Not a lot of room left in Notre Dame's 2015 recruiting class
The bus is close to full, but a few more seats remain in Notre Dame football’s 2015 recruiting class.
The on-field success of the 2014 season accelerated the class in the last month. After an end-of-summer lull, the Irish have added four October commitments to the class. The group currently contains 21 pledges with room for an estimated maximum of 24 or 25 depending on postseason attrition of potential fifth-year players, transfers and medical hardships.
Here’s how the remaining spots could be filled for Notre Dame by the time February’s signing day rolls around:
• One running back: The Irish set out to land two running backs in the 2015 class after getting zero in the previous class. Josh Adams filled half of the quota when he committed in June and has excelled in his senior season. The search for another running back has netted three official visitors to date: Soso Jamabo, Nick Brossette and Cameron Scarlett.
Jamabo, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound back at Plano (Texas) West, appears to be at the top of Notre Dame’s list. His June visit made the Irish serious contenders and September official visit pushed Notre Dame to perceived frontrunner. But competition for Jamabo remains stiff. He made a recent official visit to UCLA and received an offer from Ole Miss earlier this week.
Brossette, a 6-foot, 207-pound LSU commit, visited for Notre Dame’s tight victory over North Carolina. He remains committed to the Tigers but is looking at other options with LSU’s heavy running back haul in the 2015 class. Brossette, who plays in LSU’s backyard at University Lab in Baton Rouge, also plans to use an official visit to Texas.
Scarlett, a 6-1, 210-pound back at Portland (Ore.) Central Catholic, also visited for Notre Dame’s game against North Carolina. The Irish were placed in a five-team race for Scarlett alongside Stanford, Oregon, UCLA and Washington.
Jamabo seems to be the preferred option to pair with Adams, but Brossette and Scarlett would serve as good complements to the Irish backfield as well. Nebraska commit Kendall Bussey and former Miami commit Jordan Cronkrite could emerge as secondary options to fill the last running back spot for Notre Dame.
• One wide receiver: The Irish haven’t sat still with three wide receiver pledges already in the class. The coaching staff continues to target one more receiver with size to join Miles Boykin, C.J. Sanders and Jalen Guyton.
At the top of the list stands Equanimeous St. Brown, a 6-5, 200-pound recruit at Anaheim (Calif.) Servite, who visited Notre Dame for its game against Stanford. UCLA, USC and Stanford are also in the mix for St. Brown. Utah could be another school to watch after the Utes reportedly extended offers to St. Brown’s younger brothers in the 2017 and 2018 classes.
The Irish extended an offer to Lawrence Cager, a 6-5, 200-pound receiver at Towson (Md.) Calvert Hall, earlier this month. Cager could serve as a second option for the Irish if they don’t want to wait on St. Brown. Cager plans to visit Notre Dame in December.
A third name to watch would be Cordell Broadus, a 6-2, 192-pound senior at Las Vegas Bishop Gorman. The son of rapper Snoop Dogg has expressed plans to officially visit Notre Dame in December as well. The high school teammate of Irish safety commit Nicco Fertitta has shown interest in the Irish despite his father’s well-known affinity for rival USC.
• One safety: Notre Dame appeared set at the position early in the recruiting cycle with commitments from Fertitta and Prentice McKinney. Then when junior safety Nicky Baratti suffered another season-ending shoulder injury in September, the Irish coaching staff started to extend more offers to safeties.
Casting a wider net already resulted in visits from Frank Buncom IV and Calvin Brewton, and new offers to Rashad Roundtree and Hunter Dale could also be possibilities for the Irish. Grabbing a third safety in the class would provide Notre Dame with needed depth in 2015.
Roundtree, a five-star safety according to Rivals, may be the most talented of the group, but it’s too early to gauge the interest level of the 6-0, 189-pound prospect following an offer earlier this month.
Buncom, a 6-1, 187-pound athlete at St. Augustine in San Diego, seems to be the best fit for Notre Dame. The academically-focused student had Duke, Vanderbilt, Stanford, UCLA and Oklahoma on his short list before making an official visit to South Bend for the Stanford game. The Irish emerged as legitimate contenders following the visit.
Brewton, a 6-0, 175-pound Florida State commit, also visited for the Stanford game. Flipping the Miami Central product from the Seminoles would be an impressive feat for recruiting coordinator Tony Alford.
Dale, a 5-11, 195-pound safety at River Ridge (La.) John Curtis, teams with recent Irish defensive end commit Bo Wallace. Dale, whose godfather is former ND tight end Irv Smith, hopes to visit after his season ends.
• Best available: Some players are too good to pass up on. If Notre Dame’s recruiting class grows to 25, it will likely be because the coaching staff couldn’t say no to a talented recruit. Those are the tough decisions that head coach Brian Kelly may face.
Iman Marshall, the nation’s top cornerback, and Alize Jones, the nation’s top tight end, have both expressed interest in Notre Dame. Jones, a UCLA commit, visited South Bend in September with Fertitta, his high school teammate.
Cornerback Ykili Ross, a four-star prospect, is slated for a November trip to Notre Dame. Ross previously visited South Bend in June.
Elite defensive linemen always seem to be a need for Notre Dame. If defensive tackles Christian Wilkins and Neville Gallimore or defensive ends Joseph Wicker, Porter Gustin and Mekhi Brown wanted to join the class, the Irish would be forced into tough decisions.
There won’t be room for many of them, so Notre Dame might have to close the door on some. When the bus is filled, the Irish could be in line for a top 10 recruiting class nationally.