Names to know as Notre Dame finishes the 2017 recruiting class

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

In the final days before National Signing Day, Notre Dame’s coaching staff can only spend so much time trying to reel in a few more football recruits for the 2017 class.

The list of late recruiting targets for Notre Dame rapidly expanded since the start of December, but the list of meaningful names for the Irish has started to settle into a manageable number.

Let’s take a closer look at the recruits worth tracking and the recent targets that no longer appear relevant for the Irish. ND Insider will update this story up to signing day with the latest developments.

New commits

The Irish added their first commitment to the class since early December (offensive lineman Aaron Banks) when safety Jordan Genmark Heath gave his pledge to the Notre Dame on Thursday. On Sunday, wide receiver Jafar Armstrong and kicker Jonathan Doerer continued the trend. Notre Dame's 2017 class currently includes 18 members — 13 verbal commitments and five recruits already enrolled at Notre Dame.

 S Jordan Genmark Heath, 6-1, 205; San Diego Cathedral Catholic: An official visit to Notre Dame flipped Genmark Heath's commitment from California to the Irish. 

Former Notre Dame quarterback Rick Mirer has chimed in on Genmark Heath’s recruitment several times on Twitter. That's because Genmark Heath attends the same school as Mirer's kids. Morrison Mirer, a senior committed to play lacrosse for the Irish, played safety alongside Genmark Heath.

Click here for a full story.

247Sports: Four stars, No. 22 S. | Rivals: Three stars, No. 67 ATH.

 WR Jafar Armstrong, 6-1, 185; Mission (Kan.) Bishop Miege: Notre Dame pulled off a textbook commitment flip with Armstrong. Following his official visit to Notre Dame, Armstrong announced he was backing off his Missouri commitment. Later Sunday night, Armstrong completed the flip with a commitment to Notre Dame.

Click here for a full story.

247Sports: Four stars, No. 33 WR. | Rivals: Three stars, No. 77 WR.

• K Jonathan Doerer, 6-3, 188; Charlotte (N.C.) South Mecklenburg: The Irish unexpectedly targeted a kicker late in the recruiting cycle and extended an offer to Doerer within the last week. That quickly resulted in an official visit to Notre Dame this past weekend. On Sunday, Doerer ditched his Maryland commitment for the Irish.

Click here for a full story.

Names to know

These five recruits have shown serious interest in Notre Dame and have previously visited campus.

 ATH Russ Yeast, 5-11, 185; Greenwood (Ind.) Center Grove: Notre Dame doesn’t seem too concerned about which position Yeast would play in South Bend. That’s why the Irish have recruited him as an athlete. He could play any number of positions where Notre Dame could use his help.

Yeast has been recruited as a cornerback by Louisville, where he’s been committed since October. He could also play wide receiver, which he played at the Under Armour All-America Game, or running back — he rushed for 1,525 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior at Center Grove.

Notre Dame may have waited too long to offer Yeast. Still, the son of Franklin (Ind.) College offensive coordinator Craig Yeast gave Notre Dame his most recent official visit during the weekend of Jan. 21.

The Irish sent five coaches — head coach Brian Kelly, recruiting coordinator Mike Elston, offensive coordinator Chip Long, wide receivers coach DelVaughn Alexander and defensive backs coach Todd Lyght — for an in-home visit last Wednesday night in a final push to flip him.

Rivals: Four stars, No. 21 ATH. | 247Sports: Three stars, No. 48 CB.

 DL Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, 6-4, 270; Kapolei (Hawaii) High: The Hawaiian churned through a busy schedule in the final week of the contact period. Tagovailoa-Amosa visited Navy, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt last week before heading back home.

All three schools appeared to be chasing USC, which hosted Tagovailoa-Amosa in November, but the Trojans recently added a pair of defensive tackle commitments. He also made an official visit to Georgia Tech in December.

On Monday night, Tagovailoa-Amosa said he hasn't figured out his finalists, but he will make a decision soon to sign on Wednesday. Click here for a Q&A with Tagovailoa-Amosa.

247Sports: Four stars, No. 11 SDE. | Rivals: Three stars, No. 39 DT.

 DE Kofi Wardlow, 6-3, 240; Washington (D.C.) St. John’s College High: Notre Dame made a push for the three-star recruit with an offer that immediately turned into an official visit. But upon returning home, Wardlow, a Maryland commit, still made an official visit to Virginia Tech this past weekend. Will either school be able to pull him away from the Terps?

Defensive line coach Mike Elston made an in-home visit to see Wardlow last Tuesday. In a text message, Wardlow said he enjoyed “the sense of community, the education, the connections to the alumni and of course the football part” at Notre Dame.

Rivals: No. 47 SDE. | 247Sports: No. 76 WDE.

• S Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, 6-2, 188; Hampton (Va.) Bethel: Notre Dame took its shot at Owusu-Koramoah less than a week after he visited Michigan State and dropped his commitment to Virginia. The Irish hosted the three-star recruit for an official visit on Thursday and Friday.

Now Owusu-Koramoah will choose between the Irish and Spartans on signing day. Notre Dame sent a trio of coaches to visit with him last Monday: head coach Brian Kelly, defensive line coach Mike Elston and linebackers coach Clark Lea.

247Sports: No. 19 ATH. | Rivals: No. 40 OLB.

Late misses

• DE Jalen Harris, 6-4, 210; Mesa (Ariz.) Desert Ridge: The latest blow for Notre Dame came Tuesday when Harris announced he would stick with his Arizona commitment.

The Irish hosted the three-star recruit on an official visit this past weekend. Special teams coordinator Brian Polian and defensive coordinator Mike Elko led the push to get Harris to swith his commitment from Arizona, where his father played football and his mother played basketball.

During his official visit, it appeared his mother, Cha-Ron, gave him her blessing to choose the Irish. She tweeted a photo of Jalen Harris wearing a Notre Dame uniform accompanied with the following words: "Goosebumps seeing my oldest eager to leave home and spread his wings. Proud of you @JHarr8245#CarpeDiem."

Instead, Harris will continue the family tradition.

247Sports: No. 27 WDE. | Rivals: No. 37 WDE.

 WR Oliver Martin: The four-star recruit made the plunge and committed to Michigan within the past week. He announced his commitment to the Wolverines on Monday night following his visit to Ann Arbor. He even jumped in a pool with head coach Jim Harbaugh to mark his verbal commitment.

The Wolverines beat out long-time contenders Iowa, Notre Dame and Michigan State in Martin's recruitment. Martin last visited Notre Dame on an official visit in December and attended the Duke game in September.

247Sports: No. 7 WR. | Rivals: No. 35 WR.

 S Evan Fields: Notre Dame received the final official visit from the three-star recruit, but Fields committed to Arizona State on Monday. He played for the U.S. Under-19 National Team in Saturday’s North American Championship against Canada.

247Sports: No. 42 S. | Rivals: No. 47 S.

• CB Tre Norwood: The three-star recruit gave the Irish a gut punch on Jan. 23. He gave his commitment to Oklahoma a day after finishing his official visit to Notre Dame. Norwood, who was recruited to Oklahoma by former Irish defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks, did so before visiting Oklahoma. He dropped his commitment to Louisville after receiving an Irish offer. The Sooners offered Norwood five days after Notre Dame.

247Sports: No. 132 CB. | Rivals: Not ranked among Top 70 CB.

Fizzling away

These five recruits have been connected to Notre Dame in the past, but the Irish would need to pull major surprises to add them to their 2017 class.

 WR Mac Hippenhammer, 6-0, 170; Fort Wayne (Ind.) Snider: Notre Dame entered a tug of war with Penn State when the Irish extended an offer to Hippenhammer. A day after the in-state recruit announced a new offer from Notre Dame, Hippenhammer made an unofficial visit to South Bend on Jan. 16.

The three-star recruit then made an official visit to Penn State, but did not return to Notre Dame this past weekend. Hippenhammer has visited Notre Dame several times in the past. The Irish may have offered too late, but it's hard to rule anything out for Hippenhammer until he signs on Wednesday.

Rivals: No. 61 WR. | 247Sports: No. 67 WR.

• DT Jerron Cage: The younger brother of Irish defensive tackle Daniel Cage attended every Notre Dame home game last season despite being committed to Ohio State. But his loyalty to his brother appears to mirror his loyalty to the Buckeyes. Cage hasn’t shown any recent signs of a defection.

247Sports: Four stars, No. 10 DT. | Rivals: Three stars, No. 41 DT.

• DE Joshua Paschal: Notre Dame showed it wasn’t willing to give up on Paschal when it sent defensive coordinator Mike Elko to his high school earlier this month. It might not make a difference for Paschal, who committed to Kentucky just days after his official visit to Notre Dame in December. However, the four-star recruit has continued to look around. He made a trip to Penn State last weekend.

247Sports: No. 9 SDE. | Rivals: No. 10 SDE.

