Notebook: Notre Dame football hosting a pair of midweek visitors

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

As the Notre Dame football program waits for the first domino to fall its way in the final weeks of the 2017 recruiting class, the Irish will continue to host recruits with the countdown to National Signing Day dipping under a week.

Because time is limited and the NCAA recruiting calendar allows visits only through Sunday, Notre Dame will bring in a pair of recruits for rare midweek visits.

Safety Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and defensive lineman Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa are expected to be on campus Thursday. Both have been targeted by Notre Dame within the last month.

Owusu-Koramoah has shown a growing interest in Notre Dame in a short amount of time. The 6-foot-2, 188-pound product of Hampton (Va.) Bethel first reported an offer from the Irish last Thursday. At the time, Owusu-Koramoah remained committed to Virginia.

A lot has changed in the past week. Owusu-Koramoah has since made an official visit to Michigan State, backed off his commitment to Virginia and hosted coaches from both Notre Dame and Michigan State at his school. Now Owusu-Koramoah said he plans to choose between those two schools on signing day next Wednesday. He arrived in South Bend late Wednesday night.

Irish head coach Brian Kelly, defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Mike Elston and linebackers coach Clark Lea continued the full-court press on Owusu-Koramoah by visiting Bethel — the same high school former NBA star Allen Iverson attended — on Monday.

Defensive coordinator Mike Elko and Lea had recruited Owusu-Koramoah in their previous positions at Wake Forest. That allowed the coaching staff to have a better understanding of how he would fit in the defense and also at Notre Dame.

The combination of Owusu-Koramoah’s size, strength and speed has given recruiting analysts trouble in projecting how he fits as a college player. 247Sports slates him as the No. 19 athlete, a designation given to players without a specific position, in the 2017 class. Rivals ranks him as the No. 40 outside linebacker. Both peg him as a three-star recruit.

Elko’s defense at Wake Forest featured a hybrid outside linebacker/safety position termed a rover. Owusu-Koramoah could eventually fill that role.

Owusu-Koramoah also appears to be an academic. Before any of Owusu-Koramoah’s actual footage starts on his senior highlight reel, a screenshot of his 1310 SAT score is shown. According to Notre Dame’s admissions website, the middle 50 percent of the 2016 enrolled students scored in the 1390-1530 range (out of 1600) on the SAT.

Tagovailoa-Amosa’s trip to Notre Dame will come from much farther away: Hawaii. But the Irish won’t be the only ones entertaining him this week. Tagovailoa-Amosa told that his week includes a trip to Navy to start the week, then a visit to Notre Dame followed by a stop at Vanderbilt before returning home.

All three schools may be chasing USC in his recruitment. The Trojans hosted Tagovailoa-Amosa in November, but they have added commitments from a pair of defensive tackles in the last week. Georgia Tech also received a visit from him in December.

As a senior at Kapolei High, Tagovailoa-Amosa tallied 18 sacks and an additional 16 tackles for a loss. The 6-4, 270-pound lineman is Notre Dame’s best remaining chance at replacing former Irish commit Donovan Jeter as a player who could potentially play defensive end or defensive tackle.

247Sports slates Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa as a four-star recruit and the No. 11 strongside defensive end in the 2017 class. Rivals ranks him as a three-star prospect and the No. 39 defensive tackle.

The Irish haven’t signed a player out of Hawaii since defensive lineman Kona Schwenke in 2010. Linebacker Manti Te’o and wide receiver Robby Toma enrolled at Notre Dame the previous year.

Tracking Kelly

Brian Kelly has been well-traveled in the final week of the contact period before signing day.

After the weekend visitors left campus on Sunday, Kelly made his first stop at Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter’s Prep on Monday. The school that produced Irish quarterback Brandon Wimbush currently has a pair of 2018 defensive line commits — twins Jayson and Justin Ademilola — and a 2018 defensive back target — Shayne Simon — on its football team.

Later on Monday, Kelly visited with safety target Jeremiah Owusu-Karamoah as mentioned above. He also made an in-home visit with 2017 defensive tackle commit Darnell Ewell in Norfolk, Va. Kelly was accompanied by defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Mike Elston and linebackers coach Clark Lea.

On Tuesday, Kelly spent time in the Pittsburgh area. He visited with three 2017 Irish commits — offensive lineman Josh Lugg, linebacker David Adams and defensive tackle Kurt Hinish — and they all attended a basketball game for 2018 quarterback commit Phil Jurkovec. Kelly was joined by Lea and offensive coordinator Chip Long.

On Wednesday, Kelly traveled to Mission (Kan.) Bishop Miege to visit 2017 wide receiver target Jafar Armstrong, a Missouri commit. The Irish will host Armstrong this weekend. Long and wide receivers coach DelVaughn Alexander made the trip with Kelly.

Bishop Miege senior offensive lineman Colin Grunhard announced Wednesday night that he was committed to walk on at Notre Dame. The 6-1, 275-pound Grunhard is the son of Tim Grunhard, an offensive lineman on Notre Dame’s 1988 national championship team who played 10 years for the Kansas City Chiefs.

On Wednesday, Kelly visited with cornerback/wide receiver target Russ Yeast in the Indianapolis area. Yeast, a Louisville commit, made an official visit to Notre Dame over the weekend. The Irish brought a whole crew of coaches with Kelly: Elston, Long, Alexander and defensive backs coach Todd Lyght.


Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Safety Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah reported a Notre Dame offer on Thursday (photo courtesy Student Sports).