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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

ISD Intel | Behind The Scenes Of Notre Dame Recruiting

January 19, 2024

Since the lead-up to his visit to South Bend last fall, there has been a steady climb in optimism regarding Notre Dame’s chances with elite 2025 Florida cornerback/athlete Dallas Golden‍.

Prior to that trip, we’d been told the Irish had a great shot and we confirmed as much. Coming out of the visit, it was obvious they’d helped themselves even more and that trajectory has continued ever since.

On the eve of the Berkeley Prep star's next trip to South Bend for the Irish’s Junior Day, we’re hearing more of the same.

“Oh my God, he’s super excited,” one source told us about Golden. “He's always excited to get back up to Notre Dame.”

Golden will fly into Chicago on Friday before getting down to campus in time for Saturday’s festivities.

He’ll certainly get a taste of true South Bend weather this weekend as he leaves the comfort of the mid-50s in Tampa. But when he was on campus for the spring game in April, Golden didn’t show any signs of discomfort with the cold and freezing rain. He even shrugged it off afterward, telling another guest, “It didn’t feel that cold.”

One source speculated that could say as much about how he feels about the Irish as anything.

“Just the fact that it's Notre Dame, I think in his mind subconsciously, he kind of just blocks it out,” we were told.

So, why does a Florida prospect with offers from Florida, Florida State, Miami, Georgia, Alabama, LSU and Clemson among several others hold Notre Dame in such high regard?

“Number one is the culture,” one source said. “First and foremost, it is the culture. 

“Number two, the relationships that he has with all the coaches; Coach (Mike) Mickens, Coach (Marcus) Freeman, they have been steady since they've offered him. And he loves Chad (Bowden). He really loves Chad. Chad does a really good job when he's up there, treating him like family. They treat him like he's that guy. 

“Obviously academics.. He knows the academics are going to be challenging, but he comes from Berkeley and academics are challenging at Berkeley. He loved it when he went up to the USC and Notre Dame game. That environment was second to none and he really enjoyed that.” 

He’s hoping to see more of the facilities this weekend, but this trip isn’t a fact-finding mission as much as it’s about continuing to build relationships and getting around some of the other recruits who will be on campus.

Golden may hit up Clemson’s Junior Day next week, but he’s still in the process of figuring out the rest of his visit schedule this year.

He has no timeline for a decision. When he’s ready, he’ll be ready and would like to make that choice absent any outside pressure to satisfy a timeline. The thinking is that taking that approach will also allow Golden to be sure about his decision because once he makes it, there will be no second-guessing.

IRISH IN STRONG SPOT WITH STREBIG: Notre Dame has been in a strong spot for 2025 Wisconsin offensive lineman Owen Strebig‍ for several months now. In fact, when he visited South Bend twice last fall, it seemed like the Irish could be on the verge of securing a commitment at some point in late-2023.

“He's a huge fan of Joe Rudolph,” one source said, noting that Rudolph and Freeman are scheduled to be at Catholic Memorial High School on Friday, in advance of Strebig’s trip to South Bend this weekend.

“We've said since the beginning that Notre Dame was going to be a huge factor in all this. He loves the tradition. His personality fits Notre Dame really, really well because he does well academically and he minds his own business.”

Still, this thing isn’t over yet. 

What once looked like potentially a two-team race with the Irish and USC has now expanded to include multiple other schools, perhaps most notably, Wisconsin. 

Strebig was in Madison last weekend and the in-state Badgers are now very much in play. Wisconsin wasn’t a school Strebig was seriously considering for much of the process, but new offensive line coach AJ Blazek, who was officially announced by the school on Wednesday, now has the Badgers back on the table.

“Wisconsin has re-entered the picture in a big way,” one source said.

“He's got a tough decision coming up. I think that he sees himself playing at several schools. He and his folks have done a great job through this process…but now he has to trust his gut and he has to find the best fit for him. I think he's going to do that. 

“And there's no doubt that Notre Dame is right at the top of the list.”

BURRESS NOT PLAYING AROUND: We knew Elijah Burress‍ was serious when the 2025 New Jersey receiver told us he wanted to visit Notre Dame “soon,” after landing his offer from the Irish last week.

We just didn’t know how soon.

After further conversations with new Irish receivers coach Mike Brown, the son of Plaxico Burress is set to be on campus this weekend.

“Just to get a feel for everything,” Burress said of his goals this weekend. “I'm trying to see if I really want to go there because it's a place that I really like.”

A lot of that will depend on the people he meets while in town.

“Like the other recruits there and seeing how it’s going to be on campus and how the recruits are,” he said.

Burress has had some brief communication with 2025 Irish quarterback commit Deuce Knight. He doesn’t know a ton about Knight yet, but has heard great things about him from Brown and is looking forward to getting to know him this weekend.

COULD NEW WR TARGET LAND ON BOARD?: When Brown was still at Wisconsin, he offered 2025 Ohio receiver Shaun Terry II‍.

Terry says he’s been in consistent contact with the Irish’s new receivers coach since Brown took the job in South Bend. 

“He showed my film to the offensive staff and they loved me,” Terry said. “They told my coach they wanted me to get down for the Junior Day and that's what is going to happen this weekend.”

Terry was quick to accept the invitation.

“Everybody loves Notre Dame,” Terry said. “There's the passion and the culture and the drive, everything the name Notre Dame brings. I just love everything about it really. I haven't been there yet and I love everything about it.”

Terry is also a big fan of Brown.

“He's definitely one of those coaches who don’t come around often,” said Terry. “He is very special. He is a very great coach. He likes to get close with your family, knows the game of football. He knows what a good player is and what it takes to be a good player.”

In addition to Wisconsin, the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Terry has offers from schools like Michigan, Michigan State, USC, Auburn, Duke and Boston College among several others.

He would be honored to add the Irish to that list.

“Just like any other kid in the world who got an offer from Notre Dame, it would just be absolutely special. It's just special. Loss of words, really.”

2025 OL WORTH WATCHING: The Irish’s 2025 offensive line board has been tight since the start of the cycle with the serious candidates seeming to be limited to four or five at any given time.

Notre Dame already has a commitment from Will Black and they would love to add some combination of Strebig, Matty Augustine and Jack Lange to that group. 

We’ve been told the target number is three, so unless the Irish miss on two of the above, it could be difficult for too many others to land on the board.

At the same time, we’re told Notre Dame has shown some genuine interest in 2025 Indiana offensive lineman Cameron Herron‍, who is scheduled to be in town this weekend as well.

The Warren Central High School standout currently has offers from schools like Indiana, Purdue, Iowa, Iowa State, Cincinnati, Boston College and Duke among others. 

He’s also receiving interest from schools like Stanford and Notre Dame.

“I don't know where they're at with him,” one source said of the Irish. “I don't know what they're thinking. He's getting a lot of attention.”

Herron visited South Bend for a bowl practice in December along with his teammate and top Irish defensive end target Damien Shanklin‍.

“He's a straight-A student,” we were told. “His brother's in Aerospace Engineering at Purdue. Family's great people. Cam would love an offer from Notre Dame. Whether he gets one or not, he'll go someplace Division-I and he'll be really good. 

“He's an interior kid. He's a guard or a center. Big, strong athletic kid. Honestly, could probably be a really good d-tackle…He absolutely loved the visit.”

We’re told Irish defensive line coach Al Washington was at the school earlier this week and the expectation is that offensive line coach Joe Rudolph will be by sometime next week to get a look at Herron in person.

“It's just a big school, a big-name school,” Herron told ISD. “It's definitely a high-academic school, which is great. The alumni are gigantic everywhere. They're known for producing offensive linemen, like Quenton Nelson, and all those other offensive linemen in The League. 

“I love the coaches. Definitely love the head coach, love the o-line coach. When I went there, it was all just warm. Everybody talked to me, everybody walked up to me and shook my hand.”

Herron said he’s looking forward to building more of a relationship with the coaches this weekend, possibly seeing the dorms and getting a feel for the University’s culture during the hockey game.

Herron said he’ll probably make trips to Iowa State, West Virginia and Duke in the coming months.

TOUGH SCRATCH WITH WILLIAMS, BUT…: As we reported yesterday, elite 2025 Georgia cornerback Devin Williams‍ is a scratch for this weekend. He was again going to make the 10-hour drive with his family and the expected weather was going to make that challenging. 

The cancellation says nothing about Williams’ interest in the Irish, in fact, sources close to Williams seemed very disappointed about the fact that he wouldn’t be back in South Bend this weekend.

We are told that he “definitely” will be back soon. 

As we’ve said for months now, Notre Dame is one school toward the very top of the list for the Buford High School star who has offers from schools like Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Texas and Texas A&M among several others. 

“There is just a lot about Notre Dame that he likes,” we were told.

He visited for camp last summer and again for the Ohio State game in September.

“He likes it,” one source said. “It's a small, smaller campus. He's a very, very private introverted kid. He's a kid who doesn't hang out a lot. He loves the small setting. 

“He also loves that Coach Mickens is in touch with him often. He has texted with Coach Freeman too. He just likes the way they're recruiting him.”

Williams also sees an opportunity to get on the field early at Notre Dame, although he knows he needs to build up his body to get college-ready.

We had a bit of a chuckle with Williams recently, when he talked about possibly making a commitment during the summer to “secure his spot.” But that thinking may have provided more of a glimpse into Williams’ mindset than we originally picked up on. By no means does he carry himself like an elite prospect and doesn’t see himself as anywhere near a finished product.

“He’s not satisfied,” one source said.  

And, as we’ve mentioned in the past, there are some who believe that schools will need to seriously consider giving Williams a shot at receiver considering his natural talents on that side of the ball. We’re told Florida State is doing just that after seeing what he did on offense as a junior.

“He’s a different kid, man.”

McCUTCHEON REMAINS INTERESTED: As we reported earlier in the week, 2025 Texas receiver Daylan McCutcheon‍ is a scratch for this weekend. 

McCutcheon was under the weather most of the week, forcing the cancellation. 

But we’re told he does intend to make it back to South Bend in the future after making two visits last year. He’s looking forward to the coaches stopping by Lovejoy High School and continuing to build a relationship.

Multiple sources have described McCutcheon’s interest in the Irish as legit this week.

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