 2015. 247Sports slates him No. 79.
• C.J. Sanders, 5-10, 176; Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame: The former childhood actor stepped into the Irish spotlight when he committed unexpectedly in May. In Sanders, Notre Dame may have found the slot weapon it's been looking for since Brian Kelly took over as head coach.
Sanders caught 52 passes for 734 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior at Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy. For his senior campaign, Sanders will play at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame after moving to California this summer.
The four-star prospect does his best work with the ball in his hands. Working out of the slot, the backfield or as a returner, he can break open big plays that can shift the momentum of games. Rivals ranks Sanders as the No. 37 wide receiver in the class. 247Sports slates him one spot lower at No. 38.
• Miles Boykin, 6-4, 212; New Lenox (Ill.) Providence Catholic: Notre Dame will learn Wednesday if Boykin has decided to join the fold. The Irish head into his scheduled commitment announcement as the front-runner to land the big target from the Chicago area.
Boykin has been a frequent visitor on campus with at least four trips to South Bend since February’s 2014 signing day. He made his last visit to Notre Dame in mid-June, but he made his most recent campus visit to Michigan State on Friday.
The four-star prospect could develop into a hybrid tight end, but Boykin insists Notre Dame has recruited him as a wide receiver. Rivals ranks him as the No. 10 wide receiver in the country. 247Sports slates him at No. 34.
• Equanimeous St. Brown, 6-5, 195; Anaheim (Calif.) Servite: Notre Dame returns to Servite to battle top Pac-12 programs for St. Brown. The last pass-catcher to make the leap from this Catholic school in Anaheim to Notre Dame ended up as a second-round NFL draft pick, Arizona Cardinals tight end Troy Niklas.
The Irish staff can use Niklas as a model of success, but will try to connect with St. Brown in his own way. A bright student with a big frame, St. Brown fits Notre Dame’s need.
He made an unofficial visit to South Bend in June and immediately started targeting a return trip in the form of an October official visit for the Stanford game. As a junior, the four-star prospect caught 42 passes for 725 yards and six touchdowns. 247Sports slates St. Brown as the No. 16 wide receiver in the country. Rivals ranks him No. 20 at the position.
• K.J. Hill, 6-1, 180; North Little Rock (Ark.) High: Notre Dame doesn’t recruit in Arkansas very often, but a talent like Hill’s caught the attention of the Irish coaching staff. Notre Dame offered in February, but are joined by many of the country’s top programs in pursuit of Hill.
A visit to Notre Dame has yet to happen this year as Alabama, Arkansas, Oregon and Oklahoma State surge as perceived favorites in Hill’s recruitment. The four-star prospect caught 63 passes for 1,143 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. He scored four more touchdowns on runs and returns.
247Sports slates him as the No. 14 wide receiver in the class. Rivals ranks him No. 32 at the position.
• Ryan Newsome, 5-9, 175; Aledo (Texas) High: Notre Dame received a spot in Newsome’s top five when he released it in June. An undersized player, Newsome is a smaller version of Irish commit C.J. Sanders.
Notre Dame could choose to pursue other wide receivers first but should have an idea if the interest is mutual by the time he makes an official visit this fall. Texas, Oregon, UCLA and Oklahoma were also listed in Newsome’s top group.
Newsome racked up 2,364 yards combined as a running back, receiver and returner and scored 28 touchdowns. 247Sports slates him as a four-star prospect and the No. 29 wide receiver in the country. Rivals rates him a three-star recruit and the No. 41 wide receiver.
OTHERS TO WATCH
• John Humphrey, 5-10, 160; League City (Texas) Clear Falls: Humphrey spoke highly of Notre Dame following his offer in February but ended up committing to Baylor in April. Now the three-star prospect is once again a free agent after withdrawing his pledge to Bears in June.
Another undersized speedster, Humphrey’s recruitment figures to end with one of the Big-12 schools. 247Sports slates him at No. 35 in the athlete category. Rivals ranks him No. 88 at wide receiver.
• Cordell Broadus, 6-2, 185; Las Vegas Bishop Gorman: The son of Snoop Dogg and Notre Dame — sounds like a match made in heaven, right? Plenty of bad jokes like that one would certainly be a regularity if Broadus chose the Irish.
Broadus has regularly mentioned Notre Dame as a legitimate contender in interviews, but he didn’t make the trip with teammate and ND commit Nicco Fertitta for the Irish Invasion. He will remain an unlikely prospect for the Irish unless he makes a visit this fall.
A four-star prospect, the son of Snoop has earned a football reputation on his own. He caught 60 passes for 685 yards and eight touchdowns last year at Diamond Bar (Calif.) High. 247Sports slates him as the No. 10 wide receiver in the country. Rivals ranks him No. 15 at the position.
• Malik Lovette, 5-11, 180; Redlands (Calif.) East Valley: Notre Dame’s need for Lovette, who’s in the same mold as Irish commit C.J. Sanders, might not be as high moving forward. Lovette’s slated as a wide receiver here, but some consider him a better running back prospect.
Lovette expressed mutual interest in the Irish in the past, so he’s a name to keep an eye on, depending on how Notre Dame’s class shakes out at wide receiver and running back in the fall. 247Sports slates him as the nation’s No. 5 all-purpose back. Rivals ranks him as the No. 19 running back. Both rate him as a four-star recruit.
• Stanley “Scrappy” Norman, 6-0, 180; Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra: How could this list not include a player that goes by the name “Scrappy?” Notre Dame joined the fray of national programs seeking Norman’s four-star services with an offer in April.
West Coast recruits frequently wait to use official visits to Notre Dame, and Norman could end up being one of the candidates to do so. His Irish recruitment will remain on the periphery until then. Rivals ranks Norman No. 6 in the athlete category. 247Sports slates him No. 12 at the position.
TJames1@SBTinfo.com | 574-235-6214 | Twitter: @TJamesNDI
Tuesday: Wide receivers
Wednesday: Offensive line/Tight ends
Part three in a seven-day series bringing a position-by-position analysis of Notre Dame's 2015 football recruiting efforts.