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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

ISD Intel | Behind The Scenes of Notre Dame Football

June 9, 2023
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With one June official visit weekend down for Notre Dame, another kicks off today.

If the Irish come up short of their own expectations for this first weekend, it may be because they were set so high they could not be exceeded. It may also be of their own choosing as well.

As mentioned coming out of the weekend, a common prediction heard on campus last week was “6 for 6,” as in Notre Dame was going to ultimately land all six prospects who were in for official visits.

Two were already onboard – offensive linemen Peter Jones‍ and Anthonie Knapp‍.

Two came onboard in the days afterward – running back Kedren Young‍ and offensive lineman Styles Prescod‍.

It isn’t yet completely clear what will happen with the remaining two – offensive lineman Guerby Lambert‍ and safety Paul Mencke Jr‍.

For Lambert, the trip to South Bend was the first true visit for the Massachusetts native to a school other than Boston College. He’s been a bit of mystery throughout the process, but when ISD caught up with him afterward, he had nothing but positives to say about the trip and there is once again a growing sense of optimism from the Irish’s point of view.

Lambert still has officials to take to Boston College, Ohio State and Penn State – starting this weekend – but Notre Dame appears to have set a high bar here.

Mencke’s situation quickly became very interesting coming out of the visit.

“I don’t think it’s going to happen,” one source on Notre Dame’s side of things told ISD this week, adding the Irish were likely to “move on.”

A separe source not connected to Notre Dame confirmed as much. This source wouldn’t rule out the sides coming together in the future, but acknowledged something would have to change at this point for it to happen.

Clearly something did change within the last week.

In the immediate aftermath of the visit, it was obvious the Irish had blown Mencke and his family away. In an example of the importance of following up an unofficial – which Mencke took in April – with an official, sources close to Mencke confided to ISD about being a bit wide-eyed the first trip.

The return visit allowed Mencke and his camp a better chance to drill down on the substance of the University and they came away extremely impressed. One source described Notre Dame as “Football Grad School,” with team meetings representing classes, practice as labs and games like presentations at different conferences around the country.

The Irish coaches proved their credentials as educators by being engaging, utilizing multi-media presentations and asking Socratic questions.

“You were in somebody’s College of Education at one point, it’s so obvious,” one source said of the Irish’s Chris O’Leary.

The trip also seemed to solidify Mencke’s top schools as Notre Dame and Duke. Remaining official visits to Washington and Stanford seemed very much in doubt, but no longer.

Mencke talked about having a decision as soon as Monday, but with Texas safety Oliver Miles III‍ set for an official to Notre Dame this weekend and Indiana safety Brauntae Johnson‍ having already completed his own visit earlier in the week, the Irish couldn’t promise Mencke his spot would still be available.

It’s another illustration of timing making recruiting a tough business.

Mencke’s camp has been firm in wanting to be sure he doesn’t make a decision based off emotion and having him be able to compare and contrast at least two schools on official visits.

Meanwhile, the Irish appear to be in a very strong position with Johnson and cannot afford to put Miles on hold while waiting for Mencke and thus running the risk of losing both.

As for Johnson, we’re told he will not take his official visit to Purdue this weekend.

The four-star prospect had bumped up his official to Purdue last week, but backed away from taking one last trip to West Lafayette following his trip to South Bend.

So, what's next for Johnson? We believe he'll commit to the school of his choice toward the end of the month. And yes, Notre Dame looks to be the clear favorite at the moment.

One more quick safety note: We do not expect Notre Dame to continue pursuing Louisiana safety Anthony Robinson‍, who was in for an unofficial last weekend.

LOOKING BACK: The frenzy of Irish Invasion, one group of weekend official visitors wrapping up with another group coming in, sandwiched by a couple mid-week visitors (Johnson and Davis Andrews‍), may have overshadowed the two pledges the Irish landed at the start of the week.

Notre Dame is thrilled with the addition of Styles Prescod‍, especially as an in-state prospect.

