Recruiting Week In Review

May 29, 2017
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Notre Dame coaches are on the road visiting schools, evaluating prospects and issuing offers.  They’re also measuring the feedback they’re receiving from recruits.  And like always there’s positive and negative in that as well.  One important thing for recruitniks to remember is that Signing Day 2018 is a long way away and much can change.  An example of that occurred recently when a 2018 recruit that had previously excluded the Irish from his top schools has indicated that Notre Dame may have gotten on his list.

The Irish are not only pursuing 2018 prospects but are also working hard to make inroads with 2019 and even 2020 recruits as well.  While Notre Dame has traditionally lagged behind the top college football powers in early evaluation and offers, there’s evidence that they’re trying to step up their game in that regard.  Last week Irish Sports Daily reported on a 2018 recruit that their aggressive recruiting may have gotten them back into the mix with and a 2019 player that they are already pursuing hard.  What have you been missing by not being a member of Irish Sports Daily?

Calvin Avery, DT, 6-2, 310, Bishop Dunne High School, Dallas, TX has held a Notre Dame scholarship offer for quite some time but did not originally seem to warm to the Irish’s attention.  That appears to be changing because of Notre Dame’s sheer persistence.

“Right now I’m thinking about readjusting my top 12 and they might make an appearance,” he said.  “Maybe some of these schools don’t show me as much love as some of the other ones do.”

It’s been precisely because of the attention that the Irish have shown the four-star prospect that he is taking another look at them.

“I just love the coaching staff up there,” he shared.  “I love the environment.  I know they’ve got a great educational program going on up there.  I know they can influence me to get better grades and do better in class.”

Avery was impressed when Notre Dame Defensive Backs Coach Todd Lyght and Defensive Coordinator Mike Elko made the trip to Dallas to watch him practice.

“It says a lot that they’ll come to just watch practice.”

Former Bishop Dunne star cornerback Nick Watkins is currently on the Notre Dame roster and the two have had conversations about what it’s like to wear the Blue and Gold.

“I’ve talked to him about and he said it’s a great program and stuff like that,” Avery recounted.

Avery plans to take his time with recruiting and not make any decision until after the conclusion of his season.

Ronnie Hickman, ATH, 6-1, 200, DePaul Catholic High School, Wayne, NJ has an even longer time to make a final decision than does Avery.  The 2019 recruit’s decision might be even harder than Avery’s because not only does he have to decide where he will play college sports but what sport he will play.  He has already committed to Rutgers to play lacrosse but his coach insists that his future lies in another sport.

“He’s a football player,” said head coach John McKenna.

Apparently, a number of top programs agree with that assessment.  Notre Dame, Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Wisconsin and numerous others have already extended scholarship offers to play football.  As if the choice of lacrosse or football isn’t difficult enough, there is also the conundrum of what position he will play if he does choose football.  While he played running back as he grew up, McKenna has other plans for him this coming season.

“Last year he played wide receiver and corner,” the head coach explained.  “This year he’s going to be playing safety and wide receiver.”

Where Hickman ends up playing is hardly set in stone.  He’s a very young junior to be, only fifteen years old, but McKenna insists that he’s both talented and mature beyond his years.

“He’s big, he’s so young,” he said.  “For a receiver he high points the ball great, he’s a great route runner.  But his work ethic and being coachable is just off the charts.  He just turned fifteen so I have no clue what side of the ball he’ll end up on.  He’s very good on both sides of the ball for us.  Colleges are looking at him for both right now.”

While the four-star athlete hasn’t been to South Bend yet, his coach is certain he will at some point.  This will give the Irish a chance to impress him.

“Whenever he can he goes out and visits every school that’s offered him, so he’ll get out to Notre Dame.”

Although it’s still early, McKenna believes that Notre Dame has the opportunity to put themselves in a strong position with his star player.

“Just feeling comfortable, getting to know the coaches, the players in the locker room, the academics, pretty much everything Notre Dame offers,” explained McKenna of what Hickman will be looking for.  “It’s just comfort and feel.”

These two summaries represent just a sample of the Notre Dame football recruiting information available each week on Irish Sports Daily.
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