Notre Dame needs delay from four-star OL Will Craig

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

BEAVERTON, Ore. — Will Craig would like to finish the recruiting process sooner rather than later.

The four-star offensive tackle isn’t a big fan of the constant communication with coaches that comes with being a coveted prospect. So as soon as Craig feels comfortable with a decision, he’s going to make it.

The 6-foot-5, 276-pound recruit was almost certain it would be coming soon, then a Notre Dame offer came on June 11.

“I was kind of getting ready and then it came in,” Craig said. “It did kind of delay it a bit.”

Now Craig isn’t entirely sure that he can make a decision before his senior season as originally planned. With an unofficial visit in July or August unlikely, a potential trip to Notre Dame would come as an official visit. The Irish have become the wrench, and Craig’s still searching for the right fix.

“I may be looking for some officials later on,” Craig said. “I’m not sure what those are going to be. If I don’t commit by then, I’m thinking about an early commitment, but if not I'll take all five officials.”

Any delay in Craig’s recruitment opens the door for the Irish to become a contender. Notre Dame’s 2018 class already has a pair of offensive line commitments — John Dirksen and Cole Mabry — but the need for more help still exists at tackle, guard, and maybe even center.

Offensive line coach Harry Hiestand has kept his list of offered targets relatively short and only a handful of those linemen continue to show interest in the Irish. That makes Craig’s decision dilemma even more important for Notre Dame.

Rivals ranks Craig as the No. 14 offensive tackle in the 2018 class. 247Sports slates him 20th at the position.

Craig has already seen most of the schools in contention for his commitment. He made spring break trips to Oregon, Utah and Colorado. He visited California earlier this summer, and he has Washington and Washington State trips coming up soon.

Oregon has been pushing for Craig the hardest. The Ducks have even offered his Granite Bay (Calif.) High teammate, three-star linebacker Evan Tattersall.

“It’s definitely something that makes the deal a lot better for me, being able to go to school with a teammate and a good friend of mine,” Craig said. “That would be awesome, but we’ve also said if we feel different, we’ll go our separate ways.”

Special teams coordinator Brian Polian and Hiestand are tasked with trying to pull Craig to South Bend. They received an assist at The Opening Finals in the past few days with Irish offensive guard Quenton Nelson working the camp at Nike World Headquarters as a college counselor. Craig was named one of the top six offensive linemen at the event.

“Just the history of the school,” Craig said of what has sparked his interest in Notre Dame. “And then coach Hiestand’s one of the best coaches. One of the coaches here (Nelson) plays for him right now, so it’s been great to talk to him. He’s said nothing but great things about coach Hiestand.”

Will the recruiting pitch be enough to get Craig on Notre Dame’s campus? The Irish will need to keep pushing hard to counter his desire to end the recruiting process.

“It’s kind of getting tedious,” Craig said. “It will be nice to be able to get it done with.”

tjames@ndinsider.com

574-235-6214

Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Four-star offensive tackle Will Craig is considering dragging out his recruitment to make an official visit to Notre Dame. (Tribune Photo/TYLER JAMES)