Notebook: Irish to host a handful of recruits this weekend despite frigid weather

Carter Karels
South Bend Tribune

South Bend will endure temperatures in or around the single-digits this weekend. That’s not keeping Notre Dame from hosting a football recruiting event, though.

The Irish plan to welcome a handful of recruits this weekend. ND’s staff has been busy since the contact period began, which lasts from Jan. 11 to Feb. 2. The Irish coaches are also focused on securing the remainder of the 2019 class.

Some recruits couldn’t make the trip because of the weather conditions and/or basketball season. For last month’s junior day, the Irish brought in 12 2020 and 2021 recruits, including Ohio State commit Paris Johnson Jr.  

Another crop of recruits should be on the ND campus for its next junior day, Feb. 23. A few of this weekend's visitors could leave with an offer. 

2020 WR Jordan Johnson, 6-2, 182; St. Louis DeSmet Jesuit: Johnson will make another trip to South Bend, his second since coming for ND’s March 3, 2018 junior day. The Irish have stayed on him since.

Irish offensive coordinator Chip Long even visited Johnson’s school on Jan. 15. Johnson is considered a lean toward the Irish. Alabama, Florida, Arkansas and Auburn have also offered Johnson.

“Jordan is the real deal. He’s a go-to type wide receiver,” said Tom Lemming, a recruiting analyst for CBS Sports Network. “He can run, he’s got great hands and he plays against the best competition in St. Louis…He’s not a super blazer, but he’s got good speed. Notre Dame needs those type of guys that can stretch a defense, and Jordan is a guy who could do that.”

247Sports: Four stars, No. 19 WR, No. 96 overall | Rivals: Four stars, No. 12 WR, No. 51 overall

2021 OT Blake Fisher, 6-6, 295; Avon (Ind.) High: The Irish didn’t wait long to show interest in Fisher, the ninth 2021 recruit to earn an ND offer. He left ND’s Nov. 10 game against Florida State with an offer, and he returned for the Dec. 15 junior day.

Irish offensive line coach Jeff Quinn visited Avon on Dec. 12 to check in on Fisher.

“He’s better than what I thought,” said Lemming, who saw Fisher on Thursday. He’s got super long arms, he’s a big guy that carries his weight well. He’s not super strong yet, so he’s going to keep getting better once he concentrates in the weight room.”

Lemming tweeted a video of Fisher listing his top schools. He first named ND before rattling off Michigan, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State and Florida State. Lemming compared Fisher to former Irish standout Ronnie Stanley, who is now the starting left tackle for the Baltimore Ravens.

 “Stanley was not a really big weight lifter in high school either,” Lemming said. “Once they get to college, and they put on muscle to go with that athletic ability, (Fisher) is a five-star type prospect. He’s very close to being a five-star. As soon as he gets stronger, he will even dominate more.”

247Sports: Four stars, No. 10 OT, No. 88 overall

2021 RB Donovan Edwards, 5-11, 190; West Bloomfield (Mich.) High: Irish head coach Brian Kelly spent this week recruiting in Michigan. One of his stops was West Bloomfield (Mich.) High to check in on Edwards and his teammate, 2020 safety Makari Paige.

Both recruits garnered ND offers after Irish defensive backs coach Todd Lyght visited their school on Dec. 13. Edwards will be making his first visit to South Bend this weekend.

“Donovan is a terrific all-around athlete and another big time player,” Lemming said. “Up in that (Detroit, Mich.) area, he’s one of the best players there.”

Edwards’ impressive offer list includes Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State and Missouri.

247Sports: Four stars, No. 4 RB, No. 69 overall

More final rankings

ND Insider/South Bend Tribune obtained a copy of the January issue of Tom Lemming’s Prep Football Report. Some refer to the magazine as the Bible of college football recruiting. Fifteen of ND’s 21 signees made Lemming’s top 300, and 11 of them made his top 200.

Running back Kyren Williams, a Kirkwood (Mo.) St. John Vianney product, stood out the most. Lemming provided Williams, who enrolled early, a four-star-plus rating and ranked him No. 73 overall. ESPN, 247Sports and Rivals did not list Williams inside their top 200 overall players.

“He shows average size with well above average vision, balance and burst,” Lemming wrote of Williams. “A terrific all-around RB, he can run, catch and block.”

Lemming offered praise for another early enrollee, linebacker Jack Kiser. The Royal Center (Ind.) Pioneer product earned a four-star-plus rating and came in at No. 179 overall. 247Sports raised eyebrows this week after elevating Kiser 481 spots to No. 191 overall.

Kiser led the Panthers to back-to-back IHSAA 1A state titles. Although he became the first 1A player to be named Indiana’s Mr. Football, Kiser did not make the Rivals250 or ESPN’s top 300.

Kyle Hamilton was Lemming’s only Irish signee rated five stars. Lemming ranked the Atlanta Marist safety No. 44 overall. Hamilton also ascended on 247Sports and Rivals, as the sites now slate him at No. 15 and No. 75 overall, respectively.

“He’s a quick-twitch athlete with the closing speed to cover a lot of ground in zone coverage,” Lemming wrote.

Lemming’s top 300 list also included offensive tackle Quinn Carroll (No. 67), center Zeke Correll (No. 83), cornerback Isaiah Rutherford (No. 99), offensive guard John Olmstead (No. 119), defensive tackle Jacob Lacey (No. 132), defensive end NaNa Osafo-Mensah (No. 149), quarterback Brendon Clark (No. 183), safety Litchfield Ajavon (No. 196), defensive tackle Hunter Spears (No. 281), defensive end Howard Cross (No. 284), inside linebacker Osita Ekwonu (No. 294) and offensive tackle Andrew Kristofic (No. 299).

Besides the five-star Hamilton, the 14 other signees earned four-star-plus ratings. Irish 2019 target Isaiah Foskey, a Concord (Calif.) De La Salle product, was Lemming’s No. 178 overall player.

If interested in the magazine, go to tomlemmingprepfootball.com.

West Bloomfield (Mich.) High's Donovan Edwards, a 2021 athlete, reported a Notre Dame offer on Dec. 13, 2018. 

The following recruits are expected to attend Notre Dame's recruiting event this weekend.

2020 target

WR Jordan Johnson

2021 targets

OL Garrett Dellinger

OL Blake Fisher

RB Donovan Edwards

2020 prospects

RB Michael Drennen II

DE Blaise Gunnerson

OL Josh Priebe

2021 prospects

DT Gabriel Rubio

OL David Davidkov

OL Nolan Rucci

LB Jordan Hoskins

CB Daylan Carnell

S A.J. Kirk