Plenty of drama left for Notre Dame's signing day

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

The early signing period hasn’t cut down on the late drama in Notre Dame’s 2018 recruiting class.

Sure, the Irish don’t have to worry about losing the 21 recruits who signed in December. But there’s plenty of remaining targets left to juggle on National Signing Day.

Notre Dame has set itself up for a few more wins when 2018 recruits can once again submit their letters-of-intent starting Wednesday morning. The Irish appear poised to add at least four more signatures in the class.

Three-star offensive lineman Luke Jones, who verbally committed to Notre Dame on Dec. 27, is the closest thing to a guarantee for the Irish. He’s maintained his pledge to the program despite the departure of offensive line coach Harry Hiestand.

New offensive line coach Jeff Quinn made multiple visits to see Jones, a senior at Little Rock (Ark.) Pulaski Academy, in January to make sure everything was still in line. Jones said Sunday he plans to sign with Notre Dame.

Three more recruits set to make final decisions appear to be on the verge of giving Notre Dame good news: wide receiver Lawrence Keys, running back C’Borius Flemister and cornerback DJ Brown. All three rate as three-star recruits and visited the Irish in January.

Only Keys, who received a scholarship offer last February, has been a long-time target for Notre Dame. The other two reported Irish offers in the last three months. Both have been committed elsewhere recently too.

Brown dropped his pledge to Virginia last week and will sign with either Notre Dame, Northwestern or California. Flemister remains verbally committed to Georgia Tech publicly, but he could make final-day flip to the Irish.

More additions to the class would be welcomed Wednesday, but the Irish are finalists left in tough fights.

Three-star defensive end Derrick Eason, an N.C. State commit from Virginia, has been giving Notre Dame a hard look since receiving an offer and making an official visit in January. A flip would give the Irish only their second defensive end in the class.

Two offensive linemen have continued to consider the Irish as finalists: Nicholas Petit-Frere and Jarrett Patterson.

Petit-Frere, a five-star recruit from Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep, will choose among his five finalists: Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame. Patterson, a four-star recruit according to 247Sports, will pick either a home-state school, UCLA, or Notre Dame.

The Irish have also been named as finalists by four-star cornerback Noah Boykin and four-star linebacker Solomon Tuliaupupu, but they seem likely to sign with Florida and USC, respectively.

If the Irish sign Jones and the three recruits leaning toward Notre Dame, it will still be an unprecedented day for head coach Brian Kelly.

That would push the 2018 class to 25 signees, a total that Kelly hasn’t reached in his Notre Dame tenure. His two biggest classes included 24 recruits in 2013 and 2015.

Three new commitments on signing day would match the total received last year when the Irish landed defensive tackle Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, rover Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and defensive end Kofi Wardlow.

Notre Dame enters National Signing Day with a chance of securing a top 10 class nationally. Rivals ranked the 22-man Irish class at No. 7 on Tuesday. 247Sports slated Notre Dame at No. 11.

Below are the scheduled announcement times for the remaining 2018 recruits listing Notre Dame as finalists. Updates on each decision can be found on NDInsider.com throughout the day.

• DE Derrick Eason, 6-4, 242; Norfolk (Va.) Norview: Eason’s signing ceremony at his school will start at 9 a.m. EST.

• OL Jarrett Patterson, 6-5, 275; Mission Viejo (Calif.) High: Patterson said he will sign from home shortly after 10 a.m. EST.

• OL Nicholas Petit-Frere, 6-6, 260; Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep: ESPNU will carry Petit-Frere’s announcement during the 10 a.m. EST hour.

• WR Lawrence Keys, 5-11, 160; New Orleans McDonogh 35: Keys is scheduled to sign around 11 a.m. EST.

• CB Noah Boykin, 6-2, 168; Washington (D.C.) H.D. Woodson: Boykin said he will sign at 11:30 a.m. EST.

• LB Solomon Tuliaupupu, 6-2, 218; Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei: ESPN2 will carry Tuliaupupu’s announcement around 12:30 p.m. EST.

• CB DJ Brown, 6-1, 183; Washington (D.C.) St. John’s College High: Brown said he will sign with his teammates at 2:30 p.m. EST.

• RB C’Borius Flemister, 6-0, 192; Zebulon (Ga.) Pike County: Flemister has a ceremony scheduled for 5:30 p.m. EST.

tjames@ndinsider.com

574-235-6214

Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Three-star wide receiver Lawrence Keys will sign with Notre Dame, Texas or SMU on Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of Student Sports)