Notre Dame starts big football recruiting month on Wednesday

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Commitments tend to come in bunches for Notre Dame football.

For those short on patience, it’s the time between those bunches that can drive recruitniks crazy. The Irish have been stuck in a lull since grabbing a verbal commitment from offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg on April 19.

With plenty of visitors scheduled to hit Notre Dame in the coming weeks, including the Irish Invasion camp on June 19, the Irish could be looking to break their slump soon.

While Michigan State has been cleaning up in the Midwest (14 commitments from the region since April 22) and Michigan’s coaching staff has hit the road for satellite camps, Notre Dame has been working on bringing more recruits to South Bend.

The first big group of visitors will come this week. Wednesday, the Irish will host four-star offensive lineman Parker Boudreaux, four-star defensive end Xavier Kelly and several prospects from Whitehaven and Trezevant high schools in Memphis.

No Irish assistant coach has had a better start to the 2016 recruiting cycle than Harry Hiestand on the offensive line. His commitments — Eichenberg and offensive tackle Tommy Kraemer — are arguably the two best players in the six-man class. Adding Boudreaux, who will be on campus for two days, to the mix remains a priority.

“He’s a premier offensive lineman,” CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said. “He’s the No. 1 kid in Florida on the offensive line. Harry Hiestand wants him and Ben Bredeson (from Wisconsin) to finish off their offensive line class. He’s an important guy. He has as many offers as anybody in the country. He has great size. He’s a powerhouse kid.”

Boudreaux, a 6-foot-4, 294-pound recruit, plays offensive tackle for Orlando (Fla.) Bishop Moore, but projects as a guard for the Irish. 247Sports slates Boudreaux as the No. 9 offensive guard in the 2016 class. Rivals ranks him as the No. 25 offensive tackle.

Boudreaux’s social media presence is as wide as his chest. His Twitter account (@ParkerBoudreaux) has more than 24,000 followers. He’s used the account to report more than 70 scholarship offers from football programs. He will likely be active in trying to recruit other players when he commits somewhere.

Lemming said the Irish could use some help from someone like Boudreaux to shape the perception and build momentum in their class. An outgoing personality can keep Notre Dame in the minds of other recruits.

“Notre Dame’s off to sort of a slow start, but they have a lot of big names they’re going after. They need a central figure,” Lemming said. “Normally it’s a quarterback, but it doesn’t have to be one. Right now I don’t think they have anybody, but if they start working on the other guys they can build momentum. You make it seem like it’s going to be special. That’s when everybody wants to climb on board.”

The Irish would also find room for Kelly in their 2016 class. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound recruit has seen his stock skyrocket since the spring of his junior year at Wichita (Kan.) East. A former Kansas State commit, Kelly received an Irish offer in late March. Then came offers from Clemson, Alabama, Arizona State, Georgia and Florida State, among others, in the following month. The offer count for Kelly has since surpassed 30 schools.

“He’s a good-sized kid with long arms and quick feet,” Lemming said. “He’s a good player.” 

Kelly also brings impressive athleticism to the football field. Kelly recorded a 40-yard dash of 4.55 seconds and a 30-inch vertical jump at The Opening Regional in Dallas. Videos surfaced on social media (here and here) in April of Kelly performing contest-worthy dunks at a local gym — while wearing jeans. 

247Sports slates Kelly as the No. 6 weakside defensive end and No. 91 overall in the 2016 class. Rivals ranks him as the No. 11 strongside defensive end and No. 150 regardless of position.

The visits from Boudreaux and Kelly could mark the beginning of an important June for Notre Dame’s recruiting efforts.

“They’re both really good players,” Lemming said. “That’s good they’re bringing them in.”

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

Notre Dame will host four-star offensive lineman Parker Boudreaux (left) and four-star defensive end Xavier Kelly on Wednesday. (Photos courtesy of Rivals)

The following football recruits are expected to visit Notre Dame on Wednesday.

2016 targets

OL Parker Boudreaux

DE Xavier Kelly

2016 prospects

DB Donte Vaughn

DT Michael Perry

WR Kerrick Jones

LB Justin Swift

CB Rodney Saulsberry Jr.

RB Clifford Bonam

OL Delvin Salter

2017 prospects

RB Cordarrian Richardson

DE Antonio Nelson

WR Tijuan Mason

LB Aubrey Miller