Micah Jones


Notre Dame lands speedy CA receiver’s commitment


Notre Dame’s offense this season has relied on the running game. Its passing attack has been serviceable, at best. Yet the Irish success and the coaching staff behind it have impressed consensus three-star receiver Geordon Porter (Etiwanda High School; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) enough for the California speedster to commit to Notre Dame on Wednesday.

“I like the coaching staff there and the good academics,” Porter told Blue & Gold Illustrated. “It’s a great school to get a degree from, and they’ve got a good balanced attack on offense with running the ball, play-action and all that good stuff.”

Porter chose the Irish over Arizona State and Utah, both of which he visited more recently than his trip to Notre Dame to watch the 20-19 loss against Georgia on Sept. 9. He also held offers from Alabama, Georgia and Washington State.

The No. 47 player in California and the No. 67 receiver in the country, per rivals.com, Porter excels in track, as well. As a junior, he ran a 10.61-second 100-meter dash. That interest may continue in college, but it did not seem to determine much of his recruitment. Rather, Porter expressed a distinct desire to use his speed to find his way to the NFL and wanted to join a program that would best aid in that endeavor.

Porter is the 18th commitment in the Irish class of 2018 and the third receiver, joining consensus four-star and mid-August commit Kevin Austin (North Broward H.S.; Coconut Creek, Fla.) and Rivals four-star and mid-February commit Micah Jones (Warren Township; Gurnee, Ill.). The trio will join a receiver depth chart laden with youth and lacking much of a future pecking order.

Current sophomores Chase Claypool and Kevin Stepherson will lead the way in 2018, along with current junior Equanimeous St. Brown, presuming he returns for his senior year. Junior Chris Finke has played well in limited time this season, but his eligibility will run out before any of the 2018 commitments are desperate for snaps.

Opportunities, and competition, will await Porter, Austin and Jones.

Notre Dame lands second WR in class of 2018

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Notre Dame picked up the commitment of consensus four-star receiver Kevin Austin on Friday as the summer recruiting rush nears its end. Austin (North Broward High School; Coconut Creek, Fla.) chose the Irish over finalists Duke, Miami and Tennessee, with Clemson, Michigan, Oregon and many others also expressing interest in him.

At 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, rivals.com rates Austin the No. 28 receiver in the class of 2018, the No. 141 prospect in the country and the No. 32 player in Florida.

Notre Dame currently has a plethora of receivers but its depth chart remains in flux, especially in the two classes ahead of Austin. First off, junior Equanimeous St. Brown may have the viable option of heading to the NFL after the season, and fifth-year senior graduate transfer (from Arizona State) Cameron Smith will be out of eligibility after this season. Those two departures would and will open up plenty of opportunity.

Of the current sophomores, only Chase Claypool has established himself. Kevin Stepherson remains a baffling question mark, and Javon McKinley has yet to get much of an opportunity. Freshmen Jafar Armstrong and Michael Young only got to campus this summer, but either would need to overcome a deep roster to find extensive playing time this fall.

Thus, when Austin arrives, a chance may be waiting for him or mid-February commit Micah Jones (Warren Township H.S.; Gurnee, Ill.), a rivals.com four-star.

Including both Austin and Jones, the Irish class of 2018 is up to 16 commitments, six now coming this summer. Theoretically, players often like to make a commitment before their high school senior seasons start. It allows them to focus on their own schedule without the added stress and possible travel of recruiting.

More than that — especially considering how many recruits still take their official visits because they recognize the value of a free trip to a high-profile sporting event — with each recruit committing somewhere, it pushes a domino effect forward. With Austin’s commitment, other receivers around the country now see one fewer school targeting the position. Other Notre Dame targets see one fewer spot available in South Bend.

In the remaining handful of openings, the Irish coaching staff will presumably target the troubling void of cornerbacks in this class and the current freshman class, as well as look for at least one more offensive lineman and one more defensive lineman each.

Naturally, as is the case with all 16 commitments, National Signing Day is still a long ways off.

Notre Dame adds four-star TE, loses four-star WR


Win some. Lose some. Such as recruiting goes.

Hours after Notre Dame lost the commitment of a speedy receiver Wednesday afternoon, the Irish gained the verbal pledge of consensus four-star tight end George Takacs (Gulf Coast High School; Naples, Fla.).

The subtraction of consensus four-star receiver Braden Lenzy (Tigard H.S.; Portland, Ore.) and subsequent — though, it should be specifically noted, unrelated — addition of Takacs keeps the Notre Dame class of 2018 at 12 commitments currently, with Takacs the first tight end.

The No. 10 tight end in his class, per rivals.com — the No. 48 prospect in Florida and the No. 234 in the country — Takacs will join a depth chart in flux at tight end. Current fifth-year senior Durham Smythe will be gone come 2018. That much is certain. Senior Nic Weishar will have another year of eligibility after 2017 should the Irish coaches offer him a fifth year, and junior Alizé Mack will have a possible decision to make regarding early entry into the NFL Draft.

Early-enrolled freshman Brock Wright and incoming classmate Cole Kmet, both consensus four-stars themselves, will welcome Takacs, with or without Weishar and Mack.

That tight end depth may have played a part in Takacs’ commitment. Notre Dame’s offense is expected to feature tight ends, often in two tight end sets, under the direction of offensive coordinator Chip Long. Those theories obviously necessitate both quality and quantity at the position in order to become realities.

“Coach Long is a big tight end guy, so talking to him about the offense has been fun,” Takacs told Blue & Gold Illustrated. “The fact that he’s the offensive coordinator and the tight ends coach really excites me.”

The 6-foot-6, 235-pound Takacs chose Long and the Irish over the likes of Wisconsin, Florida and Georgia.

In switching his commitment to his homestate Ducks, Lenzy left the Notre Dame class of 2018 with only one receiver currently, rivals.com four-star Micah Jones (Warren Township H.S.; Gurnee, Ill.).

Taking Lenzy’s track intentions at face value, and he has certainly shown the speed for a possible future in the pursuit, Oregon makes sense as a landing spot. Eugene, Ore., is known as TrackTown, U.S.A., for a reason.

In many respects, Wednesday may be the epitome of the recruiting aspects Irish coach Brian Kelly referenced on National Signing Day (Feb. 1) when discussing the pros and cons of an early signing day this December.

“Our mindset is we’re going into it business as usual,” Kelly said. “We’re all going to have to fight until February.”

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