DE target Carlo Kemp makes Notre Dame visit

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Even when Carlo Kemp was an infant, his wardrobe included Notre Dame gear. His grandmother made sure of it.

“She used to dress me in all the Notre Dame blue and green,” said Kemp, now a 6-foot-3, 250-pound college football recruit. “I was raised Catholic, and it always just went hand in hand together.”

His support for the Irish predates his understanding of football. So when Notre Dame offered him a scholarship in June, Kemp knew he would be making a trip to South Bend.

“Notre Dame’s been a big school of mine forever,” Kemp said. “When I was finally able to pick up a scholarship, I knew right then and there it was a place I had to visit and was going to get back out and see because of how special it is and what it means to me and what it can do for me after college with the power that degree holds.”

The last time Kemp was on campus, he was a rising junior trying to get the attention of the Notre Dame coaching staff at a 2014 summer camp. He will return Friday for an official visit with his mother, younger brother and grandparents.

“This time I’m really excited to get out there and see the academic buildings, see the facilities a little bit more, see the guys there, build a stronger relationship with the coaches and most of all sit down in that stadium and look up at Touchdown Jesus,” Kemp said. “I’m excited to see those gold helmets.”

The Notre Dame coaching staff would be happy to see Kemp wearing one of those helmets next season. Kemp remains as one of the few realistic defensive end targets on the Irish wish list. If Kemp committed to Notre Dame, he would immediately challenge Julian Okwara’s status as the best defensive end in the class.

Kemp, who has primarily played outside linebacker and running back at Boulder (Colo.) Fairview, offers a combination of size and athleticism the Irish covet. Through five games of his senior season, Kemp recorded 40 tackles, six for a loss, and three sacks. He also rushed 18 times for 77 yards.

“He makes few mistakes and has a quick first step,” said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. “He’s good in containment, and he has enough burst to keep the QB honest.”

Lemming also praised Kemp’s technique, saying it’s clear he’s been taught well. It only makes sense considering he has a pair of NFL coaches — Colts head coach Chuck Pagano and Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano — for uncles.

“He’s a big-time player,” Lemming said. “He’d be outstanding for Notre Dame. He’s a Notre Dame type of a kid too.”

Rivals rates Kemp as a four-star recruit and the No. 9 weakside defensive end in the 2016 class. 247Sports slates him as a three-star prospect and the No. 29 strongside defensive end.

Kemp keeps in regular contact with Irish recruiting coordinator Mike Elston. The two speak weekly on how each of their teams fared. Kemp likes what he’s seen from Notre Dame’s defense.

“I can see myself fitting in nicely,” Kemp said. “They want me to play D-end and linebacker, either one. I’m hoping to get bigger, faster and stronger and hopefully find myself in a position to get on that field.”

Two weeks ago, Kemp made his first official visit to Michigan for the 31-0 win over BYU. He also plans to make official visits to Colorado (Oct. 17) and UCLA. The Wolverines set the bar pretty high.

“That was awesome. It was exciting,” Kemp said. “It was a brand new experience for me. I got to see a game and got back out there for a second time getting to rebuild my connections with the coaches and the players and see what campus is like. It was a great experience.”

Some reports have suggested Kemp may have been on the verge of committing to Michigan following the trip, but Kemp said he wasn’t willing to go that far. He still had his eyes set on a visit to Notre Dame.

“I wasn’t going to commit without seriously talking with my family and sitting down with them and looking at my best options,” Kemp said. “I really have enjoyed Michigan for sure. I enjoyed my time out there. Now I’m really excited to get out to Notre Dame and get another perspective and be able to enjoy my trip out there.”

Long shot?

Cornerback recruit David Long Jr. gave Stanford his verbal commitment in August. Notre Dame never stop recruiting him.

As a result, the Irish will host Long this weekend for his first official visit. The four-star recruit joins an expanding list of realistic targets in the secondary for Notre Dame’s 2016 class.

“I really like him,” Lemming said. “I saw him twice this year. He can play offense and defense. He has real good skills. He’s one of the better skill position players in California. He’s impressive. He has a real good burst, he can run and he’s a confident ball player and a very productive one.”

Through six games of his senior season at Los Angeles Loyola, Long caught 12 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns in addition to 10 tackles and an interception on defense.

VISITORS LIST

The following recruits are expected to attend Saturday’s Notre Dame game.

2016 targets

DE Carlo Kemp

CB David Long Jr.

2016 commits

OL Parker Boudreaux

CB Julian Love

2016 prospects

RB Chase Bramel

S Tyler Cochran

LS Tim Fean

S Christopher Schilling

2017 commits

TE Cole Kmet

2017 prospects

QB Josh Adkins

OL Ian Creech

DL Jordan Murphy

LB Mohamed Sanogo

DL Bryce Robinson

OL Robi Stuart

RB Kurt Taylor

WR Jalin Tolbert

WR Cody White

RB Alaric Williams

CB Kade Remsberg

2018 prospects

QB Brennan Armstrong

OL Wyatt Blake

ATH Jayden Day

LB Dax Hollifield

QB Bryce Jefferson

WR Micah Jones

LS Cade Long

TE Elijah McAllister

OL Antwan Reed

OL Blaine Scott

WR Tyrone Tracy

Senior defensive end target Carlo Kemp will make his official visit to Notre Dame this weekend for the Navy game. (Photo courtesy of Student Sports)