Notre Dame sizing up 2019 class with sophomore weekend

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

What do you do when your 2018 recruiting class starts picking up commitments at a rapid pace? You start focusing on the 2019 class earlier.

That’s the decision Notre Dame’s football program made in organizing a sophomore weekend for visiting recruits. With 12 commitments in the junior class to start April — a first for head coach Brian Kelly — the Irish are ready to build some momentum with sophomores.

“What we’re trying to do,” said Irish recruiting coordinator Mike Elston, “and you’re going to see a ton of sophomores on campus moving forward — we’ve got a really good handle on our junior class. And we were thinking about doing another junior day and — bang, bang, bang — we got numbers taken up.

“So we wanted to look forward to the next class and see if we couldn’t jump-start that and get a head start. And we’re well underway, and I think we’re doing a great job in the ’19 class. And you’ll see a lot of visitors coming that are sophomores, and not just for the sophomore day but for practices.”

The official sophomore day will take place on Sunday — a day with a spring practice — but the Irish welcomed sophomore recruits on campus as early as Friday. The trips are unofficial visits, meaning the Irish can’t fund any travel accommodations, so flexibility around the schedules of recruits is required.

Regardless of which day the sophomore recruits arrive on campus, they’ll be greeted with a brand new hashtag for Notre Dame’s impending 2019 class: #FightClub19. Fewer than 30 recruits in the 2019 class have unofficial invitations (a.k.a. scholarship offers) to join that elusive club.

It may be a little early to assume that any of this weekend’s visitors will be ready to commit to the Irish, but every visit counts in the recruiting process. Notre Dame will get a head start with the following recruits expected on campus.

2019 targets

• DE Joseph Anderson, 6-4, 253; Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Siegel: The four-star recruit reported a Notre Dame offer in March. 247Sports slates him as the No. 6 strongside defensive end in the 2019 class. Anderson has received more than a dozen scholarships including Georgia, Tennessee, and most recently Alabama on Friday.

• WR David Bell, 6-2, 180; Indianapolis Warren Central: Bell became the first in-state recruit to receive a Notre Dame offer in the 2019 class back in January. The Irish know his school well. Former Notre Dame players Sheldon Day and Mykelti Williams are also Warren Central products. Bell, a four-star recruit, caught 68 passes for 1,201 yards and 17 touchdowns as a sophomore. 247Sports ranks him as the No. 9 wide receiver in the class. Iowa, Indiana and Syracuse have also offered Bell.

• DT Jowon Briggs, 6-3, 270; Cincinnati Walnut Hills: Briggs became Notre Dame’s latest recruiting target in Cincinnati with an offer in February. Alabama, Ohio State and Michigan have all jumped in on his recruitment early. Rivals rates Briggs as a four-star recruit.

• DE George Karlaftis, 6-5, 245; West Lafayette (Ind.) High: Karlaftis arrived at Notre Dame on Saturday. Before he left campus, he received a scholarship offer from the Irish. Notre Dame joined the likes of Indiana, Purdue and SMU in doing so. Karlaftis may have only four offers, but Rivals already ranks him as a four-star recruit.

2019 prospects

• DE Jason Bargy, 6-5, 230; Momence (Ill.) High: The defensive line will likely be Bargy’s college football future, but he’s also played running back at Momence. He rushed for 1,266 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. 247Sports pegs Bargy, whose only scholarship offer comes from Illinois, as a four-star recruit and the No. 3 weakside defensive end. He also recorded 61 tackles, seven tackles for a loss and four sacks as a sophomore.

• OL Quinn Carroll, 6-6, 280; Edina (Minn.) High: Carroll’s tour of top college football programs will end up at Notre Dame Sunday. In the last week, he’s made stops at Miami, Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and Virginia Tech. Plenty of schools want to see Carroll, a four-star recruit according to Rivals. He already has claimed more than 20 offers including Alabama, Ohio State and USC.

• DE Christopher Hinton Jr., 6-4, 265; Norcross (Ga.) Greater Atlanta Christian: Days after being deemed a five-star recruit by Rivals, Hinton will visit Notre Dame. His brother, Myles, a 2020 offensive lineman, will also make the trip. Hinton’s father is former Pro Bowl offensive lineman Chris Hinton, who played for the Colts, Falcons and the Vikings. Christopher Hinton Jr. has more than a dozen offers including Clemson, Georgia and Stanford.

• OL Will Putnam, 6-4, 270; Chatham (Ill.) Glenwood: The Illinois resident will soon be transferring to Tampa Plant, but he didn’t need to leave the state to become a coveted recruit. The four-star prospect already has received double-digit offers including Ohio State, Georgia and UCLA. 247Sports slates Putnam as the No. 4 offensive tackle in the class.

• QB Paul Tyson, 6-4, 210; Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.) High: Tyson has yet to report a scholarship offer, but he recently made visits to Alabama and Clemson. He posted photos Saturday with Irish quarterbacks coach Tommy Rees and offensive coordinator Chip Long on Twitter.

tjames@ndinsider.com

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Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Five-star defensive end Christopher Hinton Jr., a 2019 recruit, will visit Notre Dame for its sophomore weekend. (Photo courtesy of Rivals)