“He’s a kid who will only get better once he understands the game,” one source said of the Indiana offensive lineman. “I think he’s a little bit raw and athletic.”

When news came out that Oklahoma running back Xavier Robinson’s official visit had been scratched, it was obvious Kedren Young‍ was in. The Irish loved Robinson as a prospect, but Young was a bit higher on the board for them.

The Texas running back gives Notre Dame a true big back and a physical presence who will ultimately take over for Audric Estime.

“Great vision, hunger and leadership,” one source told ISD of Young. “Nice change of direction, pad level and burst.”

This source predicts Young will “be an imposing presence on Day 1.”

How’s this for high praise when it comes to a comp for Young from?

According to one source, Nick Chubb coming out of Georgia.

LOOKING AHEAD: It’s worth noting Oliver Miles III‍ is a prospect Notre Dame has been extremely high on for months and wouldn’t be viewed as any sort of consolation prize. The Irish would be excited to add the Texas safety to their defensive backfield.

Notre Dame certainly appears to be the top contender for Miles, a state champion in the triple jump, although Baylor, Texas Tech and Vanderbilt are battling. Notably, we’re not sure Miles has any other officials set.

The Irish moved on Miles so early that they’re trying to close him while other schools still find themselves in the relationship-building stage without any promise that he’ll even visit this summer.

Numbers have been tight at defensive line for a while now – evidenced by the departure of Owen Wafle – but a big part of that is because the Irish feel they cannot say no to either Justin Scott‍ or Elijah Rushing‍.

“Rushing is an elite guy,” one source told ISD this week. “Him and Scott are different.”

Rushing will be on campus for an official this weekend after having already taken officials UCLA and Arizona. He’ll head to Oregon and Tennessee for officials next, but his focus this weekend will be on the Irish, where Al Washington and Marcus Freeman have formed extremely strong bonds already.

Nebraska tight end Carter Nelson‍ will also be in town. He took an official visit to Georgia last week, but the Irish still view the in-state Huskers as the biggest threats. One source pegged Notre Dame’s chances at landing Nelson at around 40 percent.  

The chances may not be quite as high with Alabama linebacker Bradley Shaw‍, who is also coming, but he wouldn’t be coming back to South Bend for an official if there wasn’t at least some interest.

“We’ll see,” one source said. “I think (Notre Dame has) got a shot at him.”

The Irish would have to beat out Alabama, Auburn and Georgia for Shaw.

“That would be sweet,” one source said.

LOOKING WAY AHEAD: The Irish have yet to wrap up its 2024 class and are still months away from even starting the 2023 season, but that hasn’t stopped some from looking further down the road.

It’s difficult to overstate the optimism surrounding the long-term future of the Notre Dame offense with 2024 quarterback commit CJ Carr‍ at the controls and the weapons the Irish are assembling around him in the offensive backfield and on the outside.

Sources point to Carr’s poise, decision-making and leadership traits as to why they believe he’s a truly special prospect who has been compared to some of the game’s all-time greats.

“It’s hard to find that,” one source said.

The Irish are very pleased with the current receiver haul that includes Cam Williams‍, Micah Gilbert‍ and Isiah Canion‍.

They may not be ready to make impacts out of the gate, but all are described as physical freaks with extremely high ceilings. And they complement each other well, the proverbial whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

“No doubt,” one source said. “They all bring something to the table.

“You’ve got three freaking studs with a quarterback like CJ Carr The Notre Dame issue of not having a quarterback and receivers, not having that type of connection is going to change.”

THE GUG: We spoke to a source who believes Notre Dame has started to plan out its next expansion for The Gug.

We're also told there is a common goal of not competing with college football facilities across the country, but to set the bar. In addition to the expansion of the football facility, we also expect swimming and tennis to receive capital investments.

Notre Dame 2023 NCAA Men's Lacrosse National Champions T-Shirt ($39.99)

 
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