Notebook: Notre Dame recruits get close look at a big game

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune


SOUTH BEND — The recruits poured out of the Notre Dame Stadium tunnel early and regularly. The first group trickled onto the sidelines near the north end zone almost two hours before kickoff of Notre Dame’s game against Michigan.

By 7 p.m., the sideline was flooded with recruits, a group of nearly 50 expected, snapping photos with their phones and taking in the pregame action. Notre Dame coaches found time to head to the sidelines to chat with their prospects.

Outside linebackers coach Bob Elliott spoke with five-star defensive end recruit Porter Gustin on his official visit. And 2016 quarterback Malik Henry stuck close to 2015 offensive line commit Jerry Tillery for a while before chatting with quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur.

Four-star linebacker Te’von Coney watched as the Irish defense went through warmups. Four-star running back Soso Jamabo sported a white Notre Dame polo shirt a night after a six-touchdown performance back in Texas.

An unexpected visitor in the form of the nation’s top-ranked tight end also made the trip to South Bend. Senior tight end Alize Jones, a UCLA commit, was on the sidelines before the game with Irish safety commitment Nicco Fertitta. The two team together at Las Vegas Bishop Gorman.

The recruits finally made their way to their seats near the north end zone less than 30 minutes before kickoff. From their seats they saw four parachutists drop onto the field. The one toting a Notre Dame flag made the cleanest landing, only fitting on a perfect night to host recruits with the South Bend weather cooperating.

Here’s a look at some tweets from recruits in town on their visits:

• 2015 K commit Justin Yoon (@jkicker19): “Already stuck in traffic 3 miles from Notre Dame, not even 7:30 pm yet”

• 2015 WR commit Miles Boykin (@MBoykin814): “ND MICHIGAN GAME GUNNA BE SO LIVE TONIGHT!”

• 2016 DE target Josh King ( @MagicMan_HSHS): “I'm so ready to see this game tonight!”

• 2015 RB target Soso Jamabo (@Soso_Jamabo1): “Loving Notre Dame...GO IRISH”

• 2016 LB prospect Ethan Tucky (@akaEthanTucky): “So excited to be at the Notre dame game tonight with my boy Sam belch. Beautiful night for some great football #GoIrish”

• 2016 DE target Auston Robertson (@auston_robertsn): “Opportunity to meet Tim Brown”

• 2015 OL commit Jerry Tillery (@JerryTillery): “There's magic in the night. #michvsnd”

• 2015 DT commit Brandon Tiassum (@tiassum): "Greatest game ever Notre Dame showed out 31-0 #IrishNation"

• 2015 CB commit Nick Coleman (@NDotCole_24): "Most fun I've had at a college football game in a while"

Jamabo runs wild

Senior running back Soso Jamabo had some work to do before making his official visit Saturday. He took care of business on Friday night with 484 rushing yards and six touchdowns, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Jamabo’s Plano (Texas) West squad finished with a 63-49 victory over Sachse on the shoulders of its four-star running back. His night started slowly with six carries for only six yards in the first quarter. Then Jamabo took over. His longest touchdown of the night came from 92 yards out.

Watch highlights of Jamabo's night here.

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound running back is visiting Notre Dame this weekend for the second time. Rivals ranks Jamabo as the No. 5 running back in the 2015 class. 247Sports slates him No. 12 at the position.

Mail messages

Notre Dame unleashed its most recent recruiting mailing strategy this week. With NCAA football programs allowed to send recruiting materials to members of the junior class starting Sept. 1, the Irish targeted some of the top recruits in the 2016 class with some heavy mail persuasion.

Each of the top recruits were sent 129 pieces of mail to represent the 129th recruiting class in Notre Dame football history. The strategy received a Twitter hashtag, #NDSS16. Translation: Notre Dame Shamrock Selection 2016. The mailings included the note, “You are not an option. You are our priority.”

Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers wide receiver Austin Mack became the first recruit to mention his over-stuffed mailbox Friday on Twitter. Many of Notre Dame’s top 2016 recruits should receive their envelopes in the coming days.

Notre Dame took mass mailings to a new level in the last recruiting cycle. Top recruits in the 2014 class received 477 letters to represent Notre Dame’s NFL Draft picks. Freshman linebacker Nyles Morgan was one of the recruits to receive last year’s package.

Top 10 for Pass

An elite quarterback prospect from SEC country has his eyes on the Irish. Junior quarterback Jawon Pass of Columbus, Ga., released a top 10 on Saturday that included Notre Dame.

The 6-5, 225-pound Pass, who visited South Bend in June, named Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Louisville, Ohio State, Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, Florida, North Carolina and Notre Dame in his top group. 247Sports slates Pass as the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in the 2016 class. Rivals ranks him No. 3 at the position.

The Irish also hosted a pair of 2016 quarterbacks — four-star Shea Patterson and five-star Malik Henry — on visits this weekend. Early progress in the 2016 class at quarterback holds added importance for the Irish, who don’t have a commitment at the position for 2015. | 574-235-6214 | Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly runs out of the tunnel with his team before the Notre Dame-Michigan game on Sunday, Sept. 6, 2014, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend. SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN