Who are the five most important 2020 recruits remaining for Notre Dame?

Carter Karels
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame is on track to securing one of its best recruiting classes under head football coach Brian Kelly.

The last five weeks helped ascend the Irish to that position. The Irish received verbal commitments from the following four-star recruits: wide receiver Jordan Johnson (April 6), drop defensive end Jordan Botelho (April 18), defensive lineman Rylie Mills (May 6) and offensive tackle Tosh Baker (May 8).

Alex Peitsch, the nation’s No. 1 long snapper per Kohl’s Kicking Camps, also verbally pledged to Notre Dame (April 24).

ND’s 2020 class of 10 commits now ranks No. 5 and No. 7 on Rivals and 247Sports, respectively. No other team with fewer commitments than the Irish hold a higher ranking on either recruiting site.

Only three of ND’s 2019 signees finished ranked among the top 170 players overall in their recruiting classes by both 247Sports and Rivals: safety Kyle Hamilton, center Zeke Correll and offensive tackle Andrew Kristofic. The Irish earned commitments from three of the sort — Johnson, Mills and Baker — in the last five weeks.

It will be tough for the Irish to top Kelly’s 2013 recruiting class, which finished No. 3 and No. 6 on Rivals and 247Sports, respectively. The Irish would need to sign a few of their biggest uncommitted targets detailed below. They are ranked in order of importance.

1. RB Chris Tyree, 5-9, 171; Chester (Va.) Thomas Dale: With his 4.38 speed and all-purpose ability, Tyree could fill a much-needed void on the Irish. Notre Dame needs speedy playmakers like Tyree. He could become the highest-rated running back to sign with the Irish under Kelly.

The skinny: Irish offensive coordinator Chip Long and running backs coach Lance Taylor visited Tyree’s school on Monday. The Irish left the week feeling confident that Tyree will take his ND official visit June 21-23. Should Tyree follow through with the visit, he would likely be committed to the Irish by then. Expect his commitment decision to come within the next three weeks. Alabama and Oklahoma are also contenders.

247Sports: Four stars, No. 1 APB, No. 51 overall | Rivals: Four stars, No. 1 APB, No 60 overall

2. CB Clark Phillips III, 5-10, 178; La Habra (Calif.) High: One of ND’s only blemishes last month came in cornerback recruiting. Top Irish cornerback targets Jalen Kimber, Dontae Manning and Ryan Watts committed elsewhere. Phillips stands as the highest-rated cornerback interested in Notre Dame. ND’s coaching staff compares him with former Irish cornerback Julian Love.

The skinny: Notre Dame remains as one of Phillips’ top three schools. Irish cornerbacks coach Todd Lyght forged a special relationship with Phillips after encouraging him to step it up academically. Lyght swung by La Habra to see Phillips on May 6. Phillips hopes to take an ND official visit soon.

247Sports: Four stars, No. 3 CB, No. 24 overall | Rivals: Four stars, No. 4 CB, No. 54 overall

3. WR Jalen McMillan, 6-2, 180; Fresno (Calif.) San Joaquin Memorial: The Irish are looking to add three 2020 receivers. A McMillan-Johnson pairing would rank among the nation’s best receiving duos this cycle. Like Johnson, McMillan brings a complete skillset and could play early. Game changers are needed on the Irish, particularly at the skill positions.

The skinny: Anthony Goston, San Joaquin Memorial’s head football coach, told the Tribune McMillan’s top two schools are still Notre Dame and Washington. Long plans to visit his school on May 16. McMillan hopes to take an official visit for ND’s Oct. 12 home game against USC. He plans to announce a verbal commitment on his birthday, Dec. 7.

247Sports: Four stars, No. 4 WR, No. 30 overall | Rivals: Four stars, No. 15 WR, No. 73 overall

4. DE Braiden McGregor, 6-6, 255; Port Huron (Mich.) Northern: After Mills announced his commitment, Irish defensive line coach Mike Elston tweeted that there was one more piece to the puzzle. That remaining piece is McGregor. ND’s ideal pairing comprises of Botelho on the weakside with McGregor on the strongside. The Irish possessing four defensive line commits makes McGregor less important than Tyree, Phillips and McMillan.

The skinny: On some days, like during his April 5-7 official visit, McGregor feels close to committing to Notre Dame. On other days, he’s more up in the air. The Irish currently feel solid about landing McGregor. That could change, though, and his recruitment could last until July. Defensive line coach Mike Elston attended McGregor’s lacrosse game on Thursday. He sported a Notre Dame jersey with the No. 17, McGregor’s football number.

247Sports: Four stars, No. 3 SDE, No. 27 overall | Rivals: Three stars, No. 27 OLB

5. S Lathan Ransom, 6-1, 185; Tucson (Ariz.) Salpointe Catholic: Notre Dame signed one of the highest-rated 2019 safeties in Kyle Hamilton. Ransom could be the Hamilton of ND’s 2020 class. The Irish are slated to receive official visits from four 2020 safeties June 21-23. Ransom is not one of them. ND’s other safety options makes Ransom less important than Tyree, Phillips, McMillan and McGregor.

The skinny: Ransom will be the toughest recruit on this list for Notre Dame to land. He now considers the Irish as a top five school, though. Ransom scheduled an ND official visit for June 8-10. He took Oklahoma (April 12-14) and LSU (April 26-28) official visits and has one at Ohio State (June 21-23) planned. Irish safeties coach Terry Joseph and wide receivers coach DelVaughn Alexander saw Ransom at Salpointe Catholic on May 8.

247Sports: Four stars, No. 2 S, No. 53 overall | Rivals: Four stars, No. 5 S, No. 63 overall

Fresno (Calif.) San Joaquin Memorial’s Jalen McMillan, a top Notre Dame wide receiver target, committed to Washington on Tuesday.