CB Joe Wilkins Jr. next up in Notre Dame's visitors carousel

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Three straight home games have kept Notre Dame’s coaching staff and the recruiting office plenty busy.

Each Saturday, the visitors list has been a reflection of the game’s magnitude. Many top targets came to see the Irish beat USC and a few more witnessed Notre Dame’s statement win over N.C. State.

This weekend, only one recruit with a Notre Dame offer is expected on campus for the Wake Forest game: 2018 cornerback Joe Wilkins Jr.

With Wilkins making the only official visit, the Irish coaching staff will have a great opportunity to size him up and figure out where he stands in Notre Dame’s uncertain cornerback future.

With cornerback being their biggest remaining need in the 2018 class, the Irish already have hosted five targets at the position this season: Kyler Gordon, Kalon Gervin, Tariq Bracy, Alontae Taylor and Noah Boykin. Two more official visitors from this season — Julius Irvin and B.J. Crim — could play cornerback or safety.

Of those seven recruits, only Gervin, a former commit, seems unlikely to sign with Notre Dame’s class. The other six have continued to show high interest in the Irish.

So where does Wilkins fit in the picture? That’s something the Irish will have a better understanding of after this weekend.

The 6-foot-1, 175-pound product of North Fort Myers (Fla.) High reported a Notre Dame offer in May. While Wilkins has been projected as wide receiver — 247Sports slates him as a three-star recruit and the No. 148 wide receiver in the 2018 class — the Irish see a potential defensive back.

Notre Dame will be the first official visit for Wilkins. He has future visits set for N.C. State and Kentucky and also has been considering Michigan State, Iowa State and South Florida.

Notre Dame’s seemingly endless search for cornerbacks appears to be narrowing toward a conclusion, but the Irish still have uncertainty at a position with no commitments and no freshmen on the current roster. The next few weeks will be crucial in identifying which cornerbacks to keep pursuing and whether more offers are needed to fill the need.

Names to watch

The rest of Notre Dame’s expected visitors are prospects in the 2019 and 2020 classes. A few could end up with Irish offers in the future. These three 2019 recruits, according to CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, could be the best bets.

• DL Steven Faucheux, 6-4, 279; West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West: The state of Ohio has a number of talented defensive linemen in the 2019 class. Faucheux is near the top of that list.

The four-star recruit already has received offers from Alabama, Florida, Penn State, Pittsburgh and Louisville, among others. Faucheux made an unofficial visit to Notre Dame in April and returned to camp with the Irish in June.

“He’s one of the best players in the Midwest,” Lemming said. “He’s a dynamic pass rusher and excellent against the run. He’s a four-plus-star recruit that has five-star potential.”

247Sports slates Faucheux as the No. 9 strongside defensive end in the 2019 class. Rivals ranks him No. 10 at the position.

• OL Bryan Hudson, 6-4, 278; Georgetown (Ky.) Scott County: A year ago, Hudson attended Notre Dame’s home game against Stanford. Since then, he’s emerged as a coveted offensive tackle prospect.

Hudson, a four-star recruit, has added offers from the likes of Ohio State, Alabama, Florida, Louisville and Virginia Tech.

“He’s very good,” Lemming said. “He’s one of the better offensive linemen in the South. They might offer him when he gets there.”

247Sports slates Hudson as the No. 25 offensive tackle in the class. Rivals ranks him No 26.

• DE Beau Robbins, 6-4, 238; Carmel (Ind.) High: Notre Dame has yet to make a move on Robbins with an offer, but other programs in the region have. The four-star recruit already has Indiana, Purdue, Michigan State, Louisville and Minnesota on his offer list. Robbins last visited Notre Dame in April.

“I like Beau a lot,” Lemming said. “He’s a guy that Notre Dame could eventually offer. I don’t know if they’ll do it now, but Beau’s a pretty good player. Indiana has some really good players in 2019. Beau has some talent. He’s not super fast, but very aggressive and very hardworking.”

Rivals ranks Robbins as the No. 5 weakside defensive end in the class. 247Sports slates him 16th at the position.

Eye on 2020

Two of Notre Dame’s visitors in the 2020 class already have received some acclaim.

• LB Jaylyn Allen, 6-2, 215; Paintsville (Ky.) High: 247Sports pegs Allen as a four-star recruit and the No. 7 outside linebacker in the 2020 class.

• WR Lavon Bunkley-Shelton, 5-11, 168; Gardena (Calif.) Serra: The product of a California powerhouse already has reported offers from Oregon, Utah, Nebraska, TCU, BYU and Nevada.


The following recruits are expected to attend Saturday's game against Wake Forest.

2018 target

CB Joe Wilkins Jr.*

*denotes official visit

2019 target

CB Cam'Ron Kelly

2018 prospect

WR Kory Taylor

2019 prospects

P Jay Bramblett

WR Joseph Carter

OL Andrew Coker

DL Steven Faucheux

DE Michael Fletcher

S Marcus Fuqua

S Kyle Hamilton

OL Bryan Hudson

DT Adarious Jones

DE Mosai Newsom

CB Joey Porter Jr.

DE Beau Robbins

LB Ricardo Watson III

2020 prospects

LB Jaylyn Allen

RB Kalii Bradford

WR Lavon Bunkley-Shelton

OL Jimmy Christ

LB Cameron Hunter

OL Jakob James

RB Jacob Saffold

QB Tee Webb

OL Trey Wedig

WR Jasiah Williams | 574-235-6214 | Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Joe Wilkins Jr. could play either cornerback or wide receiver at Notre Dame. (Photo courtesy of Rivals)