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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

2020 Recruiting | What's Next

June 25, 2019

Another week and another commitment in the Class of 2020 for Notre Dame.

Landen Bartleson‍ announced his pledge to the Irish on Monday. The Kentucky cornerback’s commitment brings Notre Dame’s current total of prospects in the Class of 2020 to 14.

He gives the Irish a pair of cornerbacks in the group, joining New Jersey’s Clarence Lewis, who announced his decision earlier this month.

As is always the case, the size of Notre Dame’s class will be in flux until the end. We’ve adjusted our projected total for the class down to 20 or 21, leaving room for up to seven more targets to come on board.

(Click here to check out a breakdown of how and why those numbers change)

So, what or who is next?

The first place to look is back at cornerback, where Caleb Offord‍ (pictured above) is set to announce his commitment on The Fourth of July. The Mississippi defensive back made a pair of visits to South Bend this month, including an official this past weekend, and the Irish are considered the heavy favorites to land him on the nation’s birthday.

Ramon Henderson‍, Elijah Gaines‍ and Will Nixon‍ will still be out there, but three cornerback commits in the span of a month could cause Notre Dame to pump the brakes a bit at the position and turn its focus heavily to safety.

Earlier this month, Notre Dame hosted Lathan Ransom‍ for an official visit, but he followed that up with officials to Texas and Ohio State and the Longhorns and Buckeyes both look to be on top of the Irish. At one point, New Jersey’s RJ Moten‍ seemed like a promising option, but he’s scheduled an announcement for July 27 and hasn’t visited South Bend yet, so that looks like great news for Michigan.

Virginia’s Malcolm Greene‍ and Texas’ Jerrin Thompson‍ remain on the board and the Irish still have chances to impress them for official visits, but neither is a lock or even much of a lean to Notre Dame at this point. It wouldn’t be shocking to see the safety board begin to expand a bit.

With Alexander Ehrensberger‍, Rylie Mills‍, Aidan Keanaaina‍ and Jordan Botelho‍ committed on the defensive line, Notre Dame could be finished. The Irish are still after defensive end Mitchell Melton‍, but beyond him, they’ve pretty much closed things down up front for the moment. Similarly, it’s becoming increasingly clear they plan at passing on linebacker altogether in favor of more defensive backs.

Offensively, Notre Dame looks to be done everywhere except wide receiver.

The Irish could decide to bring offensive lineman Andrew Gentry‍ in along with Michael Carmody‍ and Tosh Baker‍, but the Colorado native is planning to take a mission before enrolling and would be more of a 2022 recruit in terms of scholarship numbers than 2020.

Quarterback Drew Pyne‍, running back Chris Tyree‍, wide receiver Jordan Johnson‍ and tight ends Michael Mayer‍ and Kevin Bauman‍ represent an impressive foundation of skill position talent.

The Irish also have a commitment from long snapper Alex Peitsch‍.

Xavier Watts

Notre Dame is shopping for wideouts to go with Johnson.

California’s Jalen McMillan‍ came off the board on Monday, when he committed to Washington, removing a huge potential target for the Irish.

Meanwhile, Xavier Watts‍ and AJ Henning‍ appear to be nearing decisions with Notre Dame looking to have the advantage over Nebraska for Watts while Michigan appears to have a major edge over the Irish for Henning.

That brings us to Jay Brunelle‍.

Many assumed the Massachusetts wide receiver would be a Notre Dame lock after receiving an offer at Irish Invasion, but we cautioned that Brunelle still needed to build up a relationship with the staff and learn more about where he’d fit in on the field. There was initial talk about him potentially getting a look at safety. We’re not sure that’s still the plan, but it’s important the plan is explained soon, and we expect it will be. Meanwhile, Michigan has gone all-in on Brunelle as a receiver in recent weeks and an official visit to Ann Arbor this weekend could have the Wolverines in the pole position.

If the Irish can convince Brunelle to hold off on making a decision until taking an official visit to South Bend following the dead period, they will have a shot at regaining the momentum. Or, maybe Brunelle has already seen enough in two visits to know whether or not Notre Dame is the best fit for him.

We’d be surprised if Notre Dame didn’t end up landing Offord and Watts soon, leaving four or five open spots for safety, receiver and elsewhere.

Check out the full ISD Target List HERE

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