Irish recruits representing at “The Opening”

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If you’ve been clamoring for more coverage on “The Opening,” Nike’s foray into the 7-on-7, recruiting world/hype machine, there’s plenty of places on the internet that’ll satisfy your needs. (My personal favorite right now is the Nike official website, where they show actual laser-recorded 40-yard dash times, which helps get rid of some of the fake 40 times and dispel the speed myths that get readily perpetrated.)

While something about the televised, Nike-ization (new word) of the whole thing makes me feel a little slimy, I’d be doing you all a great disservice if I didn’t mention the impressive showing that Irish recruits are having in Beaverton, Oregon.

Irish commitments Justin Ferguson, Deontay Greenberry, Mark Harrell, David Perkins and Tee Shepard have taken their talents to Niketown, and the recruiting world has taken notice. As he’s done throughout the offseason, Greenberry has been a handful in seven-on-seven, and reports out of the combine are confirming that the Irish will be bringing a big time ball-skills guy to campus. Shepard has looked good at both corner and has shown some athleticism at wide receiver as well, measuring in at a legit 6-foot-1, 180-pounds. Harrell measured in at 6-foot-5, 267-pounds (and ran a very lineman like 5.57 40), and Justin Ferguson has looked smooth from a variety of reports.

All that being said, if Irish fans want to be excited about anyone, look no further than South Bend’s own David Perkins. Blazing to an electric 4.50 forty and leading the camp in the powerball toss, Perkins was a national finalist in the SPARQ competition, a cumulative scoring system that takes into account size, speed, 40-time, shuttle run, vertical leap and powerball. It’s pretty clear that the Irish coaching staff didn’t make their scholarship offer to Perkins based on proximity and instead found an elite athlete that could easily see the field at multiple positions.

The Irish are targeting over 20 guys at the camp, with familiar names like Armani Reeves, William Mahone, Sheldon Day, and Zach Banner all making noise. Still, in a combine that’s attracted some of the nation’s best talent, Notre Dame made its presence felt.

“A lot of people are trying to show us love now,” Greenberry told ESPN. “Back a few years ago, people weren’t really high on Notre Dame. But now they see me and Tee representing the school and performing at a high level, and it’s a different reaction.”

Perhaps Shepard had the quote that should have Irish fans most excited.

“It’s exciting because once ND comes back up, it’s over for everyone else,” Shepard said. “We’re going to compete for championships and beat the best every week.”

Local product David Perkins commits to Irish

Property of Ryan Call

(Ed. Note: Photo is property of Ryan Call.)

It’s not every day that the Irish pick up a recruit from their own backyard, but Notre Dame reeled in commitment number ten from South Bend’s Washington High School, with linebacker-running back-athlete David Perkins announcing his intent this afternoon.

Perkins chose the Irish over Tennessee and Syracuse and had offers from Michigan State, Mississippi State, Iowa, Arizona and others.

“Notre Dame not only committed to me as an athlete, but also in my development as a man, both academically and socially,” Perkins said at his press conference. “Coach Kelly and his staff have proven to me that Notre Dame will provide me with more than a four-year commitment. Instead, Notre Dame offers me a 40-year plan for a successful life… I’d like to thank the University of Notre Dame for the life-changing opportunity that they have offered me.”

With Perkins, the Irish have clearly targeted an explosive, fast-twitch athlete, now the question becomes where does he play? If Notre Dame turned down linebacker Joe Bolden because he didn’t have the size the Irish wanted in an outside linebacker, they likely see something extraordinary in Perkins that let them take a chance on the similar-sized player.

It could be the geography that goes along with protecting your city limits or it could be that Perkins has put up impressive tape at running back as well, a position the Irish need to fill in this recruiting class. More likely though, it’s Perkins’ freakish first step, athleticism that turned Perkins into a combine All-Star when working against offensive linemen.

At 6-foot-2 and roughly 210 pounds, Perkins has the ability to grown into the mold of Darius Fleming or Steve Filer with some serious weight room work, two athletes that don’t quite fit the Brian Kelly – Bob Diaco defensive template but might have exceptional aspects that make him attractive to the coaching staff.

What’s clear is that Notre Dame got a very good football player from its own friendly confines, a proposition that was likely too good to pass up.

It appears about half of the recruiting bus is already filled, with 10 scholarships accounted for, not to mention the return of Chris Badger and the potential enrollment of Jordan Prestwood.