Notre Dame making moves in running back recruiting
Like a good running back, Notre Dame is keeping its feet moving on the recruiting trail.
The Irish are off to a strong start recruiting running backs in the 2015 class, but refuse to remain idle at the position. This weekend, Notre Dame will host a pair of top running back targets for official visits: Cameron Scarlett and LSU commit Nick Brossette.
Scarlett, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound back at Portland (Ore.) Central Catholic, in July named the Irish in a top five that also includes Stanford, Oregon, UCLA and Washington. He will get his first look at Notre Dame this weekend.
“Scarlett’s the best player in Oregon,” said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. “He can do it all. He has great size and leg strength, good vision and excellent balance as a runner.”
Scarlett has speed too. He’s recorded times of 10.9 seconds in the 100-meter dash. Rivals rates Scarlett as a four-star prospect and the No. 8 all-purpose back in the 2015 class. 247Sports slates him as a three-star recruit and the No. 72 athlete in the class.
A hamstring injury has sidelined Scarlett for part of his senior season. In three games, Scarlett rushed for 210 yards and two touchdowns.
Brossette, a 6-foot, 207-pound back at University Lab in Baton Rouge, La., has been committed to the hometown Tigers since August 2013. The four-star prospect will visit Notre Dame with his older brother this weekend.
“Notre Dame's always been a school that he's wanted to visit, so he's finally getting a chance to look at Notre Dame,” said 247Sports director of recruiting Steve Wiltfong. “Notre Dame's been a school at the top of the list during the process, but for most of that process he's also been committed to LSU. LSU has a couple running backs committed. We'll see what kind of time Nick has in South Bend.”
247Sports slates Brossette as the No. 17 running back in the 2015 class. Rivals ranks him No. 24 at the position. He rushed for 2,188 yards and scored 37 touchdowns last season as a junior.
“He brings good size, decent speed, and great vision, balance and power as a running back,” Lemming said.
The two visiting running backs represent more options for the Irish to fill a second spot at the position in the 2015 recruiting class. Notre Dame in June landed running back Josh Adams to anchor the class. The 6-2, 210-pound back has proven himself healthy and productive as a senior. After missing most of his junior season with a torn ACL, Adams has rushed for 1,191 yards and scored 22 touchdowns in six games this year.
Adams is one of three highly-rated running backs from Pennsylvania in the 2015 class. The other two – Saquon Barkley and Andre Robinson – are committed to Penn State.
“I'm not so sure Notre Dame didn't get the best one,” Wiltfong said. “It will be interesting to see how these guys develop in their college years. It wouldn't be surprising for Josh to be the most productive one on the next level. He’s such a versatile player.”
The most likely running back to join Adams at Notre Dame currently is four-star prospect Soso Jamabo. The 6-3, 200-pound star at Plano (Texas) West has produced similar numbers to Adams in his senior season: 1,091 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns.
Jamabo made an official visit to Notre Dame in September for the win over Michigan. The Irish appear to be the team to beat.
“He has great size and great potential,” Lemming said. “If you watch him on film, he has terrific balance for a tall kid. He has real good speed, moves and burst. He has what they need."
Wiltfong said an upcoming visit to UCLA and recent interest from Texas A&M could be the only roadblocks holding Jamabo back from a final decision.
"If they got Soso, I think they'd be done with Soso and Josh,” Wiltfong said. “You never know how things will shake out until February, but I think Notre Dame would be quite comfortable being done with those two."
Notre Dame is wisely keeping its options open by bringing in Scarlett and Brossette. The Irish could still choose to take more than two running backs in the class. With sophomores Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston as the only running backs set to return to Notre Dame in 2015, there’s plenty of room on the depth chart.
"Soso's still their No. 1 guy, but both of these guys are not slouches,” Lemming said. “These are big-time guys."
The following recruits are expected to visit Notre Dame for Saturday's game against North Carolina. All three 2015 targets are using official visits.
RB Nick Brossette - Highlights
RB Cameron Scarlett - Highlights
DE Bo Wallace
LB Josh Barajas
WR Miles Boykin
DE Charlie Heck
LB Kier Murphy
QB Jackson Burdyshaw
DE Jacob Burton
WR Donnie Corley
TE Danny Dalton
TE Luke Farrell
QB Michael Frankl
DT Jarrod Hewitt
DB Hogan Keasler
OL Thiyo Lukusa
OL Trent Maynard
WR Wyatt Plate
TE Stephen Puhl
DB Terrance Smith
OL Turner Ruby
TE/DE Tynan Williams