Notre Dame commitments get closer at The Opening

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

BEAVERTON, Ore. — Parker Boudreaux will need to get used to being remembered as the kid who pulled a school bus to announce his verbal commitment.

The video, which he filmed with the help of Bleacher Report, was greeted with mixed reviews after being released last Thursday. Some were as harsh as a tweet from Miami defensive end Scott Patchan which called Boudreaux a "tool."

Boudreaux, who announced a verbal commitment to Notre Dame in the video, knew he would receive some criticism.

“I got some positives and negatives, but I expected that,” Boudreaux said. “Bleacher Report came to me with that idea about a month ago. I knew it was going to be like that. It’s whatever.”

Boudreaux let fellow Irish offensive line commit Tommy Kraemer know a week in advance that he would be joining him at Notre Dame. But he kept the details of his video a secret. Kraemer was excited to add a third offensive lineman to the group in addition to Liam Eichenberg.

“I was pumped,” Kraemer said. “I was hoping he would for a while. I was fired up when he did. We need another physical guard and I can’t wait to play with him.”

Kraemer starred in a video of his own with Bleacher Report, but it was a physical challenge of a different nature. The web site recorded him trying to eat a five-pound reuben sandwich from Izzy’s Deli in Kraemer’s hometown of Cincinnati. He mowed through a large portion of the sandwich but was left with a pile of potato pancake, corned beef, sauerkraut and swiss cheese at the end.

Both offensive linemen are competing at The Opening Finals this week at Nike World Headquarters against some of the best defensive linemen in the country. They are joined by Irish running back commit Tony Jones Jr. Asked if Jones has any plans to film a video of his own, Kraemer offered a suggestion.

“Eat a hamburger while pulling a bus or something,” Kraemer said with a laugh.

The three are getting a chance to spend time together, get better on the football field and help recruit some of the nation’s top prospects to Notre Dame.

Jones was impressed by the size of his future teammates Kraemer (6-foot-6, 308 pounds) and Boudreaux (6-5, 289).

“They make me look like an ant,” Jones said.

Kraemer and Boudreaux got their first taste of elite pass rushers on Wednesday in one-on-one matchups. Notre Dame defensive end target Oluwole Betiku, a four-star target, beat both players working on the edge against Kraemer and on the interior against Boudreaux. Everyone is big, fast and strong.

“Adjusting to that speed is big,” Kraemer said. “At the college level it’s going to be really hard to get used to that so I think this week we can get a jump on it.”

Jones, who was clocked at a 4.68-second time in the 40-yard dash on Wednesday morning, wants to prove that he’s more than a power back. He looked fluid in catching passes out of the backfield and used speed to beat linebackers in a ball-carrier pursuit drill.

He learned one important lesson in going up against the talented linebacker group: “There’s only one thing you can’t do and that’s just not get jammed. If that doesn’t happen, you’re good.”

The trio has already started to talk with a number of Notre Dame targets including linebacker Jonathan Jones and wide receiver Chase Claypool and Donnie Corley to keep the Irish on their mind. Former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o's presence at the camp may also help. But most of that interaction comes at the different events throughout the week. On the field, it’s all about getting better.

“It’s awesome,” Kraemer said. “You’re competing with the best every day. It’s just fun being at a great place like this with the top players in the country.”

Claypool decision

Notre Dame wide receiver target Chase Claypool is ready to make his commitment. The 6-foot-6, 214-pound recruit will announce his decision Friday.

The Irish hosted Claypool, a three-star prospect, in June for the Irish Invasion camp. The Canadian product from Abbotsford, British Columbia said he will choose from a top five of Notre Dame, Oregon, Michigan, Rutgers and Washington.

247Sports slates Claypool as the No. 65 wide receiver in the 2016 class. Rivals ranks him No. 96 at the position. A strong performance at The Opening Finals will likely give him a bump in the next set of rankings.

Top seven for Kelly

Notre Dame landed a spot in Caleb Kelly’s top seven on Tuesday. The elite linebacker prospect announced his top schools with a tweet after arriving in Oregon.

Notre Dame joined USC, Oklahoma, Oregon, Michigan, Stanford and Ohio State on the list. Kelly, a 6-3, 215-pound recruit, has expressed an interest in visiting South Bend this summer. He was a late scratch for the Irish Invasion in June.

Rivals rates Kelly as a five-star prospect, the No. 5 outside linebacker in the 2016 class and No. 19 overall. 247Sports slates him as a four-star recruit, the No. 3 outside linebacker and No. 34 overall.

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

Notre Dame offensive line commit Tommy Kraemer is joined a pair of Irish commits at The Opening Finals in Oregon. (Photo courtesy of Cincinnati Enquirer)

Three Notre Dame commits participated in the Nike Football Rating testing at The Opening Finals on Wednesday. The ratings combine measurements in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, peak power test, 20-yard pro agility and power ball toss.

 40 (seconds)Vert (inches)Peak Power (watts) Agility (seconds)Power Ball (feet)
OL Tommy Kraemer 5.4623.5 7900 4.97 42
RB Tony Jones Jr.4.6831.170504.4140
OL Parker Boudreaux5.1030.385504.4142