Notebook: Notre Dame's poaching season starts with offer to Maryland commit

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

The unofficial start of poaching season came Monday night for Notre Dame football.

It happens near the end of every recruiting cycle. As the Irish coaching staff examines its current recruiting class, it starts to identify where other offers need to be made. That typically results in Notre Dame targeting recruits already committed to other schools.

On Monday, four-star cornerback Noah Boykin reported a Notre Dame offer. He’s been verbally committed to Maryland’s 2018 class since July.

The offer makes sense for the Irish. Cornerback has been a constant area of need since Stanford and California took Paulson Adebo and Elijah Hicks from Notre Dame’s class in the final month of the 2017 recruiting cycle. After signing zero cornerbacks in the 2017 class, the Irish currently sit with zero cornerback commitments in the 2018 class.

The 6-foot-2, 168-pound Boykin sports an impressive offer list beyond Maryland. Before committing to the Terrapins, he collected offers from Clemson, Georgia, Michigan, Oklahoma and USC. But Boykin, a senior at Washington (D.C.) H.D. Woodson, has decided to pursue a college career closer to home.

That won’t stop the Irish from trying to change Boykin’s mind. Maryland was a target of Notre Dame’s poaching in January. The Irish convinced kicker Jonathan Doerer and defensive end Kofi Wardlow to flip their commitments from the Terrapins and sign with Notre Dame. Five of the last six recruits to commit to Notre Dame’s 2017 class were committed elsewhere first.

Even though Notre Dame has waited until now to offer Boykin, he doesn’t necessarily fall into the Plan B category. He’s a talented player, and his offer list reflects that.

“What they should have done is go after Noah a while back,” said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. “He’s a tweener, but he’s a good ball player. I like him. He moves well and runs well.”

Boykin’s size could allow him to become a big corner like Notre Dame sophomore Donte Vaughn or transition to safety in college. He also caught 25 passes for 485 yards in his junior season.

Rivals ranks Boykin as the No. 24 cornerback in the 2018 class. 247Sports slates him 25th at the position.

The Irish have also been busy recruiting younger players this week. The following four recruits reported Notre Dame offers.

• 2019 QB Paul Tyson, 6-4, 210; Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.) High: The Irish already have a quarterback commitment in the 2019 class with Cade McNamara. Is Tyson, a three-star recruit, a backup plan or will the Irish push for two quarterbacks in the class?

Notre Dame hasn’t signed more than one quarterback in a class since 2010, when Brian Kelly took over as head coach in the final months of the recruiting cycle. But with offensive coordinator Chip Long and quarterbacks coach Tommy Rees in their first year with the program, maybe the Irish want to try something different.

Only time will tell how serious of a candidate Tyson is for the Irish. He’s certainly familiar with Notre Dame. He made an unofficial visit in April and returned in June for the Irish Invasion.

Tyson, the great-grandson of legendary Alabama coach Bear Bryant, already has offers from USC, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Duke, Kentucky and others.

In the first three games of his junior season, Tyson completed 50 of his 64 pass attempts for 703 yards and seven touchdowns with one interception.

Rivals ranks Tyson as the No. 11 pro-style quarterback in the 2019 class. McNamara is pegged as a four-star recruit and the No. 6 pro-style quarterback.

• 2019 WR Kyle Ford, 6-2, 200; Orange (Calif.) Lutheran: The Irish have kept a close eye on recruits in California. Ford became one of the latest to receive a scholarship offer from Notre Dame.

The four-star recruit has been productive at two different schools. As a sophomore at Anaheim (Calif.) Servite, he caught 52 passes for 950 yards and six touchdowns. Through the first three games of his junior season at Orange Lutheran, Ford has recorded 20 receptions for 355 yards and three touchdowns.

With offers from USC, UCLA, Washington, Michigan and Georgia, Ford became a national recruit prior to Notre Dame’s offer. Rivals ranks Ford as the No. 15 wide receiver in the 2019 class. 247Sports slates him No. 28.

• 2019 ATH Jeremiah Criddell, 6-1, 180; Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) High: Notre Dame sent Criddell a customized recruiting graphic on the first day of allowed contact in the 2019 class earlier this month. Now the Irish have extended a scholarship offer.

Criddell, who plays cornerback and wide receiver, already has received offers from the likes of Alabama, USC, Utah, Oregon and Washington. The four-star recruit caught 13 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns in the first three games of his junior season.

Rivals ranks Criddell as the No. 6 cornerback in the 2019 class. 247Sports slates him No. 14 at the position.

• 2020 S Jadarius McKnight, 6-0, 186; Fort Myers (Fla.) Dunbar: Notre Dame became only the fourth school from which McKnight has claimed a scholarship. The Irish followed Tennessee, Oregon State and Southern Miss on the sophomore’s offer list.

McKnight has yet to receive a star rating from Rivals and 247Sports.


Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Four-star cornerback Noah Boykin, a 2018 Maryland commit, reported a Notre Dame offer Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Student Sports)