Notre Dame rover target Shayne Simon getting pulse of Irish program

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Shayne Simon’s biggest takeaway from his last trip to Notre Dame may have been the most important.

Sure, the four-star rover target appreciated the opportunity to compete in the Irish Invasion in Notre Dame Stadium. Meeting Irish legend Jerome Bettis in the South Bend airport was certainly a highlight.

But the conversations with Notre Dame’s current players mattered most to Simon. After ND's 4-8 season, it’s easy to understand that he may have questions for them to answer.

“I just wanted to see how they felt,” Simon said. “What they thought about things.”

The responses were overwhelmingly positive.

“They love the new coaching staff and the weight program,” Simon said. “They’re excited.”

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Simon answers questions thrown at him concisely. He’s trying to use the same efficiency in the recruiting process. Simon has turned his focus to six schools: Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Notre Dame, UCLA and Nebraska.

Simon said he wants to make his commitment decision before his senior season starts at Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter’s Prep. If that doesn’t happen, he’ll likely end up making more visits.

It’s hard to imagine there’s much left for Simon to learn about Notre Dame after two visits this year, other than seeing a successful rebound season. Simon teams with a pair of Irish defensive line commits, twins Jayson and Justin Ademilola, and St. Peter’s Prep also produced Brandon Wimbush, Notre Dame’s starting quarterback entering the season.

All three have had discussions with Simon about coming to Notre Dame.

“They recruit me, but they’re not bad,” Simon said of the Ademilolas. “They want me to pick the best school for myself.”

“He’s in love with it,” Simon said of Wimbush. “He’s been given the opportunity on the field and off the field to be a better man.”

Notre Dame has made Simon the top priority to fill the rover role in the 2018 class. The demands of the hybrid safety/outside linebacker position mirrors a lot of Simon’s best skills.

Simon, who models himself after Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor, is comfortable playing in coverage and near the line of scrimmage. He intercepted a pass during the 7-on-7 tournament at The Opening Finals at Nike World Headquarters earlier this month.

247Sports slates Simon as the No. 6 outside linebacker in the 2018 class. Rivals ranks him No. 9.

“I kind of play the same position at my school now,” Simon said. “It’s a little bit of everything. It’s a good fit.”

In the coming months, Simon will determine if the whole package at Notre Dame offers a similar fit.

Top247 LB Shayne Simon with an interception. pic.twitter.com/0Ze7Jxx6Vq

— Andrew Ivins (@Andrew_Ivins) July 2, 2017

There was a penalty, but this IS Worth a Post--#SavagePro DB Shayne Simon (@SimonShayne) with the INT at #TheOpening@USCScooppic.twitter.com/xfqmOHMetb

— Scott Schrader (@Scott_Schrader) July 3, 2017

Shayne Simon with another near pick at #TheOpeningpic.twitter.com/1ubiFfRuyI

— Keith Niebuhr (@Keith247Sports) July 3, 2017

tjames@ndinsider.com

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Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Shayne Simon runs drills during Irish Invasion Saturday, June 10, 2017, inside Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend. Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN