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Recruiting carousel restarts with 2013 Rivals100 list

Feb 8, 2012, 9:37 PM EDT

Kendall Fuller

Notre Dame hasn’t stopped chasing 2012 prospects. But that doesn’t stop the recruiting carousel for spinning, as the lifeblood of college football — not to mention a multi-million dollar internet industry — continues to churn as college programs turn the page to a new year’s worth of recruits.

Nothing signals that more than the new release of the Rivals100 list for the class of 2013. Sure, we’re 363 days from Signing Day, but that hasn’t stopped Rivals, still the gold standard for talent evaluation, from releasing their top 100 juniors in the country. And as you’d expect, Notre Dame has identified quite a few players on the list.

(Disclaimer: After spending about 16 hours a week ago following every twist and turn in a pretty interesting Signing Day, forgive me if I’m not 100 percent passionate about this group of players just yet.)

Let’s take a run through the top 100 players in the country and highlight some of the players we’ll likely be talking about for the next 12 months…

RIVALS100 FOR 2013

COMMITTED: No. 49 — Steve Elmer, OT: Midland, Michigan — Elmer is the Irish’s lone 2013 recruiting commitment and one of the nation’s top offensive tackles. He’s planning on enrolling early next year and will ideally anchor a recruiting class filled with multiple offensive linemen.

No. 4 — Kendall Fuller, CB: Olney, Maryland — After being unable to hold on to the commitment of Maryland’s best cornerback in the 2012 class, the Irish are right back after Fuller. Kendall has two brothers playing for Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech, but lists the Irish in his top schools.

No. 5 — Su’a Cravens, DB: Murrieta, California — Mike Denbrock has already built a relationship with one of the nation’s most sought after defensive backs, who has plenty of options already. After pulling Tee Shepard out of Fresno, let’s see if Denbrock can pull another blue-chipper out of Southern California.

No. 10 — Vernon Hargreaves III, CB: Tampa, Florida — Hargreaves picked up an offer from the Irish in the fall, after watching the team his father coaches, the USF Bulls, beat the Irish. Tony Alford is likely the recruiter on Hargreaves case, and even with offers from all the major Florida programs and Ohio State, Hargreaves has ND among his favorites.

No. 11 — Tyrone Swoopes, QB: Whitewright, Texas — At six-foot-five, 220-pounds, and with recruiting tape that shows dazzling running ability, it’d be fun to see what the Irish could do with an athlete like Swoopes.

No. 15 — E.J. Levenberry Jr., OLB: Woodbridge, Virginia — The Irish are one of many top programs chasing one of the nation’s top linebackers. He’s a big linebacker that looks comfortable in both space and rushing the passer.

No. 17 — Michael Hutchings, LB: Concord, California — Another blue-chip player out of California powerhouse De La Salle, most of the Pac-12 is after Hutchings. The Irish offered recently and are in Hutchings’ top five.

No. 18 — Ty Isaac, RB: Joliet, Illinois — If you’re looking for a skill player that’s in the Irish’s crosshairs, look no further than Isaac. One of the top prospects in the Chicagoland area, Isaac has already been on campus multiple times and has long held an Irish offer. Chuck Martin is on the case, and absolutely needs to reel Isaac in. A nationally offered player that’s as close to a must-get recruit as there is.

No. 22 — Adam Breneman, TE: Camp Hill, Pennsylvania — Breneman was identified as the Irish’s No. 1 tight end prospect in the class of 2013. They weren’t alone. The potential five-star player will likely have the Nittany Lions in this battle to the end. A good test case for Scott Booker, who Rivals lists as Breneman’s primary recruiter.

No. 23 — Greg Bryant, RB: Delray Beach, Florida — Bryant has offers from Alabama, Ohio State, and just about every other major program in the country. Add Notre Dame to that list. Another Tony Alford project.

No. 26 — Robert Foster, WR: Monaca, Pennsylvania — Raised plenty of eyebrows at the Army All-American combine with an impressive performance. Notre Dame listed among his top programs, but plenty of big fish are also chasing him.

No. 27 — Ethan Pocic, OT: Lemont, Illinois — Another big offensive line prospect from a state that the Irish consider their backyard. Pocic earned an offer from the Irish at camp last summer and plans on being on campus again soon.

No. 28 — Eli Woodard, CB: Voorhees, New Jersey — Woodard got his first scholarship offer from Notre Dame last summer at camp, and has since done nothing but impress. Bob Diaco is his primary recruiter, and he’ll need to be at his best if they’re going to out-duel Ohio State.

