Notre Dame making sense for five-star OL Jamaree Salyer
With every visit to Notre Dame, the possibility of Jamaree Salyer signing with the Irish seems more real.
That reality won't change because the five-star offensive guard plans to return to South Bend in September. If the 6-foot-4, 342-pound recruit indeed makes an official visit for Notre Dame’s game against Georgia, it will be his fourth trip to campus.
The Irish have had every opportunity to impress, and Salyer keeps coming back.
“I had a lot of fun,” Salyer said of his last unofficial visit in June. “I got a chance to see the stadium, got a chance to hang out with the guys. It was a great time. It’s the first time I got a chance to go by myself with my parents.”
Salyer’s first two visits came alongside at least one teammate from Atlanta’s Pace Academy. Wide receiver Trey Blount and offensive tackle Andrew Thomas both made trips with him last year. And both are now enrolled at Georgia.
The Bulldogs remain a top contender for Salyer, which may make the game in September that much more important.
“Just see how they play,” Salyer said of what he wants to see when he returns to Notre Dame. “I haven’t been for a game yet. It’s a good opportunity to see two of my top teams play against each other.”
But the winner of the game won’t make that big of a difference. Salyer would like to see both of them have successful seasons.
“I have gotten a chance to see what they’re doing new up there as compared to last year,” Salyer said of Notre Dame. “It’s impressive. I feel like they should win some games this year.”
Salyer might be holding Georgia to a higher standard.
“They had a good season (last year), but they lost a lot of close games,” Salyer said. “I’d like to see them finish games a little more. I’m sure they’re going to have a much different team with the line they just signed, so it’s going to be interesting to see how they implement those guys, how they get accustomed to balling out in that system.”
Notre Dame and Georgia will have to fight off more than each other in Salyer’s recruitment. Virtually any program could use a player of his talent. Salyer has earned his spot as the top-ranked offensive lineman in the 2018 class, according to both Rivals and 247Sports, with dominant camp performances against the best defensive linemen in the country.
Salyer said he plans to make official visits to Clemson and Ohio State, and one of those schools will host him for an unofficial visit in July. This month will also include a return trip to Georgia. Other official visits will be culled from an offer list that includes the likes of Alabama, Stanford, Florida State, Michigan and Oklahoma.
A commitment decision for the U.S. Army All-American won’t come until after his senior season.
Notre Dame will have to wait until September to make its next impression on Salyer, but the Irish had some recruiting advantages working in their favor at The Opening Finals at Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., earlier this month.
One of the camp counselors helping the offensive lineman just so happened to be Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson. The typically reserved Nelson didn’t spend a lot of time recruiting Salyer. He just helped teach him.
“It was definitely cool,” Salyer said. “He helped me out a lot with one-on-ones, especially when a lot of guys wanted to bull rush when we didn’t have pads on. He was just showing me hand placement and things like that. Little key things that I can tell he learned from (offensive line coach Harry) Hiestand, which is really big. If he can digest that and take it from Hiestand, that’s huge. He can pass it on and teach it.”
The camp also included five recruits already committed to Notre Dame. Salyer has known Irish safety commit Derrik Allen since they were in eighth grade. He learned a lot about Notre Dame defensive tackle commit Jayson Ademilola as they squared off in one-on-one drills regularly. Salyer named Ademilola as one of only two defensive linemen that gave him the most trouble at the camp.
Could the two be battling each other in practices in the future? That was part of Ademilola’s pitch to Salyer.
“When I first got here, him and Derrik did this tag team thing. Just telling me what a good opportunity it was,” Salyer said. “How iron would sharpen iron every day. The normal things. I’m definitely listening to it. It makes sense.”