Notebook: Visits tell tale for Notre Dame DT target Ja'mion Franklin
Ja’mion Franklin looked at a calendar and picked a day that made sense to him.
As Franklin shared last month, the three-star defensive tackle plans to make a commitment decision on July 1. That is unless he changes his mind.
“The day wasn’t really significant or anything,” Franklin said. “It’s kind of in-between summer workouts. I don’t really want go into the season with the burden of recruiting, so I’m going to get it over. It could possibly change. It could be moved back or moved up. It all depends on how I feel and if I’m ready or not.”
The uncertainty lingers because Franklin hasn’t made up his mind on where he wants to commit. He has narrowed his focus on a limited number of schools, but even that list is private, Franklin said.
That leaves visits as the best evidence on where Franklin’s recruitment lies and proof that Notre Dame sits in a pretty position. The 6-foot-2, 306-pound product of Ridgely (Md.) North Caroline visited the Irish in March and plans to return to campus in late June. He landed a scholarship offer the last time he was in South Bend.
“It was definitely a great feeling to get an offer from Notre Dame. It’s a very prestigious institution as far as athletics and academics. The history of Notre Dame is very intriguing with the Four Horsemen and all the stuff like that. It’s incredible. It was really an honor to get that offer. The visit was great to see everything in person and get a feel for the campus, the coaches there and the new staff.”
Franklin’s most recent visit came last weekend at Virginia. The Cavaliers were the first program to offer Franklin a scholarship. It was his second trip to Charlottesville.
“There are some great guys there,” Franklin said. “I was excited to finally get there and see that coaching staff in person on a work day, pushing their guys and being in meetings. It was definitely a great experience.”
The only other visit currently on Franklin’s radar is a potential trip to Clemson in early June. But Franklin isn’t ruling anything out. New offers from the evaluation period could present different visit destinations.
“I know that Clemson is coming to see me, along with Wisconsin and Michigan State,” Franklin said. “Those would be some big offers for me if they popped.”
Virginia Tech became the latest school to offer Franklin last week.
“That was big. Bud Foster defenses,” Franklin said referencing Virginia Tech’s long-time defensive coordinator. “When you hear V Tech, that’s what you think of. It’s definitely great that I’ve opened their eyes and called their attention with the way I play. For coach Foster and them to actually notice me is a big moment.”
Franklin hasn’t landed on the radar of college coaches a result of high recruiting rankings. Rivals pegs him as the No. 28 defensive tackle in the 2018 class. 247Sports slates him No. 38 at the position. Instead, Franklin said, he’s impressed coaches with his energy and intensity.
“No matter what I’m doing on the field, I’m always going to be intense,” Franklin said. “I’m always going to be chirping. I’m going to get my guys fired up. That’s what Notre Dame told me they liked. They liked the grit that I bring and the intensity.”
Head coach Brian Kelly, defensive coordinator Mike Elko and defensive line coach Mike Elston have all been keeping in regular contact with Franklin. Elko and linebackers coach Clark Lea stopped by North Caroline High last week as part of the evaluation period.
“They’re definitely great guys. They keep it real no matter what,” Franklin said. “I appreciate them because I’m real. I’m going to keep it 100 no matter what, so I can definitely appreciate somebody who is going to be the same way and reciprocate the same things that I bring to the table.”
If Franklin’s return trip to Notre Dame goes well in June, maybe the Irish won’t have to wait until July 1 to add him to the committed list.
Lenzy visits Oregon
Oregon made a splash in the recruiting landscape with a successful weekend for its spring game. The Ducks have added seven commitments to the 2018 class since Saturday morning.
The waves created in Oregon also reached Notre Dame’s class. That’s because Irish wide receiver commit Braden Lenzy also visited the Ducks.
Houston Lillard, one of Lenzy’s seven-on-seven coaches in Oregon, shared a picture of Lenzy and two of his Team Lillard teammates attending the spring game. Lillard is the older brother of NBA star Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Lenzy, who attends Tigard (Ore.) High, made an unofficial visit to Notre Dame the previous weekend for the Blue-Gold Game. He said on Tuesday he remains 100 percent committed to Notre Dame, where he plans to play football and run track.
Both Justin and Jayson Ademilola were picked to participate in the Final 5 at The Opening Regional in New Jersey on Sunday. The twin Notre Dame commits were designated as two of the five best defensive linemen at the camp to compete against the five best offensive linemen.
But only one, Jayson Ademilola, received an invitation to The Opening Finals this summer. Jayson Ademilola, a 6-3, 288-pound defensive tackle, will join three other Notre Dame commits invited to the national camp at Nike World Headquarters:safety Derrik Allen, cornerback Kalon Gervin and linebacker Ovie Oghoufo.
The Opening will host two more regional camps in North Carolina and California before finalizing the invitation list for 166 of the top college football recruits.