No. 30 — Max Redfield, DB: Mission Viejo, California — Playing out of one of Orange County’s premiere high schools, Redfield already has offers from both UCLA and USC, with the Irish also in play. He’s already said he plans on taking an official visit to South Bend, but the Irish would love to get him to campus even sooner.

No. 31 — Laquon Treadwell, WR: Crete, Illinois — Another Illinois product, Treadwell and Brian Kelly spoke last week, reconfirming the Irish’s interest in the lanky wide receiver. He’s a guy that could likely walk in and play quickly.

No. 32 — Leon McQuay, DB: Seffner, Florida — Another premiere athlete, McQuay also sports a better than 4.0 grade-point-average, making him an attractive target. Holding an Irish offer from the spring, McQuay has the Irish in his top five.

No. 34 — Jaylon Smith, LB: Fort Wayne, Indiana — Another guy that should be atop Notre Dame’s recruiting lists. Has a brother that’s a running back at Ohio State, so the Irish will likely be fighting another battle with Urban Meyer.

No. 36 — Trey Johnson, LB: Lawrenceville, Georgia — Already committed to Auburn, the Irish likely will continue to fight for a visit from this elite inside linebacking prospect.

No. 38 — Antonio Conner, DB: Batesville, Mississippi — Notre Dame doesn’t pull too many players out of Mississippi, but there’s mutual interest here. He’s got prototype size at safety and has the offers to prove his ability.

No. 39 — Marcell Harris, DB: Groveland, Florida — Another defensive back that has an Irish offer. Has the big three Florida schools chasing him as well.

No. 43 — Henry Poggi, DL: Baltimore, Maryland — A front-seven player that’s got elite offers, Poggi caught the Irish’s victory over Maryland at FedEx Field last year.

No. 50 — Garrett Sickels, LB: Little Silver, New Jersey — A great list of offers for this New Jersey native with a really good profile for an outside linebacker in the Irish system. Looks like an impressive athlete.

No. 59 — Ahmad Fulwood, WR: Jacksonville, Florida — Fulwood has had an Irish offer since before his junior season and has the elite of college football chasing the 6-4 speedster. He expressed interest in visiting South Bend, but hasn’t gotten to campus yet.

No. 60 — Kyle Bosch, OT: Wheaton, Illinois — The Irish were slow to offer Bosch, but that changed when Harry Hiestand connected with the Illinois native after coming aboard. Notre Dame should be in this until the end.

No. 85 — Jaynard Bostwick, DL: Port Saint Lucie, Florida — Bostwick is likely a defensive end in Notre Dame’s system with the chance to slide inside depending on the front. He’s talked about setting up a visit at Notre Dame after being offered by the Irish in December.

No. 90 — Ryan Green, RB: St. Petersburg, Florida — Green was in South Bend for the Irish’s dominating win over Air Force. He’ll likely have Notre Dame in the running for his services until the end, but will also weigh offers from the power Florida schools and other powers as well.


For those keeping track, that’s 26 players from Rivals’ debut list — 14 of the top 30 players in the country  — that have scholarship offers from the Irish. Notre Dame has also offered a dozen more players that they’ve evaluated as better fits for their program.

It might be tough sledding for the Irish to close the deal on a majority of these recruits, but at the very least, you get to dispel the notion that the Irish don’t have access to the best talent in the country. With an early start on most of these players, Notre Dame will push to get as many to campus as soon as possible, building up a familiarity with the school that will be better than simply getting one-shot on an official visit weekend.


  1. dickasman - Feb 8, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    Jeez we got enough DB’s and LB’s in there? I’d like to see 3 or 4 offensive lineman on the list. We play 34, its ok but…I’d think that we should be in the play for at least top five offensive lineman’s? Oh how thee mighty has fallen. Didn’t we always use to be able to at least land at least one of top five OL’s without blinking?

    Thanks Keith but def. wayyyy toooooo early for this, fa sho!

    P.S. Word to the wise recruits: STAY DA F@#$%^&*() OFF OF TWATTER OR FOCKBOOK PLEAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! If you’re not going to stay off, please be smarter and use dick asman as your user name, NOT Yuri Wrong, mmmmkkkk?

    • andy44teg - Feb 8, 2012 at 11:20 PM

      Wow….HAHA…couldn’t have said it better myself!

  2. trbowman - Feb 9, 2012 at 12:45 AM


  3. trbowman - Feb 9, 2012 at 4:43 AM

    lol, is Tommy Rees seriously tweeting under the name ‘Tommy Pickles?

