Football recruiting season resumes on Notre Dame's campus

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

The first few weeks of the offseason for Notre Dame football have been headlined by subtractions.

The Irish lost their defensive coordinator to Texas A&M, their offensive line coach to the Chicago Bears and several players to the NFL Draft, transfers or dismissals.

Some coaching promotions have been made and other players have decided to return for 2018, but new additions have yet to come. While head coach Brian Kelly works to hire new members of the coaching staff, the Irish are continuing to put the finishing touches on the 2018 recruiting class.

This weekend, Notre Dame will host three recruiting targets: wide receiver Lawrence Keys, offensive tackle Jarrett Patterson and defensive tackle Moro Ojomo.

With 22 recruits signed and offensive lineman Luke Jones verbally committed, the spots available are limited. Each visitor could dictate how the rest of the class unfolds.

Keys, a 5-foot-11, 160-pound product of New Orleans McDonogh 35, has long been a Notre Dame target. The three-star recruit will finally get a chance to see the Irish on an official visit this weekend. Keys, who received an offer last February, has a flight scheduled for Friday night.

Notre Dame already has three wide receivers signed in Micah Jones, Kevin Austin and Braden Lenzy, but Keys could complement that trio as a slot receiver. The Irish will have to fend off late charges from Texas and SMU in order to sign Keys. He plans to visit both schools the next two weekends.

“He’s a very good ball player,” said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. “He’s explosive. He’s a guy that could help them on offense and returning kicks.”

247Sports slates Keys as the No. 68 wide receiver in the 2018 class. Rivals did not include him on its list of the top 100 wide receivers.

Ojomo, a 6-3, 265-pound senior at Katy (Texas) High, has become a late target for Notre Dame and several other programs. His offer from the Irish came a day after the early signing period opened on Dec. 20.

The three-star recruit made his first official visit last weekend at Oklahoma. After Notre Dame hosts him this weekend, Texas, Texas A&M, Oregon, Miami and others will vie for his final visits. Ojomo, who turned 16 in August, could only be scratching the surface of his potential.

“He’s a really good player,” Lemming said. “He had a good senior season. He can keep growing too.”

247Sports slates Ojomo as the No 28 defensive tackle in the class. Rivals ranks him No. 60 at the position.

Patterson, a 6-5, 275-pound offensive tackle from Mission Viejo (Calif.) High, may have the most uncertainty when it comes to his Notre Dame recruitment. He received an offer from the Irish last week a day before offensive line coach Harry Hiestand left the program.

Yet Patterson still set a trip to South Bend. He scheduled a flight for Friday morning following a visit from Irish recruiting coordinator Brian Polian on Wednesday.

Notre Dame entered a recruitment that had been trending in the directions of Michigan and UCLA after Patterson ditched his verbal commitment to Arizona State in December. Patterson has already made official visits to both schools.

“He’s one of the fastest rising guys in Orange County,” Lemming said. “He had a really good senior year. That’s the reason the late offer came in.”

247Sports slates Patterson as a four-star recruit and the No. 16 offensive tackle. Rivals ranks him as a three-star prospect and the No. 34 offensive tackle. 

Three-star wide receiver Lawrence Keys, a 2018 recruit, will visit Notre Dame this weekend. (Photo courtesy of Student Sports)