Top names to know for Notre Dame's loaded junior day

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

The visitors list for Notre Dame’s junior day on Saturday kept expanding.

As the calendar closed in on the biggest Irish recruiting event of the spring, more talented players confirmed plans to visit South Bend. In total, at least 30 football recruits are expected to visit Notre Dame’s campus this weekend.

With the recruiting process starting earlier for high school athletes every year, the importance of junior days has increased. The Irish have adjusted by putting a stronger emphasis on getting recruits on campus well before they can take official visits as a senior.

Notre Dame hosted a junior day in January for the first time in recent years and has tried to flood its second junior day this weekend with as much talent as possible. More than 20 of the recruits visiting this weekend will come to campus having already been offered by the Irish.

Last year’s junior day, which featured four future 2016 signees — defensive end Khalid Kareem, cornerback Julian Love, running back Tony Jones Jr. and long snapper John Shannon — included only 11 recruits who had previously been offered.

Most of Notre Dame’s visitors for its January junior day came from Midwest schools. Saturday’s event will have much more of a national flavor. The visitors list includes recruits from 17 states spanning from Florida to California. This crop of talent sets a new high bar for future junior days.

Here’s a closer look at some of the headliners of the star-studded weekend at Notre Dame.

Future commits?

Junior days have routinely produced commitments for the Irish. That should continue again this year. Commitments could come before the weekend ends, but the impressions made on campus could last for recruits who are not quite ready to make a decision.

Quarterback Avery Davis tops the list of potential pledges for Notre Dame. The 6-foot, 190-pound recruit is making his second visit to campus. Davis has been a priority at the position for Notre Dame since he received an offer in October. Davis will be joined by his teammate Charleston Rambo, an Irish wide receiver target, on the visit.

247Sports slates Davis as the No. 12 dual-threat quarterback in the 2017 class. Rivals ranks him No. 14 at the position. Both peg him as a three-star recruit.

Running back A.J. Dillon is also making a return visit to Notre Dame. The four-star recruit will be joined on campus by his grandfather, former Irish All-American Thom Gatewood. Dillon, a 6-0, 228-pound back, visited South Bend for the Irish Invasion last summer and received a Notre Dame offer in June.

A growing offer list that includes Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida State may require Dillon to take more time to consider his options, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if he decided to follow his grandfather’s path.

Rivals ranks Dillon as the No. 16 running back in the 2016 class. 247Sports slates him No. 18.

Linebacker David Adams fits the prototype of a Notre Dame linebacker. If he decides to leave his home state of Pennsylvania, the Irish are likely to be the beneficiaries. The 6-1, 225-pound Adams played in front of five Notre Dame coaches when the Irish played in Pittsburgh last fall.

Penn State and Pittsburgh are also in pursuit of the four-star linebacker. Both Rivals and 247Sports peg Adams as the No. 4 inside linebacker in the 2017 class.

Top talents

Picking the most talented visitor from a group so loaded with potential is a challenge. The choice could depend on the greatest need for Notre Dame. Luckily for the Irish, they don’t necessarily have to choose. There is still room for plenty of talented players in Notre Dame’s 2017 class, which currently consists of two offensive linemen and two tight ends.

Offensive tackle Andrew Thomas has the highest ranking of any of the visitors at No. 25 overall in the 2017 class from 247Sports. Rivals ranks the 6-4, 288-pound lineman as the No. 10 offensive tackle and No. 67 overall.

Linebacker Drew Singleton (6-2, 215) and cornerback Thomas Graham (5-11, 173) are both considered top 100 players by Rivals and 247Sports. Rivals ranks Singleton as the No. 2 outside linebacker and No. 34 overall in the class. Graham, a USC commit, is ranked as high as No. 53 overall as the No. 6 cornerback by Rivals.

247Sports slates defensive tackle Haskell Garrett as the No. 4 defensive tackle and No. 52 overall in the class. The 6-1, 286-pound recruit verbally committed to Ohio State in February.

Sophomores too

There will be room for sophomores at Notre Dame’s junior day as well. Notre Dame’s only quarterback target in the 2018 class, Phil Jurkovec, will be on campus.

Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Sanford watched the 6-5, 190-pound sophomore play in person last fall and offered him a scholarship. Jurkovec threw for 2,560 yards and 20 touchdowns and rushed for 1,250 yards and 11 touchdowns in 12 games at Gibsonia (Pa.) Pine-Richland.

247Sports slates Jurkovec as the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback and No. 24 overall in the 2018 class.

Cornerback Derrik Allen has yet to report a Notre Dame offer, but he seems likely to receive one while on campus this weekend. The 6-1, 185-pound sophomore from Marietta (Ga.) Lassiter already claims offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson and Georgia, among others.

247Sports slates Allen as the No. 2 cornerback and No. 32 overall in the 2018 class.

VISITORS LIST

The following recruits are expected to visit Notre Dame for Saturday’s junior day. NDInsider provides more details on these recruits here.

2017 targets

LB David Adams, Pittsburgh (Pa.) Central Catholic

ATH Saiid Adebo, Mansfield (Texas) High

WR Tarik Black, Cheshire (Conn.) Academy

WR Trey Blount, Atlanta Pace Academy

RB Robert Burns, Miami Gulliver Prep

QB Avery Davis, Cedar Hill (Texas) High

RB A.J. Dillon, Groton (Mass.) Lawrence Academy

DT Haskell Garrett, Las Vegas Bishop Gorman

CB Thomas Graham, Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) High

DT Kurt Hinish­­­­, Pittsburgh (Pa.) Central Catholic

DE Corey Malone-Hatcher, St. Joseph (Mich.) High

DT Phillip Paea­, Berrien Springs (Mich.) High

LB Jacob Phillips, East Nashville (Tenn.) Magnet

WR Charleston Rambo, Cedar Hill (Texas) High

CB Amir Riep, Cincinnati Colerain

DB AJ Terrell, Atlanta Westlake

OT Andrew Thomas, Atlanta Pace Academy

LB Pete Werner, Indianapolis Cathedral

2017 commit

OL Josh Lugg, Wexford (Pa.) North Allegheny

2017 prospects

S Chaz Ah You, Sarasota Springs (Utah) Westlake

OL Blaise Andries, Marshall (Minn.) High

OL Tyler Beach, Port Washington (Wisc.) High

ATH Allen Stritzinger, Warren (Mich.) De La Salle

LB Drew White, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas

2018 targets

QB Phil Jurkovec, Gibsonia (Pa.) Pine-Richland

2018 prospects

CB Derrik Allen, Marietta (Ga.) Lassiter

WR Micah Jones, Gurnee (Ill.) Warren

OL Jamaree Salyer, Atlanta Pace Academy

Update: ATH Tyrell Ajian and LB Drew Singleton, both 2017 targets, did not make the visit as scheduled.

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

Quarterback Avery Davis will make his second visit to Notre Dame for this weekend's junior day. (Photo courtesy of Rivals)