Notebook: Notre Dame hosting Jordan Botelho, Jalen McMillan for Blue-Gold Game

Carter Karels
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame will host only a few 2020 recruiting targets for its spring football game this weekend. 

Saturday's Blue-Gold Game conflicts with other spring games at schools like Oklahoma, Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama and more.

Defensive end Jordan Botelho, receiver Jalen McMillan and offensive lineman Zak Zinter are the 2020 recruits with Notre Dame offers visiting South Bend. 

However, all three four-star recruits rank high on ND’s recruiting board. They will soak in the Irish scrimmage, which begins at 12:30 p.m. EDT in Notre Dame Stadium. NBCSN will broadcast ND's 15th and final practice session this spring. 

Last weekend was the first on the 2019 recruiting calendar that allowed official visits for high school juniors. The Irish welcomed eight official visitors. One of them was wide receiver Jordan Johnson, who committed on Saturday.

Notre Dame hosts one official visitor this weekend in Botelho. His first ND trip began Friday and ends Sunday.

DE Jordan Botelho, 6-3, 220; Honolulu St. Louis High: Though recruiting sites designate Botelho as a linebacker, the Irish are recruiting him as a drop defensive end.

“Yes, he can play defensive end,” said Tom Lemming, a recruiting analyst for CBS Sports Network. “But for now, he’s better suited at outside or inside linebacker. He’s physical, he’s aggressive, he runs well. He’s not a super fast guy, but he runs well. He makes a lot of plays. He’s a playmaker.”

Botelho does not put his hand on the ground but often comes off the edge. His solid production places him as 247Sports’ No. 2 inside linebacker and No. 34 overall player. Rivals slates Botelho as its No. 24 outside linebacker.

Special teams coordinator Brian Polian — who has found recruiting success in Hawaii — played a major role in luring Botelho to campus. Washington, California, Oregon and UCLA are among schools that have offered Botelho. 

WR Jalen McMillan, 6-2, 180; Fresno (Calif.) San Joaquin Memorial: Not many receivers have been as productive as McMillan. He’s caught 151 passes for 3,211 yards and 40 touchdowns over the last two seasons.

247Sports honored that production by ranking McMillan as its No. 4 receiver and No. 30 overall player. Rivals slates him as its No. 15 receiver and No. 73 overall player. 

“He’s a premiere athlete,” Lemming said. “A guy who can really run, track star. Big time football kid. He’s a premiere player. A five-star player, really. A guy that can spread a defense, which is what Notre Dame needs.”

Baseball could factor into McMillan’s decision. He accrued offers from schools like USC, California and Oregon. His football offer list looks just as impressive, with teams like Oklahoma and Washington also in the mix.

McMillan arrived Thursday night and will depart Sunday. He told the Tribune he plans to take visits to Oregon and Washington soon and announce a commitment on his Dec. 7 birthday.

South Bend, Indiana

— Jalen McMillan (@jalenmcmillan20) April 12, 2019

OL Zak Zinter, 6-6, 300; Cambridge (Mass.) Buckingham Browne & Nichols: Zinter’s return comes not even a month after his last ND visit. He came to campus on March 22.

Zinter also plans to take an ND official visit on June 21-23. That’s figuring to be a major official visit weekend for the Irish.

With offers from Ohio State, Boston College, Michigan, Auburn and more, Zinter ranks as 247Sports’ No. 28 offensive tackle and No. 321 overall player. Rivals tags Zinter as its No. 16 offensive tackle and No. 147 overall player.

The Irish have no offensive lineman committed to their 2020 class. However, a few recruits could beat Zinter to the punch. The following recruits project as tackles and consider ND high on their list: Colorado’s Reece Atteberry and Andrew Gentry, Arizona’s Tosh Baker, Illinois' Peter Skoronski and Virginia’s Jimmy Christ.

All five have visited South Bend.

“It is apples and oranges with all of them,” Lemming said. “They all have size and athletic ability. It comes down to when they come to college and how willing they are to work at it. (Zak’s) got all the tools. He’s got the length, quick hands and feet, athletic ability, growth potential … All of these guys have NFL potential.”

South Bend ?? #GoIrish

— Zak Zinter (@zak_zinter) April 12, 2019Midweek visitors

Xavier Watts, a 2020 receiver, was among recruits to visit Notre Dame this week. The Omaha (Neb.) Burke product watched the Irish practice on Thursday.

Though he’s a three-star recruit, Watts would bring much-needed spring to the Irish receiving crops. The 6-1, 175-pounder runs a 4.49 40-yard dash, per Lemming.

“Another guy who can run,” Lemming said. “Big time athlete. Number one player in Nebraska. Another guy who could help spread a defense. They should add one more of these type of guys. Jordan Johnson is a Michael Floyd-type — the physical, leaping ability type guy. They need a guy that can fly. They would love that. Watts is one who could really run.”

247Sports tabs Watts as its No. 71 receiver and No. 393 overall player. Rivals ranks Watts as its No. 88 receiver. Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa and Iowa State are among teams that have offered him.

Zeiqui Lawton, a 2021 defensive end out of West Virginia, also visited ND on Thursday. The Irish hosted Florida offensive linemen Jake Slaughter and Caleb Johnson — both 2021 recruits — on Friday.


— Xavier Watts (@xavierwatts6) April 11, 2019One last time

The following 2019 Irish signees are making their final trip before joining the team in June: safeties Kyle Hamilton and Litchfield Ajavon, cornerback K.J. Wallace and Isaiah Rutherford and linebacker Osita Ekwonu.

Linebacker signee JD Bertrand and Wallace joined Hamilton this offseason to train at Atlanta's Rack Athletic Performance Center. Their focuses have been different. Bertrand looked to improve his speed and lateral quickness. Wallace aspired to gain strength. Hamilton added some weight.

A five-star safety per 247Sports, Hamilton now stands at 6-3, 205 pounds. He played as a 190-pounder for Atlanta Marist last season.

— Derrek Hamilton (@hoops527dh) April 2, 2019

— Derrek Hamilton (@hoops527dh) April 2, 2019

shoutout to @therackapc ?

— Kyle Hamilton (@kham316) March 13, 2019Top lists

The following 2020 recruits included Notre Dame in their top schools this week, releasing lists via Twitter.

S Mordecai McDaniel, 6-3, 185; Washington (D.C.) St. John’s College: April 7 top five named Notre Dame, Penn State, Florida, Tennessee and Georgia.

247Sports: Three stars, No. 30 ATH, No. 374 overall | Rivals: Three stars, No. 20 S

Locked in ?

— Mordecai McDaniel (@S3NSI_CAI) April 8, 2019


— Mordecai McDaniel (@S3NSI_CAI) April 8, 2019

OL Geirean Hatchett, 6-5, 265; Ferndale (Wash.) High: April 10 top five named Notre Dame, Stanford, Washington, Ohio State and Oklahoma.  

247Sports: Four stars, No. 8 OG, No. 194 overall | Rivals: Four stars, No. 9 OG, No. 228 overall

Thank you to all of the coaches that have recruited me. Very thankful for all the opportunities that have come my way. With that being said these are the 5 schools that I will be focusing on as my recruiting process continues!

— Geirean (@GeireanHatchett) April 10, 2019

DE Antwaun Powell, 6-3, 220; Portsmouth (Va.) I.C. Norcom: April 10 top eight named Notre Dame, Duke, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Michigan, Oklahoma, Penn State and Virginia Tech.

247Sports: Four stars, No. 6 WDE, No. 116 overall | Rivals: Three stars, No. 15 WDE

Top 8....

— Antwaun Powell (@TwaunPowell) April 11, 2019

The following recruits are expected to visit Notre Dame for its Blue-Gold game this weekend.

2020 commits

S Litchfield Ajavon

S Kyle Hamilton

CB Isaiah Rutherford

CB K.J. Wallace

LB Osita Ekwonu

2020 targets 

DE Jordan Botelho*

WR Jalen McMillan

OL Zak Zinter

2020 prospects

WR Jack Ryder

OT Ben Wrather

2021 prospects

WR Jace Williams

LB Jermaine Hamilton-Jordan

OL Luis Chavarria

OL Riley Mahlman

2022 prospects

QB Terian Williams Jr.

*Denotes an official visit