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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Three for Tuesday

July 7, 2020

July is normally a slow month for the football world and this year it seems even slower. However, Notre Dame fans never have a lack of questions and we’ll take a look at three of those on this Tuesday. 

Will Notre Dame land one of Donte Thornton Jr.‍, Nolan Rucci‍ or Ceyair Wright‍? 
Notre Dame going 1-for-3 would be big, but going 2-for-3 would be huge. I think Notre Dame is in the top two for Thornton, top three to four for Wright and top four for Rucci as July gets started. 

For Thornton, Oregon is the hot name and rightfully so the four-star prospect grew up dreaming of playing Eugene. However, it's getting crowded at the receiver position for the Ducks as they have three commitments. Notre Dame needed to make up ground in the spring and did so. Tommy Rees and Del Alexander have done an excellent job. The key here will be to keep consistency as Thornton plans to announce his decision on January 9th. 

For Rucci, it's a tougher climb as I feel Notre Dame trails Penn State and Wisconsin while Clemson is hanging around. It's tough to see Rucci picking the Irish right now because he needs to get back to campus. The good news for the Irish is Rucci doesn't seem to be in a hurry to make a decision and could very well hold out to see if he can take visits. 

While Thornton has a late commitment date, Wright could very well be the kid with no idea when he will make a decision.  Notre Dame definitely knocked it out of the park when he visited in December, but that was quite a while ago. Arizona State, Oregon, Stanford and USC have done a good job of hanging in there over the last few months. 

I believe Wright is in the mold of a Stanford or Notre Dame type, but he's in a unique spot because USC can offer him a lot in the acting field that other programs can't match. Oregon would be the school to watch as the Ducks have quietly made moves in his recruitment in recent months. 

As we mentioned over the weekend, the good news for Notre Dame is Wright had only set one official visit before the Covid-19 pandemic and it was to South Bend. It likely isn't a huge tell, but it speaks to Wright's sincere interest in the Irish. 

How many five-stars will Notre Dame end up landing?
I think Notre Dame will sign two five-star prospects and the good news is they are already in the class. 

Tyler Buchner‍ is a composite five-star prospect now. While some have questioned his performance at the Elite 11 - many of those individuals weren't even in Nashville. Others in attendance were talking about other quarterbacks and not watching Buchner throw at times. Sure, he didn't give Caleb Williams a run for his money, but I think Buchner will be just fine when the lights come on this fall. 

Blake Fisher‍ currently sits five spots away from being a five-star prospect on Rivals and I think he's about to have a big senior year. 

There is no question the 6-foot-6, 330-pounder has some work to do physically before he steps on the field for Jeff Quinn, but that's not going to stop him from going on another pancake tour around the greater Indianapolis area. I had forgotten how light on his feet he Fisher was until I saw him camp a few weeks ago. 

As much as the physical tools stick out, it's Fisher's mental game that impressed me the most. He went into each 1-on-1 rep with a plan and executed it. Fisher’s plan was to jump set the defender to control the rep and it was almost effortless. Now, Fisher will be the first to tell you the competition wasn't great, but when he tells you what the player is going to do two reps in advance, you can't help but be impressed. (For the record, this happened multiple times.) 

Which uncommitted prospect is undervalued? 
I think the obvious answer is Titus Mokiao-Atimalala‍, so I'll go with 2021 Del Valle (Texas) running back Tavierre Dunlap‍. 

The 6-foot, 195-pounder might not have the explosion of some backs on the board, but he possesses the long speed Notre Dame needs while also running with power. 

Perhaps the thing that stuck out to me the most about Dunlap's game is his vision. He doesn't have an elite burst, but he knows it. He makes up for it with great vision and choosing to hit the hole hard instead of dancing like many high school backs. 

When you add in his ability to catch the football, I think you're looking at an underrated prospect. 

Composite: 88 (three-star)
ISD: 90 (four-star)
247: 91 (four-star) 
Rivals: 5.7 (three-star)
ESPN: 78 (three-star) 

2019 stats
Carries: 128
Rushing Yards: 1,328
Rushing Touchdowns: 20
Receptions: 20
Receiving Yards: 203
Receiving Touchdowns: 3 

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