Tag: Recruiting

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Notre Dame lands Indianapolis safety Mykelti Williams


Notre Dame solidified its safety depth chart by going for a homegrown solution. The Irish offered Indianapolis Warren Central safety Mykelti Williams yesterday, and today the four-star prospect made the decision official by committing to Notre Dame.

Williams took an official visit to Minnesota last weekend and had another on tap for January to Louisville. But those plans seem to be obsolete from the moment Mike Elston offered the defensive back.

He told 247Sports.com’s Steve Wiltfong why the decision was so easy.

“It was kind of like a thing, you grow up as a kid, you dream about that day, and it came true for me,” Williams told 247 Sports. “It’s a blessing that I’ll play in front of my family and get a great education and play with some great guys.”

The Irish’s late run at the safety was a product of several things. First, a need to add more depth to the safety position after injuries decimated the depth chart. Second was a great senior season that had Williams joining Asmar Bilal on the 6A All-State team. (Fellow commitment Brandon Tiassum is on the 2A All-State team.)

That senior tape weighed heavily on the Irish’s decision to offer Williams. So did a visit from defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, who was convinced that the slightly undersized safety would offer plenty in the secondary.

As rumors swirl around the stability of Pretince McKinney’s commitment to the Irish, landing Williams now makes certain that the Irish aren’t left empty-handed at a position where there are still multiple offers out. Add to the fact he’s a physical player with very good speed and the Indianapolis native is far from a consolation prize.

Williams is the 22nd commitment to the 2015 class. He had other top offers from Wisconsin, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Nebraska.



Linebacker Tevon Coney commits to Notre Dame


For the second time in a week, Notre Dame’s recruiting class landed a playmaking linebacker. During a press conference streamed live on ESPN.com, Florida’s Tevon Coney pledged his commitment to the Irish, picking Notre Dame over finalists Miami and Florida.

“For the next four years, I’ll be playing at the University of Notre Dame,” Coney said during his announcement at Palm Beach Gardens High School.

The 6-foot-1, 222-pounder is a four-star recruit with other offers from Ohio State, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia and other top programs. Coney first visited campus during the Irish Invasion in June, with recruiting coordinator Tony Alford working hard to get the Palm Beach native and his father to campus over the summer.

Coney returned for an official visit on Michigan weekend, there to see the Irish defense shutout the Wolverines for the first time in history. After taking official visits to Florida and Miami, Coney plans on early enrolling in January, joining the team in time for spring practice.

Most believed the battle for Coney came down to Florida and Notre Dame. With the Gators looking in a bit of disarray with Will Muschamp likely nearing the end of his tenure as head coach, Coney acknowledged the push-and-pull between staying in Florida and playing for a team he long saw himself playing for and Notre Dame.

“One day, I feel like I should go to this school and one day, I feel like I should go to that school,” Coney told the Sun-Sentinel. “I’m still trying to decide where I want to go and what school I should feel comfortable with and where I want to get my degree. I want to make the right decision.”

The decision to pick Notre Dame closes the linebacker group with a very good playmaker. Joining Asmar Bilal and Josh Barajas, Brian VanGorder’s first recruiting cycle at Notre Dame gives you an idea of the type of athlete the Irish are targeting at linebacker, with all three very early targets for the coaching staff.

A look at Coney’s highlight reel shows you an aggressive linebacker who loves to blitz. He’s viewed as the top player in Palm Beach County, a talent-rich part of the country for high school football.

Coney is the 21st member of Notre Dame’s recruiting class, a group that’s now a top-ten class in both Rivals and 247’s estimations.



Irish get commitment from pass-rusher Bo Wallace


On a Saturday where Notre Dame failed to get any sacks, the Irish landed a pass-rusher for the future. New Orleans’ Bo Wallace committed to the Irish on Sunday, announcing the decision on Twitter. Wallace and his parents were in South Bend this weekend for his official visit, taking in the North Carolina game and campus.

The 6-foot-3.5, 215-pounder is expected to play defensive end for Notre Dame, adding a much needed edge-rush presence to the 2015 recruiting class. While he’s an undersized prospect that only carries a three-star ranking, Wallace stars for the powerhouse John Curtis program, and had offers from Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Oklahoma, Texas and Florida State.

Wallace’s commitment is a surprise, considering John Curtis prospects rarely take official visits before their season is over. But with a weekend off, Wallace and his family were able to get to Notre Dame to meet with the coaches and take in campus, and that was all that it took to close the deal.

Wallace is commitment No. 19 for the Irish, filling another need as the class gets closer and closer to capacity. Wallace joins Jerry Tillery as a Louisiana-based recruit and is the first defensive end in the class.

Irish flip blue-chip QB Brandon Wimbush


Notre Dame has added the all important quarterback to their 2015 recruiting class. Former Penn State commitment Brandon Wimbush has joined the Irish recruiting class, officially flipping his commitment after a weekend visit to South Bend.

Wimbush is a Top 100 prospect and one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the country. The future Under Armour All-American fills a vacancy at quarterback that’s existed since Blake Barnett backed out from his Irish commitment and eventually decided to head to Alabama.

Wimbush caught up with Irish Illustrated’s Jake Brown and detailed the decision.

“It was the best decision I could’ve made for myself,” Wimbush told Rivals.com. “It was in my best interests and it gives me the opportunity that I need for myself to succeed.”

Brian Kelly all but made the news official, with his tweet signifying a new commitment. And for the second time in this recruiting cycle, Notre Dame has plucked a crown jewel from Penn State’s class, joining linebacker Josh Barajas making the flip from Happy Valley to South Bend.



Irish commit C.J. Saunders dazzles at The Opening

Photo: George Walker IV / THE TENNESSEAN

Some of the top recruits in the country are in Oregon this week, taking part in The Opening, a combine and football camp hosted at the Nike headquarters. For recruitniks, it’s an opportunity to see the top prospects of the cycle compete in a 7-on-7 tournament, as well as go through the Nike SPARQ Rating Championship, an NFL combine-like set of testing events that measure speed and explosiveness.

For Irish fans, The Opening also gave them a closer look at wide receiver C.J. Sanders. And after yesterday’s performance, Sanders will be a much more appreciated recruiting. After entering camp as a modestly-ranked three-star prospect, Sanders will get a huge boost after putting up ridiculous numbers.

Sanders made the SPARQ finals, televised on ESPNU on Tuesday evening. He didn’t win, but it was his work during testing that opened eyes, with the 5-foot-8.5, 175-pounder showing dazzling speed and quickness to go along with impressive strength numbers as well.

Sanders ran a 4.32 40-yard dash in the prelims, just two-hundredths of a second slower than the top time. (His time would’ve been the fastest at last year’s SPARQ testing.) He also put together a ridiculous 3.80 20-yard shuttle time, the best in the entire camp. Throw in a 38.6″ vertical leap and you’ve got yourself a freak athlete.

While the timing system isn’t quite apples to apples with the NFL Combine, Sanders shuttle time would stand as the fastest at the NFL level dating back as far back as the NFL’s website records, when Jason Allen and Brandin Cooks both clocked 3.81 in 2006.

Sanders wasn’t the only Irish prospect who looked impressive. While linemen Jerry Tillery and Tristian Hoge held their own for big men, cornerback Shaun Crawford also put up elite numbers.

Measuring in at 5-foot-8.5 and 170-pounds, Crawford clocked a 4.48 40-yard dash, while leaping 38.8 inches in the vertical. That should more than make up for a lack of height, and Crawford also ran a sub-four second shuttle, making him one of the quickest guys at camp.