Some recruiting déja vu for Notre Dame football this weekend
A pair of names on Notre Dame’s visitors list this weekend bring back memories of the 2012 recruiting cycle.
That February, the Irish signed defensive linemen Romeo Okwara and Jarron Jones. Three years later, the Irish are hosting their younger brothers as recruits.
Defensive end Julian Okwara and outside linebacker Jamir Jones, both juniors, made the trip to South Bend to take another look at Notre Dame. Both attended Friday’s practice and are in town for the weekend.
The younger Okwara, a four-star prospect, received a scholarship offer from Notre Dame last month as his recruitment started to heat up. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Okwara has hauled in nearly 20 offers, including schools Michigan, Georgia, Clemson and Tennessee.
Like his older brother, Okwara would like to grow into a college defensive end. He reported 90 tackles and 10 sacks in his junior season at Charlotte (N.C.) Ardrey Kell. 247Sports slates Okwara as the No. 20 weakside defensive end in the 2016 class. Rivals ranks him No. 16 at outside linebacker.
The younger Jones, a three-star prospect, has yet to receive a Notre Dame offer. He played quarterback and defensive end as a junior at Rochester (N.Y.) Aquinas Institute. Most recruiting services project the 6-3, 215-pounder as an outside linebacker. Rivals ranks him No. 33, and 247Sports slates him No. 68 at the position.
The offers for Jones have come mostly from schools in his region, including Boston College, Syracuse and Pittsburgh.
Notre Dame’s annual coaches clinic, which is being held on campus this weekend, also presents a recruiting opportunity for the Irish.
Developing relationships with high school coaches across the country is an important part of each recruiting cycle. The annual clinic gives those coaches an extra reason to visit Notre Dame.
In addition to presentations made by the Irish coaching staff, the clinic also included four high-profile guest speakers: former Texas head coach Mack Brown, Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien and Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.
On Saturday, four high school coaches are scheduled to make presentations: Shreveport (La.) Evangel Christian Academy head coach Byron Dawson, Winter Garden (Fla.) West Orange head coach Bob Head, Charlotte (N.C.) Providence Day head coach Adam Hastings and San Marcos (Calif.) Mission Hills head coach Chris Hauser.
The high school coaches who attend and those who are invited to speak often have connections to future and former Irish recruits. Dawson coached freshman defensive lineman Jerry Tillery, Head coached 2015 running back signee Dexter Williams and Hastings coached the Okwaras before switching jobs.
In 2013, former Bishop Gorman head coach Tony Sanchez spoke at the clinic. The Irish have since landed tight end Alizé Jones and safety Nicco Fertitta from his program.
Core 6 crowd
One of the top training groups in the Midwest will be visiting Notre Dame on Saturday. Core 6 Athletes, based out of the Chicago area, is planning to bring close to 60 high school football players to visit South Bend.
The large group will include current and potential Irish recruits. The Irish have signed one recruit that has trained with Core 6 Athletes in each of the last three years: wide receiver Miles Boykin (2015), linebacker Nyles Morgan (2014) and offensive lineman Colin McGovern (2013).
Cornerback Julian Love, who committed to Notre Dame’s 2016 recruiting class last week, also trains with Core 6. Both Boykin and Love are expected to visit with the group this weekend.
Several more talented 2016 prospects who have yet to receive Notre Dame offers will also make the trip with Core 6, including safety Kenney Lyke, running backs Chris Evans and Toks Akinribade and wide receiver Emmanuel Rugamba.
Four-star prospect Matt Falcon, a junior from Southfield, Mich., is also expected on campus Saturday. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound running back will head to South Bend fresh off a visit to Michigan.
The Wolverines offered Falcon in February during a two-week stretch that also brought offers from UCLA, West Virginia and Nebraska.
247Sports slates Falcon as the No. 10 running back in the 2016 class. Rivals ranks him No. 13 at the position.
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