  4. whisk3yjack - Feb 9, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    Rivals hasn’t been the “gold standard for talent evaluation” since many of their best analysts broke off and formed 247 a few years ago.

  5. txbeej - Feb 9, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    We need a Rivals Top100 list for coaches. Those should be the folks we recruit.

    It’s all about coaching, not recruiting.

    Also Tyrone Swoopes is a terrific athlete, but he plays football in Division 2 of class 2A in Texas, which is for schools with the rather narrow enrollment range of 200 to 293. As you might imagine that means he doesn’t get to play against great competition, yet he’s never won a playoff game. That’s not a disqualifier, he’s a 5 star, got a lot of great offers, Colt McCoy played at a 2A, etc etc etc. I’m just saying.

    • captainspaulding22 - Feb 9, 2012 at 5:50 PM

      “It’s all about coaching, not recruiting.”

      That statement actually could not be further from the truth. Coaching football is the easy part; finding players you can win with is the hard part. Ask any college football coach and they will tell you something along the lines of; “It’s all about the Jimmy’s & Joe’s not the X’s & O’s.”

      • nudeman - Feb 9, 2012 at 6:32 PM

        You are missing an important aspect of “coaching”.

        It’s not all Xs and Os. Developing players, making them a little better each game/year is incredibly important.

        I’d rather have a team full of 3 star guys and a coaching staff who knows how to develop them and get the absolute best out of them than a team of 4 and 5 star guys with a coaching staff who can’t do squat except Xs and Os.

      • captainspaulding22 - Feb 13, 2012 at 1:16 PM

        @nudeman: Coach Martin (and probably every other college football coach in America) would like to disagree with you. See below from’s interview:

        Martin said both have a simple rule that offense is about “players not plays.” The objective is not about schematics because there isn’t a coach worth his salt in the country — from lower NCAA level to the NFL — who doesn’t understand Xs and Os. It’s about getting the ball to your best players in the most advantageous positions.

        As a former college coach myself, I would also like to disagree with you.

    • bernhtp - Feb 9, 2012 at 6:23 PM

      Recruiting (players, assistants and other staff) is a big component of coaching just as it is in business management. Some coaches can develop and field-manage the hell out of mid-level talent (what Kelly did at Cincinnati and what Mike Brey is currently doing with Notre Dame basketball), but this is rare. You generally need top talent to get to the elite level.

  6. heartofgoldandblue - Feb 9, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    Don’t know the details but just heard Davonte cancelled his trip to Arizona….trying to not get my hopes up.

    • nudeman - Feb 9, 2012 at 6:28 PM

      UPDATE: Of the “minor non-definitive” variety.
      At the gym today, saw two HS kids working out wearing Chapparal HS Football clothing.

      ME: “Where’s Davonte going?”.
      THEM: “Arizona” (in unison)
      ME: “Why wouldn’t he want to go to ND and be on TV every week?”
      THEM: “Family”. As in, it’s easier for the family to come see him play if he stays in AZ.


      Again, this one smells a lot like the type ND loses.
      Elongated process, kid wants to stay in state/region and play with his homies; parents like the idea of an ND education.
      Kid usually wins.

      There are also zero AZ kids on the ND roster so you’ve got a real longshot here, IMO.

      • gtizzo - Feb 9, 2012 at 8:40 PM

        Then why wait till the 21st to commit? This is what I can not stand about attempting to pick where these kids are going. Parents want one school and kids wants the other, maybe parents pull a wild card. Darius Walker’s parents moved to South Bend to watch there son unlikely yes, possible? Plus his parents can watch every game Davonte plays in the Irish are regularly on national TV even when there not a home. Arizona isn’t exactly have the same stay home appeal that a California kid has as in USC. Never attempt to get into the mind of an 18 year old…they always can surprise you.

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Feb 9, 2012 at 10:07 PM


        Darius Walker’s parents aren’t the only ones. Didn’t Reggie Bush’s parents purchase a house close to USC :)

      • nudeman - Feb 10, 2012 at 9:47 AM

        Good question. Originally they were set to announce the 10th I thought.
        I read somewhere else that there was an unexpected death in the extended family so that might have something to do with the delay.

        From EVERY angle – program quality, national exposure, academics, going forward with the rest of your life – ND wins over UA hands down

        But think about the decisions you made at 18. Mine weren’t that great
        I am on record as predicting he signs with UA

  7. papadec - Feb 10, 2012 at 2:21 AM

    gtizzo – the Jimmie Clausen clan moved to South Bend, also. If I remember correctly, it was a Wednesday night dinner hangout spot.

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