Notre Dame set for weekend recruiting visitors to start final stretch
With the NCAA-mandated dead period having recently expired, Notre Dame can now host football recruits for the first time in more than a month. The Irish have little time to waste before the Feb. 4 national signing day.
Notre Dame will host four recruits this weekend at the two biggest positions of need remaining: running back and defensive back. In addition, safety commit Mykelti Williams and defensive tackle commit Elijah Taylor are also expected to make official visits.
The Irish continue to push for a second running back to join Pennsylvania prospect Josh Adams in the 2015 class. Both Dexter Williams and Ke’Shawn Vaughn will have an opportunity to fill that hole.
At safety, Notre Dame already secured verbal commitments from Prentice McKinney, Nicco Fertitta and Williams. But the Irish are still working on landing another recruit at the position. One of the other two weekend visitors, Nate Meadors and Jalen Julius, may be the answer there.
The fates of the four uncommitted visitors coming to South Bend this weekend will in part dictate the final outcome of Notre Dame’s 2015 class.
• RB Dexter Williams, 5-11, 195; Winter Garden (Fla.) West Orange: The four-star prospect tried to visit Notre Dame in November, but Williams fractured his foot in a game the night before the trip. He will finally make it to South Bend this weekend.
“I think Louisville is the team to beat, but Notre Dame is certainly going to have a chance to open some eyes for Dexter,” said 247Sports director of recruiting Steve Wiltfong. “They need a guy like Dexter Williams. Two backs has been a priority for the entire recruiting process. Dexter and Josh Adams would be a great combination."
Williams visited Miami, where he was once committed, and Louisville in December. Next weekend, Williams plans to visit Texas A&M. A commitment decision should come sometime before signing day.
“There are exceptional running backs in Florida this year, so he might have gotten lost in the shuffle. But he's a very good, solid back,” said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. “He runs hard. He's quick through the hole, and he's a legit four-star guy.
Both 247Sports and Rivals peg Williams as the No. 13 running back nationally in the 2015 class. Rivals ranks him No. 114 regardless of position. 247Sports slates him No. 129 overall.
Below are senior highlights of Williams, via Hudl. Williams previews visit here ($).
• RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn, 5-10, 210; Nashville (Tenn.) Pearl-Cohn: The weekend visit comes a little more than a month after the Irish extended an offer to the four-star prospect.
He chose to fit Notre Dame into a busy schedule for January.
After visiting Notre Dame, Vaughn plans to make weekend visits to West Virginia and Illinois to close out the month. He has already used official visits to Purdue and Louisville.
“Notre Dame has a chance, like with Dexter, to really make an impression this weekend,” Wiltfong said. When you look at the offers that Ke'Shawn Vaughn has, Notre Dame would traditionally do very well against those schools.”
Vaughn rushed for 2,664 yards and 41 touchdowns as a senior. 247Sports slates him as the No. 21 running back in the class. Rivals ranks him No. 31 at the position.
“I'm even more impressed with Ke'Shawn Vaughn,” Lemming said, comparing him to Williams. “I saw him play this year. He's small, but he's very powerful. He's a back that could become a star in college. He's perfect for Notre Dame's style of offense."
Below are senior highlights of Vaughn, via Hudl. Vaughn previews his visit here ($).
• S Nate Meadors, 6-1, 194; San Bernardino (Calif.) San Gorgonio: Notre Dame’s fluid situation at safety led to an offer to Meadors in November. The Irish landed Williams in December but will take a chance at another safety when they host the three-star prospect.
“I like him. He's a good, solid, rangy safety,” Lemming said. “He's not an impact guy but a good guy that fits perfectly in the system when you're looking to build depth. He's a solid replacement.”
Most of the schools chasing Meadors are on the West Coast. Visits to Boise State and California have already taken place. He will finish the month with a visit to UCLA, considered by most to be the favorite to land Meadors.
“What's had Nate climbing on Notre Dame's board is how well he runs,” Wiltfong said. “Although he isn't big as some of the other safeties nationally, this is a young man that's not afraid to hit somebody and be physical."
247Sports slates Meadors as the No. 47 "athlete" in the class. Rivals does not have a position ranking for him.
Below are senior highlights of Meadors, via Hudl.
• DB Jalen Julius, 5-10, 170; Winter Garden (Fla.) West Orange: Notre Dame’s recruitment of Julius has yet to pick up much steam. Whether the Irish have formally offered Julius remains unclear. What is clear is that Dexter Williams and Julius, high school teammates, have expressed an interest in playing together in college.
“Dexter and Julius have talked about going to the same school and generally I don't give much credence to the package deal, but this may carry a little more weight than normal,” Wiltfong said. “Notre Dame will want to make a huge impression on him as well.”
Julius, a three-star recruit, played a lot of running back at West Orange but has been projected as both a wide receiver and defensive back in college. Rivals, who lists a top five of Florida, Louisville Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio State for Julius, ranks him as the No. 26 "athlete" in the class. 247Sports slates him No. 102 at cornerback.
"He's a guy that's seen his stock rise late in the process,” Wiltfong said. “Some schools have him as a take no matter what. He's a good football player.”
Below are senior highlights of Julius, via Hudl.
email@example.com | 574-235-6214 | Twitter: @TJamesNDI