Another big recruiting weekend on tap for Notre Dame

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Less than a month after its biggest recruiting weekend of the season, Notre Dame will host another star-studded crop of recruits for Saturday’s game against Stanford.

Notre Dame’s recruiting weekend for the Michigan game set the tone for the season, and the list of prospects expected on campus this weekend serves as a strong follow-up. More than 30 recruits are scheduled to visit over the weekend, and the group is headlined by four senior recruits making official visits.

“You have some guys coming in that Notre Dame's in the thick of it for,” said 247Sports director of recruiting Steve Wiltfong. “None of these guys are in a hurry to make a final decision, so Notre Dame's going to get an opportunity to make a statement here, make a move, become the leader, etc., with several of these guys. It's going to be a great atmosphere at what's going to be one of the weekend's best football games."

Notre Dame’s visitors will also be well represented in the 2016 class. Four of Notre Dame’s top targets in that class — tight end Jake Hausmann, offensive lineman Tommy Kraemer, wide receiver Austin Mack and defensive end Auston Robertson — will be returning to campus after a previous visit for the Michigan game. The early interest should bode well for the Irish.

“If they're coming back for a second trip, that's a real good sign,” said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. “Hausmann's one of the top tight ends in the country. Kraemer's one of the top offensive tackles in the country. Austin Mack is one of the top wide receivers. And Robertson's a pretty good player.”

With the help of Wiltfong and Lemming, here’s a breakdown of the four senior recruits making official visits to Notre Dame:

• WR Equanimeous St. Brown, 6-5, 200; Anaheim (Calif.) Servite: The tall wide receiver target will be making his second visit to Notre Dame. A trip to South Bend in June convinced St. Brown that a return trip would be worth his time. St Brown could be the answer in Notre Dame’s search for a second big receiver in the 2015 class.

"He's a muscular, 6-5, 200-pound guy,” Lemming said. “His dad, John, was a former body builder and Mr. Universe. He's big-time. If they can pair him with Miles Boykin, they would have two really big receivers who can catch just about anything."

The Irish have emerged as legitimate contenders to land St. Brown against the West Coast trio of USC, UCLA and Stanford.

"Notre Dame has long been one of the favorites for the Top 100 receiver out of Anaheim,” Wiltfong said. “Getting him and his family back, you already like where Notre Dame stands coming in. We'll see what happens with that.”

Rivals: 4-star, No. 11 wide receiver. 247Sports: 3-star, No. 53 wide receiver.

St. Brown previews his visit. Highlights.

• S Frank Buncom IV, 6-1, 187; San Diego St. Augustine: The four-star prospect will visit Notre Dame just two weeks after receiving an offer from the Irish. An academically-inclined student, Buncom hopes to study neurology in college. Saturday’s game will be a matchup of two of Buncom’s top schools.  He’s also considering Duke, Vanderbilt, Oklahoma and UCLA.

"Stanford's the team to beat, so Notre Dame's got a chance to make a statement this weekend,” Wiltfong said. “Frank fits Notre Dame, and Notre Dame fits Frank. He's going to have a great visit. He's very interested in Notre Dame and has been speaking about Notre Dame since the summer. There's no question he's excited to get to South Bend and see what it's about."

Buncom’s versatility has schools recruiting him at cornerback, safety and wide receiver. For the Irish, Buncom projects as a safety first.

"He's another real good safety that can run and hit,” Lemming said. “He's been in my magazine for three years now. He has good range and quickly diagnoses plays from the secondary.”

247Sports: 4-star, No. 11 cornerback. Rivals: 4-star, No. 14 cornerback.

Buncom previews visit.Highlights.

• DE Mekhi Brown, 6-5, 230; Columbus (Ga.) Culver: A June visit to Notre Dame resulted in an offer for Brown. It also sparked enough interest to get Brown, an Alabama commitment since April 2013, back on campus this weekend.

"Mekhi Brown absolutely loved Notre Dame,” Wiltfong said. “Notre Dame really opened his eyes when he visited in the offseason. Although I'm nowhere close to predicting that he'll flip from Alabama, Notre Dame is No. 2 coming into the weekend. It's another opportunity for them to show him something that's drastically different than Alabama. Maybe it's something that Mekhi Brown will get turned on to."

Notre Dame’s fortunes at defensive end have been less than promising in the 2015 class. Adding a talent like Brown could flip that.

“He's been committed to Alabama for over a year already, but he's a terrific athlete,” Lemming said. “He's one of the better athletes in the South on defense. He can play outside linebacker or grow into a defensive end. He's long-armed and quick-footed."

Rivals: 4-star, No. 3 weakside defensive end. 247Sports: 4-star, No. 5 weakside defensive end. Highlights.

• S Calvin Brewton, 6-0, 175; Miami Central: Curiosity led to Brewton booking a visit to Notre Dame despite his verbal commitment to Florida State. He will end up seeing the Irish play in person a second time when he visits Florida State for the Oct. 18 game between the two schools.

"Calvin Brewton has been a leader in Florida State's recruiting class and a guy that's helped recruit Seminoles,” Wiltfong said. “He's looking around now. He's a guy that's just a heady player that seems to always be in the right place at the right time and is a really good football player. He's giving Notre Dame a look, so we'll see."

A solid relationship with recruiting coordinator Tony Alford helped land the visit from Brewton. He becomes another option at safety, where the Irish are trying to add at least one more recruit.

“He’s one of the more versatile defensive backs in the state of Florida,” Lemming said. “He can be an impact player against the run and in coverage.”

247Sports: 3-star, No. 24 safety. Rivals: 3-star, No. 34 safety.

Brewton previews visit. | Highlights.

UPDATE:

Penn State quarterback commit Brandon Wimbush will also be visiting Notre Dame this weekend. Story here.

MORE VISITORS

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

2015 commits

RB Josh Adams*

LB Josh Barajas

CB Nick Coleman

CB Shaun Crawford

DL Micah Dew-Treadway

DT Brandon Tiassum

DT Elijah Taylor

2015 prospects

K Charlie Beall

LB Devyn Spruell

TE Sebastian Sock

2016 targets

DL Jonathon Cooper

TE Jake Hausmann

OL Tommy Kraemer

WR Austin Mack

DE Auston Robertson

2016 prospects

ATH Lamar Anderson

RB Demario McCall

WR Malik Bramley

RB Tre Bryant

WR Dez Fitzpatrick

DE Khalid Kareem

K Jacob Kubin

QB Cody Morton

DT Cody Peek

ATH Tony Poljan

WR Ben Skowronek

QB Aidan Smith

LB Ethan Tucky

RB Jack Wegher

2017 prospects

DT Jerron Cage

DE Corey Malone-Hatcher

*Recruit using an official visit to Notre Dame.

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

Senior wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown will be making his official visit to Notre Dame this weekend for the Stanford game. (Photo courtesy of Student Sports)