Notre Dame Football Recruiting

2021 Recruiting | Prospects To Watch

December 19, 2019
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With recruiting for the Class of 2020 wrapped up, at least for the most part, we can now turn our attention to the Class of 2021.

As has been the case the last couple of cycles, getting ahead with the senior class has allowed Notre Dame to get a headstart on the upcoming groups.

The Irish already have the foundation of an elite class in 2021 led by California quarterback Tyler Buchner and Indiana offensive lineman Blake Fisher. Buchner already has a few weapons at his disposal with wide receiver commits Lorenzo Styles Jr. and Deion Colzie along with tight end pledge Cane Berrong.

IMG Academy offensive lineman Greg Crippen technically remains a Notre Dame commit, but we don’t expect him to be a member of this class in the end.

Missouri defensive tackle Gabriel Rubio represents the lone commit on the defensive side of the ball, but that’s surely to change.

You can check out our full 2021 Target List, but here’s a look at some of the key targets worth following in the coming months.

NORTH CAROLINA RB WILL SHIPLEY

One of the top running backs in the entire country, Shipley’s offer sheet includes Notre Dame along with Alabama, Clemson, LSU, Georgia, Ohio State, Oregon, Stanford and Texas among several others.

Irish running backs coach Lance Taylor has made it clear Shipley is a priority recruit for the Irish, visiting him twice already this month.

Shipley was on campus for the Irish’s game against USC back in October and was impressed with what he saw both on and off the field in South Bend. After that trip, ISD’s Matt Freeman felt strongly enough to put in a prediction for Shipley to end up with the Irish.

Shipley has connected with Buchner during the process while Taylor’s connection to his favorite running back, Christian McCaffrey, dating back to the coach’s time with the Carolina Panthers also has his attention.

Shipley isn’t going to rush a decision, but look for a narrowed list of schools to come relatively soon. There’s no doubt Notre Dame will be included in that group. Clemson and NC State look like the biggest competition at this point.

Also, keep an eye on Michigan running back Donovan Edwards, who was extremely impressed with Notre Dame, along with his father, during last weekend’s visit to South Bend.

MICHIGAN WR ANDREL ANTHONY JR.

With Colzie and Styles already onboard, Notre Dame can afford to be choosy with the remaining receivers on its board in 2021. The Irish extended an offer to Anthony prior to Colzie and Styles going public with their decision, but they knew there was a good chance both could end up choosing Notre Dame soon at the time, so that says something about their feelings on Anthony.

The East Lansing prospect also has offers from schools like Michigan State, Michigan, Northwestern, Indiana, Iowa State and Boston College among others.

After a trip to South Bend in June, Anthony made a pair of stops this fall and was impressed both times. Brian Kelly reiterated how much the Irish want him to be a part of their program during the most recent trip, which was after the commitments of the other two wideouts.

Anthony expects to take official visits this spring, but hasn’t decided exactly where yet. While the in-state schools will be a factor, especially Michigan, we’re not sure the idea of staying at home is something Notre Dame will have to overcome on its own.

COLORADO TE SAM HART

Notre Dame has had success bringing multiple tight ends in the same class in recent years and could be looking to do the same in 2021.

After an unofficial to South Bend in the summer, Hart was back on campus in September for the Irish’s game against New Mexico, where his older brother starred at linebacker.

Hart left feeling good about Notre Dame and felt like he had enough information to potentially choose the Irish without needing another visit.

He took a visit to Ohio State last month and LSU before that. The Buckeyes and Tigers certainly have his attention as do USC, Penn State and Washington.

Hart won’t rush a decision, but he’s made it clear he hopes to have one before the end of the summer and likely sooner.

MICHIGAN OL ROCCO SPINDLER

Fisher has already proven to be one of the most relentless recruiters we’ve seen in recent years in terms of committed prospects. He’s hitting up every key recruit he can find and trying to sell them on Notre Dame, so it’s no surprise he has his eyes on some top offensive linemen, including Spindler.

It’s obvious Jeff Quinn has identified Spindler as a top target as well, going so far as to show him the ways he’s similar to Quenton Nelson on film.

Spindler has made multiple visits to South Bend and his eyes have been open. He says he will definitely be back this spring and it’s clear the Irish will be on his short list of schools in the end.

Michigan is another school that has his full attention and many believe the Wolverines are in fact the current leader.

Other linemen to watch closely include Spindler’s Clarkston High School teammate Garrett Dellinger and Maryland’s Landon Tengwall.

CANADIAN DE AARON ARMITAGE

The Canada native plays at Blair Academy in New Jersey, a school that has had several top international prospects in recent years.

Even as a flurry of major offers from schools like Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Stanford, LSU, Florida and Wisconsin among other were coming in, it was clear Notre Dame was one offer Armitage coveted. He traveled to South Bend this summer for camp with the hopes of earning one, but a medical emergency prevented him from working out at the event.

He returned to campus for the Irish’s win over Navy last month and was impressed with everything he saw, but was asked to be patient with Notre Dame in terms of an offer.

A few weeks later that patience paid off as Mike Elston extended an offer earlier this month.

It’s an offer we expect Armitage to take seriously…very, very seriously. In fact, ISD’s Christian McCollum and Matt Freeman both have current predictions in for Armitage to land with Notre Dame in the end.

FLORIDA LB BRANDEN JENNINGS

With offers from several major schools like Miami, Florida State, Ohio State, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma,  LSU and Stanford among others before he ever had one from Notre Dame, Jennings and his family still decided to take an official visit to South Bend for the game against USC in October. That suggests some legitimate interest on their part and with the Irish ultimately extending that offer at the end of October, they appear to have a chance to be in the running.

Jennings’ father, Bradley Jennings, was an All-American linebacker at Florida State while his brother Bradley Jennings Jr., currently plays linebacker for Miami.

WISCONSIN DEFENSIVE BACK HUNTER WOHLER

Wohler was impressed with he visited Notre Dame over the summer, but without an offer from the Irish, it was hard for him to consider them as seriously as schools like Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan, who had.

That changed when he returned to South Bend for the Irish’s game against Virginia Tech in early-November and received his offer.

He hasn’t publicly declared leaders, said he’s thinking about that in his head and certainly seems like Notre Dame will make whatever cut he makes.

Wohler says he’ll take official visits this spring and will likely make a decision at the end of spring or during the summer before his senior season.

A humble, yet confident kid, Wohler looks like a great fit for Notre Dame on multiple levels.

 
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