Notre Dame football taking recruiting momentum into big visit weekend

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

The momentum for Notre Dame football recruiting couldn’t be any clearer.

With the Irish set to host their biggest recruiting weekend of June, the program added three commitments this week: four-star linebacker Osita Ekwonu and three-star linebacker Jack Kiser in the 2019 class and four-star tight end Kevin Bauman in the 2020 class.

Making sure the eight official visitors expected on campus this weekend feel that momentum will almost certainly be part of the recruiting pitch from Notre Dame’s coaching staff.

The Irish already have hosted one successful official visit weekend for the 2019 class in April. That event eventually produced commitments from Ekwonu and four-star defensive end NaNa Osafo-Mensah. Part of their visits included a trip to head coach Brian Kelly’s lake house. A return there this weekend should be expected.

Notre Dame adjusted its summer recruiting schedule after the NCAA adopted new rules that allowed recruits to take official visits before their senior year starts. The plan has run smoothly so far.

CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said the Irish have put together a smart plan in getting recruits, who are eyeing an early decision, on campus before their senior seasons.

“I like their in-house recruiting,” Lemming said. (Director of player personnel) Dave Peloquin, (coordinator of recruiting operations) Aaryn Kearney and those guys behind the scenes have done an excellent job of organizing. I go see everybody, and Notre Dame is one of the better organized schools right now in the country.”

Notre Dame’s list of expected official visitors includes a variety of talented players at positions the Irish have continued to address.

“It’s a good list,” Lemming said. “Everybody on the list is a good player, and some of them, like (offensive linemen) Saleem Wormley and Zeke Correll, are outstanding players.”

Here’s a closer look at the eight rising seniors set to visit the Irish this weekend.

l QB Brendon Clark, 6-2, 213; Midlothian (Va.) Manchester: Notre Dame worked quietly in identifying its next 2019 quarterback target in the last month. After Clark, a three-star recruit, ditched his commitment to Wake Forest last weekend, he acknowledged that the Irish offered him in late May.

Notre Dame has been in search of a 2019 quarterback since Cade McNamara left Notre Dame’s class in early March. Only two quarterbacks have reported Irish offers since then: Clark and Wisconsin commit Graham Mertz.

Clark visited Clemson this past weekend and has a Tennessee visit scheduled for the following weekend.

As a junior at Manchester, Clark completed 165 of his 272 passes (61 percent) for 2,106 yards and 28 touchdowns with four interceptions. He also rushed 130 times for 728 yards and 12 touchdowns.

247Sports slates Clark as the No. 17 pro-style quarterback in the 2019 class. Rivals ranks him No. 23 at the position.

l OL Zeke Correll, 6-4, 280; Cincinnati Anderson: When Correll arrives on campus, it will be his third visit to Notre Dame this year. The four-star recruit previously visited in March and April and also attended the N.C. State game in October.

The Irish are competing with Ohio State, Stanford and Clemson. Correll named all four as his top schools in May. He made an official visit earlier this month and plans to visit Ohio State next weekend.

247Sports slates Correll as the No. 5 offensive guard in the 2019 class. Rivals ranks him No. 12.

l OL Saleem Wormley, 6-3, 318; Smyrna (Del.) High: Adding Correll and Wormley could complete Notre Dame’s offensive line class for 2019. Offensive line coach Jeff Quinn already has collected commitments from Quinn Carroll, John Olmstead and Andrew Kristofic.

Wormley, who received an offer in February, would also add an interior presence to the class like Correll. Rivals rates him as a four-star recruit and the No. 6 offensive guard. 247Sports pegs him as a three-star recruit and the No. 28 guard.

Wormley has narrowed his focus to Notre Dame, Penn State and Rutgers with a commitment decision planned for July 23. Wormley will be making his first trip to South Bend. He visited Penn State twice in April.

l LB Asa Turner, 6-4, 201; Carlsbad (Calif.) High: Defensive coordinator Clark Lea isn’t finished recruiting linebackers after the commitments of Kiser and Ekwonu. Turner received an offer from the Irish in May and will make his first trip to campus.

The versatile defender returned three interceptions for touchdowns in his junior season. He also caught 29 passes for 353 yards and four touchdowns.

247Sports slates Turner as a four-star recruit and the No. 16 athlete, a designation for recruits who can play multiple positions. Rivals rates him as a three-star athlete.

Turner has garnered national attention with offers from USC, Michigan, Oregon, Washington, Nebraska and others.

l RB Kyren Williams, 5-10, 187; Kirkwood (Mo.) St. John Vianney: The three-star recruit has emerged as one of Notre Dame’s top running back targets in the 2019 class. The Irish have yet to add a running back commitment.

Williams attended Notre Dame’s Irish Invasion camp last June. He received a Notre Dame offer in January after rushing for 922 yards and 22 touchdowns and catching 51 passes for 774 yards and 12 touchdowns in his junior season. He returned to Notre Dame for an unofficial visit shortly after the offer.

In May, Williams put Notre Dame in his top eight alongside: Missouri, Michigan, Stanford, Illinois, Nebraska, Iowa and Michigan State.

247Sports slates Williams as the No. 19 running back. Rivals rates him as three-star athlete.

l CB DJ Turner II, 5-11, 170; Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett: When Notre Dame offered Turner in May of 2017, the Irish had yet to receive a commitment in the 2019 class. Now the Irish are close to wrapping up defensive back recruiting for the cycle.

Will Turner decide to join fellow Georgia cornerback K.J. Wallace at Notre Dame? A planned June 25 decision won’t leave the Irish waiting for long on the three-star recruit.

Before visiting Notre Dame in April, Turner put Notre Dame in his top 11 with Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Stanford, Clemson, Penn State, Oklahoma, LSU and Florida. He made an official visit to Florida in May and plans to visit Michigan next weekend.

247Sports slates Turner as the No. 41 cornerback in the class. Rivals ranks him No. 43.

l DE Aenas DiCosmo, 6-3, 220; Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic: Notre Dame’s competition for DiCosmo was defined in May when he named a top five of Stanford, Clemson, Michigan, Northwestern and the Irish. Notre Dame will get its chance to separate itself from the pack this weekend.

DiCosmo, who received a Notre Dame offer in April, recorded 56 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss, nine sacks and one fumble returned for a touchdown in his junior season. The former Irish Invasion attendee made a trip to Stanford in May.

247Sports slates DiCosmo as the No. 54 weakside defensive end in the 2019 class. Rivals rates him as a three-star outside linebacker.

l DE David Ojabo, 6-5, 233; Blairstown (N.J.) Blair Academy: The three-star recruit has been busy in June with trips to Texas A&M, Syracuse, Penn State and Virginia. Next up: Notre Dame.

The Irish offered Ojabo in April. Ohio State, Clemson, Texas A&M and Michigan State have followed suit. Ojabo’s first football season came last year at Blair Academy where he teamed with Penn State defensive end signee Jayson Oweh, a former Irish recruiting target.

247Sports slates Ojabo as the No. 36 strongside defensive end.

Three-star quarterback Brendon Clark, a 2018 recruit, will make an official visit to Notre Dame this weekend.