Recruiting talent flocking to South Bend for Notre Dame vs. Michigan

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

In recruiting, buzz can be manufactured. On Saturday night, Notre Dame won’t need to worry about manufacturing anything.

The hype is in the game: Notre Dame vs. Michigan with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff and the abrupt end of a storied rivalry. That’s why the Irish coaching staff invited a number of top recruiting targets to visit campus for Saturday’s game.

“It's going to be an electric atmosphere,” said 247Sports director of recruiting Steve Wiltfong. “Notre Dame's coaching staff has put a lot of effort into this weekend from a recruiting standpoint. I expect these kids to see all the bells and whistles Notre Dame can offer, especially the young men taking official visits.”

The night game allows more time during the day for recruits to visit every corner of campus before settling into a seat inside Notre Dame Stadium. Plenty of prospects are taking up the Irish on the opportunity. From top targets in the 2015 class to interested recruits in the 2017 class, Notre Dame will host a wide spectrum of players.

“Notre Dame's bringing in good potential difference-makers in the class of 2015 and 2016,” Wiltfong said. “They're bringing in key targets — for them top of the board guys. There's not much to not like when talking about the list that's coming in."

Here’s a breakdown of the players holding offers expected on campus:

2015 TARGETS

LB Te’von Coney, 6-1, 220; Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) High: Coney makes his first return to Notre Dame since his June visit for the Irish Invasion. Notre Dame made enough of an impression to push itself into the top three with Florida and Miami. Adding Coney would bring physicality and toughness to the inside linebacker position.

“This is a guy that Notre Dame's going to want to lock up during the visit or shortly after,” Wiltfong said. “They're going to really have a battle on their hands with Florida moving forward. But Notre Dame comes into this in the top two."

247Sports ranking: 4-star, No. 11 ILB. Rivals ranking: 4-star, No. 11 LB. Highlights.

DE Porter Gustin, 6-5, 237; Salem (Utah) Hills: Not many visitors on Saturday will be able to match the combination of size and athleticism that Gustin offers. With USC as the perceived front-runner, Notre Dame will work to establish itself as a legitimate contender this weekend.

“He's one of my favorite players in the country overall,” Wiltfong said. “He's a fantastic prospect. He could be a linebacker, defensive end, be a guy that grows into playing across the front.”

247Sports ranking: Five-star, No. 4 OLB. Rivals ranking: Four-star, No. 9 OLB. Highlights.

Soso Jamabo, 6-3, 200; Plano (Texas) West: A week after starting his season with a five-touchdown performance, Jamabo returns to Notre Dame for the first time since a June visit. The Irish have placed themselves in a strong position, with UCLA also emerging as a contender for Jamabo.

"I think Notre Dame comes into the weekend as the team to beat,” Wiltfong said. “(Running backs coach) Tony Alford has been very active in recruiting the nation's No. 3 running back according to 247Sports Composite rankings.”

247Sports ranking: Four-star, No. 12 RB. Rivals ranking: Four-star, No. 5 running back. Highlights.

2016 TARGETS

OL Ben Bredeson, 6-4, 270; Hartland (Wisc.) Arrowhead: "I think Notre Dame's in the top three for Ben,” Wiltfong said. “Michigan and Wisconsin may be ahead coming into this visit, but this is another young man that has connected with (offensive line coach) Harry Hiestand. Notre Dame's going to be tough for him to say no to when it's all said and done."

247Sports ranking: Four-star, No. 7 OT. Rivals ranking: Four-star, No. 6 OT. Highlights.

TE Jake Hausmann, 6-5, 230; Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller: Hausmann returns for his first trip to South Bend since the Irish Invasion and plans to be back for the Stanford game in October.

"I think Notre Dame's in the top two with Ohio State coming into the visit,” Wiltfong said. “He could have easily visited Ohio State for their big game against Virginia Tech. His parents are Buckeye alums, but they're coming to Notre Dame for the big game against Michigan so that has to be a really good sign for Tight End U."

247Sports ranking: Four-star, No. 6 TE. Rivals ranking: Four-star, No. 1 TE. Highlights.

QB Malik Henry, 6-2, 174; Westlake Village (Calif.) Westlake: Florida State and Notre Dame lead the pack for Henry, who wants to decide before the end of the year. Wiltfong predicts the Irish will beat out the Seminoles.

“Malik's gotten a chance to work with (quarterbacks) coach Matt LaFluer a couple times — at the Sound Mind Sound Body camp in Detroit and then again at Notre Dame for the Irish Invasion,” Wiltfong said. “There's a trust between those two. Notre Dame not having a quarterback committed right now in 2015, I would think is something that can be used positively with Malik Henry.”

247Sports ranking: Five-star, No. 2 Pro QB. Rivals ranking: Five-star, No. 2 Pro QB. Highlights.

DE Josh King, 6-6, 250; Darien (Ill.) Hinsdale South: King met head coach Brian Kelly on a short visit in June. He’ll be back to get a better feel for Notre Dame’s campus.

“I think when it’s all said and done he’ll go to Notre Dame or a Big Ten school,” Wiltfong said. “You have Notre Dame, Michigan, Michigan State or Ohio State as four schools that I think Josh might end up at. Notre Dame’s going to have a chance to make another impression.”

247Sports ranking: Four-star, No. 3 SDE. Rivals ranking: Four-star, No. 3 SDE. Highlights.

OL Tommy Kraemer, 6-5, 308; Cincinnati Elder: The Irish sit in Kraemer’s top five with Ohio State, Boston College, Duke and Northwestern.

“Notre Dame is the team to beat coming into the weekend as well,” Wiltfong said. “Tommy's in no rush to decide. He plans to visit all his favorites at some point. I really like where Notre Dame stands with Tommy especially because of Harry Hiestand."

247Sports ranking: Four-star, No. 8 OT. Rivals ranking: Four-star, No. 3 OT. Highlights.

WR Austin Mack, 6-2, 205; Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers: Mack has visited Notre Dame a number of times in the past and will be on campus for multiple games this fall.

"I think Notre Dame's in the top three with Ohio State and Michigan,” Wiltfong said. “The Irish have typically landed who they've wanted out of Fort Wayne as of late. You have to like ND here.”

247Sports ranking: Four-star, No. 25 WR. Rivals ranking: Four-star, No. 31 WR. Highlights.

QB Shea Patterson, 6-2, 190; Shreveport (La.) Calvary Baptist: Patterson is one of a number of 2016 quarterbacks the Irish identified early in the process.

"That's another one where Notre Dame's at the top of the list for Shea along with schools like USC and LSU,” Wiltfong said. “His brother coaches at LSU. Shea's taking the process a little slower than Malik right now, but he's a guy that Notre Dame has a strong shot at."

247Sports ranking: Four-star, No. 4 Pro QB. Rivals ranking: Four-star, No. 1 Dual QB. Highlights.

DE Auston Robertson, 6-5, 234; Fort Wayne (Ind.) Wayne: Robertson will attend his first college football game on Saturday in a matchup of his two top schools.

“Guys like Auston, you don't see many of these guys year-in and year-out in the Midwest,” Wiltfong said. “ You're talking about a 6-foot-5, 234-pound pass rusher with elite athleticism. Notre Dame's coming into the visit with the lead, but Michigan is a close second. It will be interesting to see. He'll be watching both teams closely on Saturday."

247Sports ranking: Three-star, No. 20 WDE. Rivals ranking: Four-star, No. 10 WDE. Highlights.

MORE VISITORS

The following recruits are also expected to be in attendance for Saturday’s game against Michigan.

2015 Commitments

WR Miles Boykin

CB Nick Coleman

DL Micah Dew-Treadway

S Nicco Fertitta

WR Jalen Guyton*

OL Tristen Hoge*

S Prentice McKinney*

WR CJ Sanders*

DT Brandon Tiassum

OL Jerry Tillery

OL Trevor Ruhland

K Justin Yoon

*denotes official visits

2015 Prospects

ATH Brandon Hutson

OL Nick Roy

2016 Prospects

WR Dorian Banks

OL Chris Beech

OL Bryan Brokop

WR Samuel Denmark

WR Desmond Fitzpatrick

CB Lavert Hill

OL Michael Jordan

DT Marcel Minniefield

DB Isaac Morken

DL Michael Onwenu

QB Brandon Peters

WR Wyatt Plate

ATH Tony Poljan

LB David Reese

WR Emmanuel Rugamba

DE Prince Sammons

WR Ben Skowronek

QB Aidan Smith

RB Brandon Stephens

LB Ethan Tucky

2017 Prospects

DE Corey Malone-Hatcher

OL Josh Myers

WR Donovan Peoples-Jones

QB Dante Sparaco

tjames@ndinsider.com | 574-235-6214 | Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Notre Dame WR commit Miles Boykin is one of a dozen Irish commits expected to attend Saturday's game against Michigan. (Photo courtesy of Sun-Times Media)