Notre Dame back to hosting recruits on campus for spring football

Carter Karels
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame resumed spring football on Tuesday with practice No. 4 of 15.

That means recruits are back for campus visits. A batch of interesting 2020 and 2021 recruits will trek to South Bend over the weekend. Members of the 2020 class cannot take official visits until April, so all of these March trips are unofficial.

Gilbert (Ariz.) Williams Field’s Noah Nelson, a 2020 offensive tackle, made his first trip to ND and watched its Tuesday practice. 247Sports rates Nelson as a three-star recruit, ranking him as its No. 56 offensive tackle and No. 663 player overall. Rivals tags Nelson as a three-star recruit, slating him as its No. 27 offensive tackle and No. 233 overall player.

Phoenix Pinnacle’s Marcus Libman, a 2020 wide receiver, also made his first ND visit on Tuesday. He’s teammates with Tosh Baker, ND’s top offensive tackle target for 2020. Baker will visit South Bend on March 30. 247Sports rates Libman as a three-star recruit, ranking him as its No. 167 receiver and No. 1,027 overall player.

An array of other players will visit ND before the weekend. The midweek visitors will be surrounded by former Irish stars. ND’s Pro Day on Wednesday will feature a school-record 17 participants.

ND Insider takes a closer look at the midweek recruiting visits. An update on this weekend’s visits will come out later this week.

• 2021 WR Emeka Egbuka, 6-1, 185; Steilacoom (Wash.) High: 247Sports tabs Egbuka as an athlete, however the Irish envision him at wide receiver. Egbuka was more than productive as a sophomore, catching 72 passes for 1,492 yards and 23 touchdowns across 12 games.

Head coach Brian Kelly and Co. have zoomed in on several Pacific Northwest players over the years. They haven’t lured many of them to Notre Dame, however. Only three players from the area signed with the Irish under Kelly: Everett (Wash.) Mariner’s KeiVarae Russell (2012), Abbottsford (B.C., Canada) Secondary’s Chase Claypool (2016) and Tigard (Ore.) High’s Braden Lenzy (2018).

Possessing five-star potential, Egbuka ranks among the top players of the 2021 class. Thursday will mark his first visit to Notre Dame. Alabama, Washington, Florida State, Ohio State and Stanford are among other teams that have offered Egbuka.

“He’s one of the two best players in the Pacific Northwest for 2021,” said Tom Lemming, a recruiting analyst for CBS Sports Network. “Him and the kid from Eastside Cathlolic (defensive tackle J.T. Tuimoloau). These are outstanding athletes. Emeka is a guy who is definitely good enough to play for Notre Dame. Big time talent.”

247Sports: Four stars, No. 2 ATH, No. 38 overall

• 2021 WR Beaux Collins, 6-3, 190; Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco: The Irish lacked speed at wide receiver last season, which cost them against Clemson (a 30-3 loss in the national semifinal). They are hoping that one or more of Braden Lenzy, Lawrence Keys III, Michael Young and Joe Wilkins Jr. will step up into that role for 2019.

Collins resembles a receiver with the speedy skillset ND desires, Lemming said.

“Beaux Collins is big time,” Lemming said. “He’s a true guy — Notre Dame hasn’t been able to land too many true wide receivers. They bring in good ones, but not guys that can spread a defense. He’s one of them that could help spread a defense.

“He’s got big time ability and will only get better. He plays against the best competition in the country. Bosco doesn’t back down from anybody. He would be a true gamebreaker.”

Bosco teammates James Smith (cornerback), Kobe Pepe (defensive end), Earnest Greene (offensive lineman), Kourt Williams (linebacker) and Jake Newman (safety) will join Collins on his Thursday visit. Only Collins among them holds an Irish offer, which he picked up three days after ND’s 24-17 victory over USC last season.

USC, Washington, Oregon, Penn State and LSU are among schools that have offered Collins. He trekked to South Bend last June and impressed at ND’s Elite Skills Camp.

247Sports: Four stars, No. 10 WR, No. 59 overall

Steilacoom (Wash.) High’s Emeka Egbuka, a 2021 receiver, will visit Notre Dame on Thursday.

The following recruits are expected to visit Notre Dame before this weekend. 

March 19 prospects

2020 OL Noah Nelson

2020 WR Marcus Libman 

March 20 prospects

2020 CB Donovan Clark 

March 21 targets

2021 WR Emeka Egbuka

2021 WR Beaux Collins

March 21 prospects

2020 CB Kasen Kinchen

2020 CB James Smith

2020 S Jake Newman

2020 LB Kourt Williams

2020 DE Kobe Pepe

2021 OL Greg Crippen

2022 OT Earnest Greene