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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

The Opening Cleveland - Class of 2019 Scouting Notebook

April 10, 2017

Two Notre Dame commits from the 2018 class competed yesterday at The Opening regional in Cleveland and there were some important targets taking part that the Irish would love to land as well. You can check out my notes on Phil Jurkovec, Bo Bauer, and the rest of the 2018  ND targets here.

I was impressed by the 2018s that were there, but one could argue that the 2019 recruits were just as good. In particular, the offensive and defensive lines had numerous players that Notre Dame fans either already know or will get to know over the next year as recruiting in that class starts to take off. They already have 22 offers out to current high school sophomores and three of those players competed with the defensive line yesterday.

Briggs and Lacey and Harrison...oh my

That's what opponents could be saying if these three every play together on the same defensive line in college. All three of them came in with Notre Dame offers and it was obvious why they are highly coveted recruits.

I have seen Jacob Lacey a couple of times in person last year at the Sound Mind Sound Body camp in Detroit and at Irish Invasion. The growth he has shown in less than a year shows why the Irish coaching staff did well to offer him so early. He's about the same weight as he was, but has trimmed some of his baby fat.

Being agile was his greatest strength to go with his size, but now he is starting to add some quick hands to go with it. He flashed explosive lateral quickness and threw in some nice counters too against some 2018 recruits with big time offer lists. He just straight up ripped and ran through the shoulder of some players to get to the quarterback as well.

The one thing I didn't like is a few times he got stoned on his counter and didn't keep fighting, but he'll get that worked out of him over the next couple of years. I thought he was the best interior pass rusher at the camp and was surprised he didn't make the Final 5.

Jowon Briggs also didn't make the Final 5, but I felt he deserved a nod as well. After his first couple of reps in one on ones where he attacked the full man and got stuck with his bull rush, the coaches emphasized that he needed to attack the edge of the blocker. He heard the message because he ran through the shoulder with a big time first step on several occasions and there wasn't much the players matched up with him could do to stop it.

He is really put together well and is going to be a scary dude when he gets to college, though he did look like his arms were really short. So were Sheldon Day's arms and he won with big time quickness. Briggs showed he has that same quickness and flexibility to develop into the type of player Day was in college.

It's rare for the most physically impressive kid at that camp to be a sophomore, but I can't think of anyone who was more "wow" in terms of his frame than Zach Harrison. He measured in at 6'5" and 242, but he looks like he can put on about 40 pounds in the next few years. He has a Jarron Jones-eque wingspan too.

As a pass rusher, he is very raw right now, although he did show a nice swipe and rip to win a rep early on in the day. He kind of got stuck in a rut of trying to simply run around the edge of tackles later on and needs to develop his hands quite a bit.

I don't think he is close to a 5 star prospect yet, but he does have the potential to get there based on how moves and how big he will be.

All three of these players visited Notre Dame recently and Lacey will be taking another trip to Notre Dame this summer for Irish Invasion.

Offensive linemen names to know

There were some 2019 offensive linemen from the Midwest that competed at this camp that don't have Notre Dame offers now, but could easily be offered during the May evaluation period or this summer.

I would be shocked if Devontae Dobbs doesn't receive one. The Belleville, Michigan product was a late addition to the camp and wasn't that far off from being the best tackle there. He already has a ton of offers from schools like Alabama, Florida State, and Ohio State. Notre Dame needs to jump in the mix soon because this kid has special potential.

His punch needs work, but his feet are exceptional for someone his size. The raw tools are awesome and he has an edge to him that I didn't see from 2018 stud tackle Jackson Carman.

Trevor Keegan has been to Notre Dame twice, most recently for Sophomore Day. Keegan doesn't have his sophomore film available to watch so this was the first I really got to see of him. He worked mostly at guard and though I think he improved throughout the day with the more coaching he received, he was up and down on the reps I watched him.

He struggled to anchor against some quicker players inside. Keegan needs to reshape his body and he looks like he is just starting to physically mature. My guess is that he will be evaluated this spring, but might have to come to camp to earn an offer in the summer.

I don't know if Notre Dame has been in contact with Doug Nester much, but I have a feeling they will be in the next few months. I haven't watched his film yet, but plan to do it as soon as possible after seeing him at the camp. He's got some bite to his game that really stood out.

He is advanced technically for his age and has above average feet. I would have guessed he was a 2018 prospect by looking at him as well. He took reps at tackle and inside and was comfortable doing both. Everything about him looks the part of an elite offensive line prospect and after I saw his offer list that includes Ohio State, Florida, and Ole Miss, he's definitely viewed as such by some big time schools who have offered him already.

Sleeper now, but not for long

One 2019 defensive lineman that was impossible not to notice was Noah Potter out of Mentor, Ohio. Currently he has only two offers (Bowling Green and Toledo), but I don't think that will stay that way for long. He made it into the Final 5 group of defensive lineman while some other more hyped prospects did not.

He seemed to get better with every rep and is just scratching the surface as to how big he is going to be at the next level. He is long (6'6") and and his hands improved exponentially over the course of the day. He might be an end now at 240 pounds, but is probably destined to play inside later on as a three technique. It may be a done deal if Ohio State offers him, his brother is on the basketball team, but I think he could really blow up this spring once teams get to watch him in person. We'll see if Notre Dame decides to take a look and jump into the race for someone like him.

(Note: I unfortunately didn't get to see a ton of the 2019 defensive backs and that is the only reason they are omitted from here.)
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