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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Notre Dame Junior Day | A Debriefing

January 22, 2024
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Notre Dame’s Junior Day this weekend was another massively successful recruiting event for the Irish.

The event may not have included immediate results in the form of on-campus commitments, but we’re quite certain we’ll see dividends of that sort down the road.

The Irish hosted a dozen uncommitted prospects; many of whom have been top-of-the-board targets for several months and a few who have worked their way up the board more recently. 

Notre Dame crushed it with virtually every prospect who stepped foot on campus this weekend and appears to be positioning itself to address its needs in 2025 and to potentially do so relatively early.

Indianapolis CB Mark Zackery IV

The Irish made significant strides toward signing an elite level cornerback class on Saturday.

There were no surprises coming out of the visit with regard to Florida’s Dallas Golden‍ and Indianapolis’ Mark Zackery IV‍, which is a good thing. Both came in extremely high on the Irish and both left even more impressed.

With Golden (pictured at the top), it was about getting around a coaching staff he clearly adores once again as well as getting a better feel for the players he would be with if he chose Notre Dame. Both of those boxes were checked emphatically as Golden told ISD it felt like family from the moment he stepped on campus. Golden is being pursued by many of the nation’s top programs and will be at Clemson for its Junior Day next week. But for months, we’ve felt the Irish were at the top of this list and we feel even better about that now. Now, it’s up to Notre Dame to maintain its positioning with a top target who has talked about waiting months before making a final decision. Or, up to the Irish to convince Golden that he’s already found what he’s looking for.

Zackery loved the competition aspect around Saturday’s visit. He loves that it is a central tenet of the Irish’s program, loves that they view him as a competitor and loves the fact that if he did choose Notre Dame, he’d be around other like-minded competitors. He was grateful for the chance to talk more football with the staff this weekend, but both he and the staff always seem to come back to the holistic nature of Notre Dame. It seems as if Zackery wishes he could make a decision already, but isn’t sure he’s given other schools a fair shot just yet. That’s part of the reason he announced a Top 10 last week. He’s going to try to take visits elsewhere - Purdue and Tennessee have been mentioned - but he’s also likely to find his way back to South Bend this spring as well. It’s hard to imagine another school being in a better spot at the moment than Notre Dame.

Connecticut OL Matty Augustine

The Irish also seem well on their way to putting together the kind of haul at offensive line that would justify what has always been a very, very tight board in 2025. With Will Black‍ in the fold already, Notre Dame would love to add two of Owen Strebig‍, Matty Augustine‍ and Jack Lange‍. All three were in town this weekend, although Black was a late scratch because of flight issues.

The target number for months has been three, but based on what we’ve gathered coming out of the trip, we’re starting to believe that number could be increased by one as it’s difficult to imagine the Irish turning down any of the above. 

We’ve long felt Notre Dame was at the top of the list for both Strebig and Augustine and nothing this weekend led us to believe that has changed. Wisconsin is making a serious play for Strebig, but the trip to South Bend helped Notre Dame solidify its position. Some believe the Irish are putting distance between themselves and everybody else at this point. 

Augustine seems like the perfect Notre Dame kid and we expect the Irish to make it clear how badly he’s wanted in South Bend in the weeks and months to come. That’s a combination that often works in Notre Dame’s favor. 

With Lange, we weren’t so sure coming in, but coming out, it’s obvious Notre Dame impressed him in a tremendous way. Lange got a peek under the hood of Notre Dame, specifically the offensive line unit, and he liked what he saw. His mother and Marcus Freeman have a unique hometown connection and Lange feels like all of the staff members in South Bend are truly genuine. We believe the Irish are going to be difficult to beat here. 

New Jersey WR Elijah Burress

Notre Dame wide receivers coach Mike Brown has certainly hit the ground running. After sending out a flurry of offers already this month, Brown managed to get a few of his top targets to campus this weekend, including Illinois wideout Talyn Taylor‍. 

Convincing Taylor to change personal plans around at the last minute to get to campus seems to be a microcosm of Brown’s recruiting chops and for Irish fans, hopefully a preview of things to come. Taylor isn’t near a decision yet, but the Irish clearly helped themselves this weekend.

Similarly, it was impressive to see Brown offer New Jersey receiver Elijah Burress‍ one week and get him in South Bend for a trip the very next. Burress came in high on Notre Dame and left even higher based on getting to know Brown and the other recruits on campus better. Burress is not in a rush to make a final decision and recruiting could slow down a bit with his track season approaching, but he’s already eyeing a return to South Bend for the spring game.

Brown extended an offer to Ohio’s Shaun Terry II‍ during Saturday’s event. It was an offer Terry wanted badly and clearly cherishes. We expect both sides to show serious, serious interest in the coming weeks and months, but are not anticipating any snap decisions. Terry has a visit to Clemson planned in March and is also considering trips to Kentucky and Missouri. But as this thing progresses, we could easily see the Irish and Terry finding themselves as perfect fits.

Things remain the same with Georgia receiver Jerome Bettis Jr.‍ We expect him to be a part of the Irish’s 2025 recruiting class, but do not have a timetable for a final decision.

Linebacker Nathaniel Owusu-Boateng

The Irish went from outsider to insider with Nathaniel Owusu-Boateng‍  The elite IMG linebacker wasn’t sure he was going to even make the trip until the final days, but he made it and loved it. Owusu-Boateng was already well-schooled on Notre Dame from his brother, former Irish star Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, and those ideas were reinforced greatly as he got the chance to sit down with the Irish staff and dive deep into Notre Dame. Where the Irish are exactly on Owusu-Boateng’s short list, we can’t say. But they are on it and that’s not something we could have said confidently beforehand.

Notre Dame made another strong impression on Indianapolis defensive end Damien Shanklin‍, who was in town. Shanklin has been to South Bend several times. We continue to feel the Irish are on top and aren’t quite sure who the biggest threat truly is right now. Still, Shanklin has yet to identify a firm timetable for a decision. 

FIND ALL OF ISD’S JUNIOR DAY COVERAGE HERE

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