• S TreSean Smith: Following an October offer from the Irish, Smith made an unannounced visit to Notre Dame for its home finale against Virginia Tech. If he’s having any second thoughts about his commitment to Louisville, Smith has done a good job hiding it on his Twitter account. He’s been all about the Cardinals in recent weeks and made another visit to Louisville last weekend.

247Sports: Four stars, No. 21 S. | Rivals: Three stars, not ranked among Top 60 S.

• ATH Greg Johnson: The Los Angeles native always felt like somewhat of a longshot for the Irish, but his insistence on getting on campus in December brought some hope for Notre Dame. In an odd twist, his younger brother Marcus committed to USC while his older brother was in South Bend. The Trojans will host Greg Johnson, a four-star recruit, for his final official visit before signing day. Nebraska and Oregon may be the only remaining threats to keeping the brothers apart.

Rivals: No. 4 ATH. | 247Sports: No. 7 ATH.

Came and went

The following players reported offers from Notre Dame since the start of December, but they’re all expected to sign elsewhere next week.

• DE Victor Dimukeje: The three-star recruit reported a Notre Dame offer just eight days before signing day. Shortly after the Irish joined his offer list, Dimukeje committed to Duke.

Rivals: No. 36 SDE. | 247Sports: No. 74 DT.

• RB Deon Jackson: The Duke running back commit added a Notre Dame offer on Jan. 13, but he said 10 days later that he’s “done with recruiting.” Jackson, a three-star recruit, previously visited for the Irish Invasion.

247Sports: No. 48 RB. | Rivals: No. 61 ATH.

• WR Gavin Holmes: The three-star recruit had been considering a Notre Dame visit, but he shut his recruitment down before making the trip. Holmes committed to Baylor on Jan. 22.

247Sports: No. 70 WR. | Rivals: No. 74 WR.

• CB Noah Daniels: The three-star recruit let the world know he’s not budging from his TCU commitment on Jan. 22. “110% Committed to TCU, My Recruitment is shut down #GoFrogs,” Daniels wrote.

Rivals: No. 53 CB. | 247Sports: No. 94 CB.

• WR Michael Smith: The Irish appeared to discover an under-the-radar recruit in Smith, but Pittsburgh beat them to the punch. The three-star receiver made an official visit to Pittsburgh 12 days before Notre Dame extended an offer. He committed to the Panthers on Jan. 18.

247Sports: No. 201 WR. | Rivals: Not ranked among Top 100 WR.

• ATH Connor Wedington: When the four-star recruit dropped his commitment to Washington, the move seemed to be connected to a Stanford offer. Yet Wedington made room for Notre Dame in his top five list. The Irish were only a placeholder and never received a visit. He Wedington committed to Stanford on Monday.

Rivals: No. 10 ATH. | 247Sports: No. 12 ATH.

• CB Chris Miller: Some reports had the Colorado commit expected to visit Notre Dame for the weekend of Jan. 21, but Miller actually visited Ole Miss. The three-star recruit has since told reporters from 247Sports and Scout that he plans to decide between the two schools.

247Sports: No. 37 ATH. | Rivals: Not ranked among Top 70 CB.

• CB Terrell Bailey: Notre Dame tested the waters in Louisiana with Bailey, a Tennessee commit. He visited the Volunteers two days after the Irish offered and hasn’t wavered from his pledge.

Rivals: Four stars, No. 26 CB. | 247Sports: Three stars, No. 59 CB.

• DT Brandon Pili: The three-star recruit from Alaska, who played his senior season in Portland, Ore., received a Notre Dame offer before defensive coordinator Mike Elko joined the Irish coaching staff. Not much happened with Pili and Notre Dame after that. He committed Jan. 21 to USC.

Rivals: No. 29 DT. | 247Sports: No. 87 DT.

• ATH Demetrius Douglas: A Notre Dame offer was trumped by a visit from new Minnesota head coach PJ Fleck a day later. The Gophers flipped the three-star recruit’s commitment from Oregon before Notre Dame could gain any momentum.

247Sports: No. 76 CB. | Rivals: Not ranked among Top 70 ATH.

• DT Kendrick Green: The Illinois commit announced his new offer from Notre Dame on Twitter, but nothing else developed with the three-star recruit.

247Sports: No. 27 DT. | Rivals: Not ranked among Top 50 DT.


Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Will Louisville commit Russ Yeast flip his pledge to Notre Dame before signing day? (Photo courtesy of Student Sports)