Tag: Recruiting

Photo: George Walker IV / THE TENNESSEAN

Irish commit C.J. Saunders dazzles at The Opening


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.


Irish get commitment from WR Miles Boykin

Property of Sun-Times media

Notre Dame may have missed out on Jashon Cornell and Justin Hilliard on Wednesday, but they won the commitment of jumbo receiver Miles Boykin. The Illinois native chose Notre Dame over Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Florida and a slew of other offers.

At a shade over 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, Boykin is one of the most physically impressive receiving prospects in the recruiting cycle. Originally projected by some as a tight end, Boykin has spent the summer attending national camps and combines, on a mission to prove his ability to play out wide and not attached. He’s done that, dominating in drills and putting up a more than respectable 40-yard dash time.

For the Irish, Boykin is a perfect fit. They’ve had great success with big receivers and detached tight ends, making it fairly irrelevant what position Boykin is officially listed at on the roster, as he’ll play a role we’ve seen since Brian Kelly came to town.


When discussing his commitment, Boykin spoke with Irish Illustrated’s Jake Brown ($), telling him about his growing comfort level in South Bend.

“Really it just feels like home there,” Boykin told Irish Illustrated Wednesday. “When I took my overnight visit there I knew I wanted to be there. I had to just take one visit to Michigan State because they were really close behind to see if I felt the same way about Notre Dame. Then after that I just knew I wanted to be there.”

Boykin told Brown that he’ll start his career at the X receiver, learning the outside receiver spot before moving around.

He’s Notre Dame’s 17th commitment of the cycle, a class that might be able to grow with the news that Nile Sykes could be transferring out of South Bend after the summer session is over.



Notre Dame adds commitment from DB Ashton White


The recruiting train continues for Notre Dame, with Washington D.C. area defensive back Ashton White pledging his commitment to the Irish on Tuesday evening. The one-time Virginia Tech commitment chose Notre Dame after being offered at the Irish Invasion camp.

White had offers from West Virginia, Ohio State, Iowa, UConn, Maryland and Boston College (among others). He’s a 5-foot-11, 182-pounder who will finish up his prep career at Bishop McNamara.

In a matter of weeks, Notre Dame has solidified its secondary with a strong recruiting class, a year after focusing on the front seven. White joins cornerbacks Shaun Crawford and Nick Coleman as well as safeties Nicco Fertitta and Prentice McKinney.

White made it clear why he made his decision when catching up with BlueandGold.com’s Tom Loy ($):

“It’s Notre Dame. It doesn’t get better than that,” White told Loy. “They will contend for a national championship just about every year and you can get the best degree in the country. It will set you up in life, with work, and just puts you in a better position than a lot of other people. It’s just an incredible opportunity for football and academics. You’re double dipping. It’s perfect. It’s the best place I could possibly be.”

With White, Notre Dame extends its recruiting class to 16. He’s the ninth commit to Brian VanGorder’s defense, a cornerback who had an offer from both Urban Meyer and Bob Diaco.

The recruiting news should kick up early tomorrow as well, with blue-chippers Jashon Cornell and Justin Hilliard in the morning and receiving target Miles Boykin in the afternoon. Quarterback Travis Waller pledged to Oregon today, taking him off the board. And most are bracing for the worst with the Cornell and Hilliard “joint” announcement (they’ll both make the decision at 9 a.m. CDT), while others are optimistic about Boykin.

Either way, for a class many were worried about entering June, it looks like Notre Dame will be close to full by the time the season opens.