Four-star rover prospect Shayne Simon commits to Notre Dame

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

Shayne Simon followed a weathered path westward from Jersey City, N.J., to Notre Dame.

One of Simon's predecessors at St. Peter's Preparatory School — Brandon Wimbush — is set to embark on his first season as the starting quarterback in South Bend this fall. Two of his defensive teammates — 2018 four-star defensive tackle Jayson Ademilola and three-star defensive end Justin Ademilola — have been verbally committed to the school for more than a year.

On Tuesday, Simon — a 6-foot-3, 210-pound outside linebacker that projects as a rover in Irish defensive coordinator Mike Elko's 4-2-5 system — followed suit, becoming Notre Dame's 14th verbal commit in the 2018 class.

"I want to offer gratitude to God, my family, friends, teammates and coaches for all their support," Simon tweeted on Tuesday. "I want to thank all the tremendous coaches who I have met along this journey and to thank them for their time, insights and inspirations.

"After a long and difficult deliberation, I am excited to announce that I have decided to attend the University of Notre Dame."

But this commitment, it seems, is not like all the others. Simon is a consensus four-star prospect, regarded as the No. 8 outside linebacker in the country and the No. 115 overall prospect in the 2018 class by 247Sports, as well as the No. 9 outside linebacker and the No. 138 overall recruit by Rivals.

"He's got terrific skills," said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. "He and the (Ademilola) twins are three guys that can really benefit Notre Dame's defense. Shayne's got great instincts. He's built like a college player already. I was very impressed with him. He's a Notre Dame type of kid.

"They haven't brought in a defender like this in a while. I think he really goes in the elite group and is really close to being a five-star ball player. He could become one at the end of this season."

Indeed, Simon was Notre Dame's premier 2018 target at Elko's distinctive rover position, which serves as a hybrid linebacker/safety. Senior captain Drue Tranquill is the favorite to start at the rover spot this fall, while 6-2, 188-pound freshman Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah also signed last February and is presumably being groomed for the role.

"Them D-Boys at it again!!!" an understandably exuberant Elko tweeted on Tuesday night. "Building something special in South Bend!!! Who's Next (?)"

Simon chose Notre Dame over scholarship offers from the likes of Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio State, Penn State, Stanford, UCLA, Wisconsin and many more.

Tuesday's news further elevates an already booming recruiting week for Notre Dame. Three-star North Carolina running back Jahmir Smith — a 5-11, 198-pound product — announced his verbal commitment on Sunday.

In the wake of Tuesday's commitment, Notre Dame's 14-man 2018 class is ranked ninth nationally by Rivals and 10th by 247Sports. Only Texas (fourth on 247Sports, seventh on Rivals) has 14 or fewer commitments while still maintaining a top-10 ranking.

Simon last visited South Bend for the Irish Invasion camp on June 10, and it now appears he'll make many more visits in the future. 

One thing is certain: he won't have to travel alone.

"There's something going on at that Prep School in Jersey City!" Wimbush tweeted in reference to Simon on Tuesday night. "Too many great PEOPLE/ATHLETES! Congratulations my guy".

pic.twitter.com/DgEdxeAE60

— Shayne Simon (@SimonShayne) July 25, 2017

Them D-Boys at it again!!! Building something special in South Bend!!! Who's Next #IrishBouND18#FightClub19

— Coach Mike Elko (@CoachMikeElko) July 25, 2017

#WeAreND

— Brian Kelly (@CoachBrianKelly) July 25, 2017

☘️☘️☘️☘️ Irish 2018 class taking over https://t.co/ekHb9lGwY6

— Derrik Allen (@DsmoothAllen) July 25, 2017

#1 Defense in the 2018 class...

For you Irish ☘️.

— Ovie Oghoufo (@OvieOghoufo) July 25, 2017

We not finished yet ... come be great with us boys we ready for y'all whenever @TheThomasBooker@JaysonOweh@JackLamb_

— #55GoLive (@Jamion_Franklin) July 25, 2017

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Ready for the 2017 Notre Dame football season? Find features, position breakdowns, recruiting roundups and more inside the ND Insider season preview magazine. Grab your copy today at ndinsider.com/buythemag. 

Shayne Simon runs drills during Irish Invasion Saturday, June 10, 2017, inside Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend. Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN
Former Irish running back Jerome Bettis (second from right) takes a photo with Notre Dame rover target Shayne Simon (far left), defensive end commit Justin Ademilola and defensive tackle commit Jayson Ademilola as they arrive in South Bend for the Irish Invasion. (Photo provided)
Shayne Simon runs drills during Irish Invasion Saturday, June 10, 2017, inside Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend. Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN
Shayne Simon runs drills during Irish Invasion Saturday, June 10, 2017, inside Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend. Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN