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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Making Moves | Notre Dame Football on the Recruiting Trail 5.14

May 14, 2024

Notre Dame’s coaching staff will make several key stops to see 2025 prospects and check on underclassmen on Tuesday. 

Housekeeping Notes for the Spring Evaluation Period
- Head coaches can’t be on the road during this period, which means Marcus Freeman won’t be on the road. 

- Coaches are allowed to talk to 2025 prospects at their schools. 

- Coaches are not allowed to talk to 2026, 2027, etc. prospects in person. 

- Colleges are only allowed one stop at the same high school during this period, which is new as the previous rule had been two visits during the spring. 

Offensive Coordinator Mike Denbrock 
Notre Dame’s OC will head to Texas and will make a stop at Marcus High School. Denbrock is expected to watch 2027 quarterback Colton Nussmeier‍ practice during the morning. The 6-foot-3, 175-pounder is the brother of current LSU quarterback Garrett Nussmieier, who finished his prep career as a composite top 100 player, and played for Denbrock the last two seasons. 

Nussmeier split time between JV and varsity in the fall. On varsity, the Texas native threw for 280 yards and four touchdowns. 

Offers: Baylor, Kansas State, Minnesota, Murray State, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas Tech and Wisconsin 

Freshman Highlights

Offensive Line Coach Joe Rudolph
Rudolph will remain in Pennsylvania on Tuesday to check on 2026 Cumberland Valley High School (Pa.) offensive lineman Tyler Merrill‍. The four-star prospect camped at Notre Dame last summer, attended the USC game in October and returned in April for spring practice. If you’re paying attention to Notre Dame’s recruiting strategy, this would be the blueprint of getting a player to workout for the staff, experience game day and then spring practice before their junior year starts. 

Merrill recently checked in at 6-foot-6, 332 with a wingspan of 79.1 inches. He also ran an impressive 5.42 40 in the rain at that size. In addition to Notre Dame, Merrill also made spring trips to Michigan and Penn State. 

Offers: Akron, Alabama, Boston College, Duke, Georgia, Iowa State, Kent State, Liberty, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, South Carolina, Syracuse, Temple, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Wisconsin 

Sophomore Highlights

Quarterbacks Coach Gino Guidugli
Guidugli will be in Louisiana on Tuesday for a spring game. He’s expected to be at Evangel Christian Academy (La.) to watch 2027 quarterback Peyton Houston‍. Notre Dame is familiar with Evangel Christian Academy as it’s the alma mater of former Irish defensive lineman Jerry Tillery. 

Power Conference programs were offering Houston as before he played his eighth-grade season, so the bright lights up the recruiting process aren’t new to him. He also played some varsity as an eighth grader. 

Offers: Arkansas, Colorado, Grambling, Houston, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Ole Miss, Purdue, SMU, TCU, Texas A&M and Texas Tech 

Freshman Highlights

Running Backs Coach Deland McCullough and Receivers Coach Mike Brown 
McCullough is expected to be in Florida, while Brown won’t be on the road. 

Defensive Coordinator Al Golden
Golden will remain in California working his way through the LA schools. We expect him to be at Orange Lutheran, which is the home to over 10 Division I prospects, including 2026 linebacker Talanoa Ili‍ and Samuelu Utu‍, who both hold offers from Notre Dame. 

Ili has had somewhat of a quiet spring as he took a couple visits to UCLA, but he’s been to Arizona State, Cal and USC. That said, Ili has put on a show on the camp and 7-on-7 circuit this spring. He’s recorded verified testing of 4.84 in the 40, 74.3-inch wingspan and a vertical of 25.8 inches at 6-foot-3, 208 pounds. 

Utu is one of the hottest linemen in the country as he’s completely blown up this spring. The 6-foot-5, 310-pounder now has offers coast-to-coast and recently went on a run of coveted SEC offers. Notre Dame offered on Pot of Gold Day, which was a big one for Utu. 

“He loved it,” stated Orange Lutheran assistant Chris Ward. “I didn't know this about him, but I guess his mom was a big Notre Dame fan growing up. So, he's very familiar with the program, but I think what stands out to him is just a good fit with his coach.

“I think it'll be pretty important with him as well is just a family environment. I think that's something we pride here at Orange Lutheran. It's like, 'You're more than a football player.' It's not going to be like a factory where you get a bunch of guys and then just kind of treat them as only football players. He wants to be developed in every aspect of his life.”

