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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Recruiting Week In Review

December 5, 2020

Written by Joe Bradshaw

Being 9-0 and ranked number two in the nation is providing a big boost for recruiting but probably not the boost that their actual performance on the field is. It’s not just their record but how they’ve achieved it. In fourteen years of writing the Recruiting Week in Review, I don’t remember a Notre Dame team as good as this one, really even close to as good. This team is tough, physical, focused and deep. They appear to be getting better every week. Ian Book is playing with a poise and confidence that many Irish fans didn’t think possible and Kyren Williams has emerged as not only the top Notre Dame back but one of the best running backs in the nation. The much maligned receiving corps continues to improve and have gone from a weakness to a legitimate threat and all those offensive parts work because of a dominant offensive line. And the defense, after two suspect outings against Clemson and Boston College, came back against North Carolina to just physically dominate one of the best offenses in the nation. What recruit wouldn’t want to play for such a team?

Last week, Irish Sports Daily reported on two young men, one in the Class of 2021 and one in the Class of 2022 that are giving Notre Dame a very hard look, probably much harder than they would have or even did at the beginning of this season. What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Sports Daily?

Donovan Edwards‍, RB, 5-11, 193, West Bloomfield High School, West Bloomfield, MI has been recruited by Notre Dame for a very long time. The Michigan native has also been considered a Michigan lean for a very long time. And while that may not necessarily have changed, there are subtle indications that he might be reconsidering the Irish because of their on-field success this season.

“He comes from a winning program,” said West Bloomfield’s head coach, Ron Bellamy. “For Donovan, having the opportunity to win is very important to him. The other things have to check out as well as far as making sure it’s a great fit for him, but the winning part counts.”

It helps that Notre Dame’s rushing attack has been very good this year, at times even dominant.

“He fits what they’re doing,” Bellamy said. “Coach (Tommy) Rees and Coach (Lance) Taylor have been creating game plans that feature the running backs, showing the skillset and versatility of the running backs. That’s something Donovan is very interested in.”

Edwards has cut his list of potential landing spots to seven, Notre Dame, Penn State, LSU, Alabama, Michigan, Oklahoma and Georgia. Edwards has made multiple trips to South Bend and the Notre Dame campus and is seeking advice from people he knows who played there.

“Obviously Khalid Kareem went to our high school for a few years,” Bellamy shared. “Donovan and Khalid have a relationship and Daelin Hayes, just talking to some guys who went through the program.”

Notre Dame has another connection with Edwards through Bellamy and Irish Safeties Coach Terry Joseph. Joseph coached Bellamy at Archbishop Shaw High School in Louisiana.

“He’s cool,” Bellamy said of Joseph. “He was a baseball guy. I would tease him about football, him being a former baseball player. The lineage in his family, the Joseph family; shoot that might be the most athletic family in the Metro New Orleans area…. For me, being Donovan’s high school coach, having a relationship with Coach Kelly and having one with Coach Joseph, that eases my mind.”

While Edwards’ decision date is rapidly approaching, 2022 prospect Isaac Hamm‍, DE, 6-5, 260, Sun Prairie High School, Sun Prairie, WI still has over a year to make a choice. That didn’t prevent the four-star recruit from narrowing his list of potential choices to four. Notre Dame made the list along with Wisconsin, Penn State and Ohio State. Hamm had both personal and altruistic reasons for his move.

“It’s going to be a lot less time on the phone, texting, Zoom calls, online visits, all of that kind of stuff with different schools that I know I’m not that interested in at the moment,” he explained. “It really brings my focus down to the places I know I’m really serious about and potentially could be playing for in the future. Saving my own time and not wasting the program’s time, just saying, ‘Hey, I think it’s better to move on and recruit some other guys.’”

Ohio State has yet to offer Hamm but he thinks they’re close.

“I think they’re going to be very close to offering me,” he shared. “The other three, obviously they took a chance on me early in the recruiting process when I was a sophomore or junior. I know I’ve built great relationships with them.

Notre Dame’s program has especially impressed Hamm this fall.

“In my opinion, they have the best student-athlete balance in the country,” he said. “The academics always come first, which is great. It’s that 4 for 40 program where you want to be set up for life.”

He continued.

“As for the football aspect, they’ve been balling like an NFL team this year, literally. They just stepped on Clemson. They have an amazing program over there.”

Hamm described Notre Dame’s recruitment of him as “surreal.”

“In my opinion, Notre Dame is the best college football team in the country right now,” he said. “It’s almost unreal to think they took a chance on me over there and I have a chance to perform for a team that’s the best in the country.”

Hamm plans to spend the next few months learning more about his final four programs, really delving deeply into them, particularly focusing on the coaching staffs.

“First and foremost, building a great relationship with those four schools, they’re all great programs so keeping that strong relationship and keeping my success going in the weight room, in the classroom, on the field,” he shared. “As far as a decision, it’s probably going to be a little while. I definitely want to play my junior season all the way through before I make a decision. That’s going to be crucial as far as recruiting goes and as far as what I show what I can do for the coaches.”

These two summaries represent just a sample of the Notre Dame football recruiting information available each week on Irish Sports Daily.

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