Notre Dame bringing in more recruiting talent for final home game

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

The forecasted rain for Saturday won’t prevent Notre Dame from hosting one last recruiting weekend this football season.

The Irish will host a handful of coveted recruits for the final home game of the season against Navy.

Only one 2018 recruit will be making an official visit: four-star linebacker Payton Wilson. The 6-foot-4, 217-pound product of Hillsborough (N.C.) Orange has been committed to North Carolina since May, but he has kept his options open as the Tar Heels (2-8) have struggled this season.

Wilson, who plans to graduate in December, made an official visit to N.C. State earlier this month. His senior season ended in October with a torn ACL.

The Irish already have three commitments at linebacker in the 2018 class plus Shayne Simon at rover, but they haven’t stopped recruiting at the position. Wilson is the caliber of player worth reaching out to for a late push. Notre Dame originally offered Wilson in February.

“He’s an excellent player,” said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. “This is a big-time linebacker. They already have a great group of linebackers coming in. He could really add to that list. He’s a major talent.”

247Sports slates Wilson as the No. 4 outside linebacker in the 2018 class. Rivals ranks him No. 7 at the position.

The Irish will host another 2018 target for the second time this season: three-star tight end Tommy Tremble.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound recruit made an official visit to Notre Dame for the 49-14 win over Southern California in October. He’s returning this weekend for an unofficial visit with a close friend. Tremble also visited Notre Dame in June.

Will the third time be the charm for the Irish? Notre Dame has been working to pair a commitment from Tremble with tight end pledge George Takacs.

“He’s as good as George Takacs,” Lemming said. “Neither one is great. But they’re both good, solid tight ends. Notre Dame is Tight End U so you’d think they’d have a good chance with Tommy Tremble.”

Tremble had been working with six top schools: Notre Dame, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, UCLA and Fresno State. The Irish and Bulldogs seem to have separated themselves from the pack in Tremble’s recruitment. Michigan, where Tremble has an official visit scheduled next weekend, has also been receiving consideration.

Tremble’s father, Greg, played at Georgia. The Bulldogs hosted Tommy Tremble for victories over Missouri and South Carolina this season. The last time Tremble visited Notre Dame, he was walking around campus on crutches for his broken left ankle.

247Sports slates Tremble as the No. 16 tight end in the 2018 class. Rivals ranks Tremble as the No. 21 tight end.

2019 targets

In addition to the top targets visiting in the 2018 class, Notre Dame will host four 2019 recruits who already have received offers from the Irish.

• DE Zach Harrison, 6-5, 238; Lewis Center (Ohio) Olentangy Orange: 247Sports has already deemed Harrison as a five-star recruit at No. 3 overall in the 2019 class. He’s been on the national recruiting radar for quite some time.

Notre Dame extended an offer to Harrison a year ago. He was one of only a few 2019 recruits asked to compete at The Opening this past summer.

Harrison has previously visited Notre Dame, but he will be making his first trip to see the Irish play this season.

“He’s one of the best players in the country,” Lemming said. “He’s close to being a five-star player. Notre Dame would love to get him. He may be the best player in Ohio even with the 2018 class. He’s definitely one of them, and he’s only a junior.

“This could be a (defensive line coach) Mike Elston special. This is a guy that could really help their defensive line.”

Rivals rates Harrison as a four-star recruit and ranks him as the No. 2 strongside defensive end and No. 9 overall in the class. Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Georgia are among the long list of schools to have already offered Harrison.

• DE Cade Stover, 6-4, 230; Lexington (Ohio) High: The four-star recruit has drawn plenty of attention from outside of his home state. Notre Dame offered Stover in June when the Irish joined a list that now includes the likes of Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Wisconsin and Michigan State.

“He’s outstanding. One of the best linebackers in the country,” Lemming said. “He’s definitely going to be a Butkus Award nominee next year.

“He has length and great feet. He can really run for a tall kid. He makes a lot of plays. If you watch game film on him, it looks like a highlight film. He’s in on every play. He’s a Notre Dame type of kid.”

Stover could fit in Notre Dame’s defense in a role similar to sophomore defensive end Daelin Hayes, who also played linebacker in high school.

247Sports slates Stover as the No. 5 outside linebacker in the class. Rivals ranks him as the No. 6 weakside defensive end.

• OL John Olmstead, 6-5, 280; Metuchen (N.J.) St. Joseph: The four-star recruit received a Notre Dame offer during a visit in June. He will return on Saturday to watch the Irish play in person.

“John’s a no-brainer. He’s one of the top five offensive linemen in the country,” Lemming said. “He’s a remarkably strong, athletic and gifted guy with tremendous work habits and technique. I was really impressed with him.”

Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Wisconsin and Penn State have also been impressed with Olmstead. They have all extended him offers.

Rivals ranks Olmstead as the No. 8 offensive tackle in the 2019 class. 247Sports slates him No. 32 at the position.

• DT Rodas Johnson, 6-3, 280; Columbus (Ohio) St. Francis DeSales: The Irish are chasing another four-star recruit from Ohio in Johnson. Notre Dame extended an offer to Johnson in June following a camp performance.

“He’s another one of the best players in the state," Lemming said. "He may be the best player in Columbus. He’s an outstanding athlete on the defensive line.”

Johnson also has offers from Penn State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Pittsburgh and West Virginia, among others. 

247Sports slates Johnson as the No. 14 defensive tackle in the class. Rivals ranks him as the No. 5 offensive guard.


The following recruits are expected to attend Saturday's Notre Dame game against Navy.

2018 targets

LB Payton Wilson*

TE Tommy Tremble

*denotes official visit

2019 targets

DE Zach Harrison

DT Rodas Johnson

OL John Olmstead

LB Cade Stover


2018 S Paul Moala

2019 DT Jacob Lacey

2018 prospects

S Chris Cavalaris

LB Michael DeWeese

P Collin Flintoft

WR Jayden Frazier

K Andy Han

2019 prospects

P Colton Alexander

S Jase Bowen

OL Justin Britt

OL Nick Broeker

S Dean Ferguson

LB Richie Hagarty

LB Leonard Henry

DE Marcus Hicks

OL Danielson Ike

WR Jalen Jennings

ROV Casey Kline

DE Cole Mashburn

WR Maurice Massey

S Jared Pedraza

WR Darien Porter

OL Jake Remsburg

 S Bryson Shaw

OL Joe Tippmann

CB Kortez Toles

K Chris VanEekeren

LB Ricardo Watson III

WR Ja’Markis Weston

DT Elijah Wroten

2020 prospects

WR Jahmal Banks

RB Tavion Banks

QB Deven Bollinger

S Lejond Cavazos

DT Jason Eaton

WR Tommy Guajardo

WR Lamumba Howard Jr.

OL Blake Hundley

DE Jacob Kaminski

QB Connor Katz

OL Jackson Riley

OL Jalen Rivers

OL Omari Thomas

DT Denver Warren

QB Christian Welch

S R.J. Wells

TE Ethan West

DE Chantz Williams


Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Notre Dame tight end target Tommy Tremble, a 2018 recruit, walks around campus before the University of Southern California at Notre Dame football game. (Tribune Photo/MICHAEL CATERINA)