Ili Offers: Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Auburn, BYU, Cal, Florida, Kansas, Miami, Michigan State, Nebraska, Northern Arizona, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Oregon State, Penn State, SDSU, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA, USC, Utah and Washington 

Utu Offers: Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Auburn, BYU, Cal, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, UMass, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska, Northern Arizona, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Oregon State, Penn State, SMU, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, USC, Utah and Washington 

Ili Sophomore Highlights

Utu Sophomore Highlights

Defensive Line Coach Al Washington
Several Alabama high schools are expected to host Washington as he’ll make his presence felt in the South. Notre Dame offered 2026 Briarwood Christian School (Ala.) defensive lineman Garrett Witherington‍ following a spring visit to campus and we expect Washington make a stop to check on the 6-foot-5, 250-pounder. The Irish were early to offer him and we expect more to follow soon. Witherington put up some interesting measurables and testing this spring as he has a wingspan of 79.5 inches and ran 5.32 in the 40, which shows he can move at his size. Georgia also hosted him this spring.

Jemison High School is another stop we expected Washington to make. He offered 2026 defensive end Hezekiah Harris‍ on Pot of Gold Day and the 6-foot-5, 220-pounder will make a run at being one of the top defensive ends on the country. As of now, Harris enters the summer as the No. 3 composite edge rusher and a composite five-star. Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt hosted him this spring.

Harris might not end up as the nation’s top edge rusher as St. Paul’s (Ala.) defensive end Anthony Jones‍ might not give that title up. The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder is the nation’s top edge and is a complete freakshow. Notre Dame doesn’t make a habit of dishing out offers too early, but Jones received his last May. 

Jones won state in the shot put and placed third in the discus as a freshman. If you to talk wish lists, Jones would be at the top of just about every programs list. 

Witherington Offers: Cal, Georgia Tech, Northern Arizona, Notre Dame, Troy and Tulane 

Harris Offers: Alabama, Arkansas, Arkansas State, Auburn, UCF, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Louisville, LSU, Marshall, Miami, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Penn State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Troy, UAB, USC and Vanderbilt 

Jones Offers: Everyone

Witherington Sophomore Highlights

Harris Sophomore Highlights

Jones Sophomore Highlights

Linebackers Coach Max Bullough 
Bullough will join Golden at Orange Lutheran to check on Ili but he’ll also have a couple big stops for the 2025 class. We expect Bullough to head to J Serra Catholic (Calif.) to visit with top 2025 linebacker Madden Faraimo‍. The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder has seen Notre Dame twice and will get his third experience on June 7th for his official visit. Faraimo will also take officials to Washington (May 31), Ohio State (June 14) and Texas (June 21). Depending who you talk to, USC seems to be on the outside looking in, which we’ve told ISD readers over the last few months. At the moment, it feels like another Notre Dame vs. Ohio State battle. 

We also believe Bullough will head over to Bonita High School (Calif.) to visit with 2025 linebacker Noah Mikhail‍. The four-star prospect has been to Notre Dame numerous times, but the Irish appear to be fading here as he’s set official visits to Oregon, Texas A&M and USC. Mikhail will make his commitment on June 30th. 

Faraimo Junior Highlights

Mikhail Junior Highlights

Defensive Backs Coach Mike Mickens 
We expect Mickens to check on 2026 Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) cornerback RJ Sermons‍ on Tuesday. The four-star prospect made his first trip to Notre Dame in April and gave it rave reviews. 

“I want to get back out there soon,” said Sermons. “Just keep building relationships, keep coming down and really just feeling everything out. It is a great environment and place.”

In addition to Notre Dame, Sermons took visits to UCLA and USC this spring. 

Mickens is also expected at Oaks Christian (Calif.) to check on 2026 cornerback Davon Benjamin‍. The 6-foot, 180-pounder added an offer from Notre Dame on St. Patrick’s Day, but hasn’t made his way to campus just yet. 

Sermons Offers: Akron, Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, UConn, Georgia, Louisville, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Oregon, Penn State, SDSU, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA, UNLV, USC, Utah and Washington 

Benjamin Offers: Alabama, BYU, Cal, Georgia, Kansas, Louisville, Miami, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Missouri, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Oregon, Purdue, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA, UNLV, USC and Washington 

Sermons Sophomore Highlights

Benjamin Sophomore Highlights

Special Teams Coordinator Marty Biagi 
Biagi is expected to attend showcases in New York and New Jersey on Tuesday. 

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