Notebook: Four-star DE Jacolbe Cowan set to visit Notre Dame

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

The first recruit in the 2020 class to report a Notre Dame offer will be making his first visit to South Bend on Monday.

Jacolbe Cowan, a 6-5, 250-pound defensive end from Charlotte (N.C.) Providence Day, plans to see the Irish as part of his spring break recruiting tour. The sophomore scheduled trips to Penn State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Tennessee to start the week.

Notre Dame picked Cowan to be the first 2020 recruit with an Irish offer last May. Only 24 recruits in the class have reported Notre Dame offers since then.

In addition to all five schools he plans to visit this week, Cowan has offers from the likes of Alabama, Clemson and Georgia. He totaled 87 tackles, 23 for a loss, and 12 sacks in nine games as a sophomore.

247Sports pegs Cowan as a four-star recruit, the No. 3 strongside defensive end and No. 37 overall in the 2020 class.

"He's really good," said CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming. "He's probably the best 2020 kid in North Carolina. He's an outstanding athlete. I gave him five stars last year."

Watson misses visit

Defensive back Kenyatta Watson II's return visit to Notre Dame didn't happen Saturday as previously planned.

Watson wasn't seen at the Irish spring practice Saturday morning, and he later confirmed with ND Insider that he didn't make the trip. Watson said via text message that an accident that backed up traffic prevented him from getting to the airport in time for his flight.

The 6-2, 168-pound junior at Loganville (Ga.) Grayson has been focusing on Notre Dame and Texas ahead of making a commitment decision this spring. Watson is still scheduled to make an official visit to Notre Dame in April.

Rivals rates Watson as a four-star recruit and the No. 13 cornerback in the 2019 class. 247Sports slates him as a three-star recruit and the No. 37 safety.

Oak Park visitors

The Irish also hosted several young prospects from Oak Park (Mich.) High on Saturday.

That group included junior quarterback Dwan Mathis, a three-star recruit, and sophomore offensive lineman Justin Rogers, a four-star recruit. Mathis, a 6-5, 195-pound prospect, has been committed to Michigan State since September. 247Sports slates the 6-4, 280-pound Rogers as the No. 2 offensive guard and No. 54 overall in the 2020 class.

Rogers was joined by junior running back Torriano Richardson (5-10, 173), sophomore wide receiver Maliq Carr (6-5, 210), sophomore defensive tackle prospect Don Price (6-0, 285), and freshman running back Travis Boston (5-10, 180).

James picks OSU

When four-star running back Sampson James committed to Ohio State last week, he followed a trend for the top recruits in Indiana. The junior from Avon (Ind.) High became the latest high-profile recruit to stiff-arm the Irish.

Notre Dame developed a reputation for landing the top recruits in the Hoosier State early in head coach Brian Kelly's tenure, but the Irish haven't signed one of the top five prospects in the state, as ranked by Rivals, since 2015.

That drought may not end in the 2019 recruiting cycle. Notre Dame has offered the top three in-state recruits in the class: James, defensive end George Karlaftis and wide receiver David Bell. Only Bell remains uncommitted. Karlaftis gave his verbal commitment to Purdue in October.

The last three recruiting cycles included Notre Dame missing on linebacker Cameron McGrone (Michigan), running back Markese Stepp (USC), quarterback Hunter Johnson (Clemson), cornerback Russ Yeast (Louisville) and wide receivers Mac Hippenhammer (Penn State) and Austin Mack (Ohio State). The Irish did sign three-star safety Paul Moala from Penn High School in February, but Rivals ranked him as the No. 19 recruit in Indiana.

When Notre Dame last signed a top-five recruit from Indiana, the Irish added three of them in the 2015 class: linebackers Josh Barajas and Asmar Bilal and safety Mykelti Williams. In the three recruiting classes prior to that, Notre Dame signed the top in-state each year: wide receiver Justin Brent (2014), linebacker Jaylon Smith (2013) and quarterback Gunner Kiel (2012).

Of that group, only Smith's career matched his recruiting reputation. And all but Smith and Bilal transferred out of Notre Dame.

tjames@ndinsider.com

574-235-6214

Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Khalid Kareem (53) with teammates during Notre Dame football practice Tuesday, March 20, 2018, inside the Loftus Center at Notre Dame in South Bend. Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN