Commitment train continues with blue-chip CB Shaun Crawford


For a recruiting class that many expected to be small, the last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. And while Ohio’s Shaun Crawford may only be 5-foot-9, no recruit has been bigger for the Irish. Crawford became the Irish’s fifth commitment of the past 10 days when he pledged to the Irish on Father’s Day.

Crawford joins defensive tackles Brandon Tiassum, Micah Dew-Treadway and Elijah Taylor, along with fellow Ohio cornerback Nick Coleman as recruits joining Brian VanGorder’s defense in the last two weeks. Add to that the May 30th commitment of linebacker Josh Barajas, and Notre Dame’s recruiting class has began to take shape over the past month.

Crawford chose the Irish over an elite offer list that includes Florida State, Miami, Michigan and Ohio State. He was committed to the Wolverines earlier this summer but an offer from Notre Dame changed all that. After visiting campus and being wooed by VanGorder and secondary coach Kerry Cooks, Crawford finally pulled the trigger on Sunday.

Crawford embodies the recruiting change that’s come since Bob Diaco took the UConn job. At cornerback, Diaco coveted size and height. That meant no offer to Crawford when he first visited, even with a lofty recruiting ranking. But Crawford gives the Irish a full-time player in the mold of Cody Riggs, a small, competitive, lightning-fast cornerback that can play both inside and out and contribute in the return game.

Crawford caught up with’s Tom Loy, detailing the decision to back away from a Michigan commitment and decide on Notre Dame.

“I’ve always loved Michigan. Even after I committed, I loved Michigan,” noted Crawford. “This isn’t about them, really. I just really felt at home with Notre Dame. Once they offered and I talked to Coach Kelly, I just knew that I needed to give them another look. I remembered my first experience at Notre Dame and I just wanted to see if I would have the same feeling when I visited a second time. I wanted to see if it was a one-time thing or if that was just the place for me. After my visit to Notre Dame and talking to Coach Kelly, Coach Cooks, Coach McCarthy, [running backs] Coach [Tony] Alford and the rest of the staff, I just knew that I needed to be at Notre Dame and that’s where I truly wanted to be. Michigan didn’t do anything wrong or anything negative. I can’t say that enough. I have nothing but respect for them. Notre Dame is just the place for me and I had to make the best decision for me.”

Crawford’s commitment makes 13 for Notre Dame. He’s a consensus 4-star prospect who has been invited to The Opening and will likely be back in South Bend for next weekend’s Irish Invasion.



Irish continue recruiting run with DT Elijah Taylor


Notre Dame accepted their third commitment in three days with Ohio defensive tackle Elijah Taylor. The Archbishop Moeller star chose the Irish over Ohio State, giving Brian Kelly one important recruiting victory in a cycle filled with many Irish-Buckeye battles.

Taylor is a 6-foot-3, 285-pounder who had offers from Florida State, Miami, Michigan State, Tennessee and others. He’s the closet thing to a two-gap nose guard that the Irish have recruited since Brian VanGorder took over the defense.

After wondering how important defensive tackles would be in the Irish defense after watching Brian Kelly and company be very selective with Louis Nix on the roster, Notre Dame has added a slew of interior players. In the past week, they added Brandon Tiassum and Micah Dew-Treadway. In the final month of last recruiting cycle, they added Daniel Cage and Pete Mokwuah. Any concerns that Notre Dame wouldn’t be hunting big bodies up front can officially be dismissed.

While there’s room for more versatility at the position now than in Bob Diaco’s scheme, it appears that Taylor is a run-stuffer that Bobby D would’ve loved as well.

Our friends at Irish Illustrated caught up with Archbishop Moeller head coach John Rodenberg, who told Steve Hare that Taylor is one of the strongest players he’s ever recruited.

“He’s very disciplined and he comes from a real good family,” Rodenberg said. “He’s college strong. We stop him on his deadlifts at 650 and he benches 405. He squats over 600. He’s college ready.”

Notre Dame recruited Taylor as a defensive tackle but he has some experience playing outside as well.

“We’re a college 4-3 (defensive alignment),” Rodenberg said. “He’s a 1-technique. He plays his position and does a great job. We mix him up between the 1 and the 3. (Notre Dame) is looking for a true defensive tackle. He’s a tackle. They had some guys that departed for the NFL and they had a need at defensive tackle and they went after him.”

While he’s got the heft to be able to play on the nose, Taylor himself said that the staff sees him as they do new defensive tackle Sheldon Day. Talking to Irish Sports Daily, Taylor mentioned that the staff sees him as a perfect three-technique.

Taylor’s commitment brings the Irish 2015 recruiting class to a dozen.



Notre Dame gets (another) commitment from CB Nick Coleman


Just a week before some of the top recruits in the country head to South Bend, Notre Dame has begun building momentum on the recruiting trail. Just a day after Micah Dew-Treadway committed to the Irish defense, Ohio cornerback Nick Coleman pledged his commitment to the Irish on Thursday.

Coleman adds another piece to an Irish recruiting class that’s rapidly taking shape. The Archibishop Alter product, the same school that produced quarterback Malik Zaire, decided to pull the trigger after collecting an offer from the Irish in May.

Coleman had offers from Michigan State, Pitt, Illinois, and Boston College, along with a slew of MAC offers. He’s a six-foot cornerback who starred as a running back last season at Alter.

Our friends at Irish Illustrated got the money quote from Coleman, who all but followed the ultimate playbook with his rationale.

“They obviously have the best of both worlds in terms of academics and athletics,” Coleman told Steve Hare at Irish Illustrated. “They play on a national stage every week too. I wanted to be a part of that.

“You know it when you know it and I knew it. They turned us loose and we could have left last night but I wanted to stay so we just went out to eat and celebrated. I told the coaches this morning and we took some pictures and then I left.”

Coleman’s an interesting prospect who lacks the quality offers we’ve seen from some recent Irish commitments. But he steered clear of the camp and combine scene this summer, likely playing a role in his modest 3-star ranking and limited set of offers.

“You’re talking about a big, good-looking, physical corner that’s going to come in physically ready to play,” director of recruiting Steve Wiltfong told the South Bend Tribune. “If he’d have camped this summer, he’d have really seen his stock soar.”

After watching Coleman’s tape, it’s hard to disagree. It’s also hard to see what the Irish didn’t like in him as a running back. But with a powerful running style and a nose for contact, Coleman might not rate as high as some other cornerbacks on the board, but expect him to turn into a quality player.

Coleman’s commitment is the 11th in this class, joining Nicco Fertitta, Prentice McKinney in the secondary.








Irish add commitment from DL Micah Dew-Treadway


Notre Dame has added another big body to the front line of Brian VanGorder’s defense. Illinois defensive lineman Micah Dew-Treadway committed to the Irish on Wednesday, giving the Irish a massive presence on the Irish front line.

Dew-Treadway chose Notre Dame over offers from Illinois, UConn, Maryland, Mississippi State and Wisconsin. He measures in at 6-foot-5, 273-pounds. After camping at the Irish 5-Star Challenge, Dew-Treadway visited South Bend on Wednesday. He committed to the Irish just a few hours later.

If you’re looking at developmental prospects, Dew-Treadway certainly fits the bill. Relatively new to football, Dew-Treadway transitioned from basketball player to defensive tackle, and looks as if he’s still got room to add 30-40 pounds.

With the Irish just landing Indianapolis’ Brandon Tiassum, Notre Dame has two tackles set for the front of a 4-3. They might not be done either, with Cincinatti DT Elijah Taylor a heavy Irish lean as well.

It’s hard to look at Dew-Treadway and not think of Jarron Jones. Another big-bodied former basketball player, it has taken a little bit longer for the light to go on for Jones, but Dew-Treadway looks to have a motor that Jones is still trying to better develop. Both are gifted with tremendous size and athleticism, but need to develop the football IQ. It’s interesting to note that Dew-Treadway has offers from both Notre Dame’s current defensive staff and Bob Diaco’s staff at UConn as well.

With the Irish Invasion camp coming shortly and summer visits by some elite prospects happening all month, the Irish recruiting class should take shape by the Fourth of July.

Dew-Treadway is the 10th commitment in the Irish recruiting class.

Waller adds Irish to finalists as QB carousel keeps spinning


Notre Dame spent almost seven months sitting on the sidelines of quarterback recruiting. But Blake Barnett‘s departure from the Irish 2015 signing class has put Notre Dame in the middle of everything — and it looks like the Irish might be the ones to trigger the national dominoes to start falling.

Barnett’s surprise departure from the headliner of the Irish 2015 class may have come as a shock to fans and fellow recruits, but Notre Dame’s coaching staff moved quickly and confidently as they reopened their board.

In a matter of 48 hours, Notre Dame identified and targeted three elite prospects to replace Barnett:

Deondre Francois 
Jarrett Stidham 

Travis Waller

All three are top 10 targets at their position, as viewed by And all three seem interested in hearing more from Notre Dame in the very near future.

For Francois, the offer was welcome news. The IMG Academy quarterback who just came off an MVP performance at the Rivals 5-Star challenge, has pushed back his planned commitment from The Opening to the beginning of his season. That’ll let him get to South Bend and take in what Notre Dame has to offer.

“It will shake up my recruitment a lot because having Notre Dame, an independent school, an up an coming program and me coming in after Everett Golson having a chance to compete for the job would mean a lot,” Francois told’s Tom Loy. “I feel like I fit well in that offense.”

Stidham is a Texas Tech commit that’s arguably the top dual-threat quarterback in the country. The Notre Dame offer has caught his interest and turned Texas Tech fans into the same group that chastised Barnett for stepping away from his lengthy commitment. (FYI, that never helps.)

Stidham hasn’t scheduled any visit to South Bend, nor stepped away from his commitment, but the Irish’s pursuit has certainly opened his eyes to the possibility of a new college.

Perhaps the biggest mover of the past week has been Waller. With Notre Dame after the Servite quarterback, the Irish are back in Orange County chasing a signal-caller that’s at a higher profile school than Barnett and a place where the Irish already have in-roads.

It didn’t take long for Waller to put the Irish in his top four, with Notre Dame now battling Northwestern, Ohio State and Alabama. (Those offers don’t sound like a consolation prize.) Noted quarterback guru Steve Clarkson caught up with Bob Wieneke of the South Bend Tribune and had this to say about his most recent pupil.

One of the things that Clarkson pointed out is how Waller has played against big-time competition, listing national powers Long Beach (Calif.) Poly, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle and Las Vegas Bishop Gorman as teams Servite has tangled with.

“And he’s been a dominant player in those games,” Clarkson said.” He’ll fit in at any system. He’s what I like to call a pro-style athlete. He can operate out of a pro system but also is your new-wave spread quarterback. He’s very gifted athletically. he’s extremely accurate as a passer.”

Clarkson said Waller is hopeful to make a visit to ND soon and expects a decision within weeks. A top four or five could be announced this weekend.

“He’s a great kid, he’s an outstanding football player,” Clarkson said. “If Notre Dame is fortunate enough to get him, they’re not going to be … they’re not going backwards that’s for sure. The kid’s one heck of a football player.”

Clarkson has worked with Barnett in the past, so that last comment should raise an eyebrow or two.

While the loss of Barnett had Irish fans reeling, it certainly didn’t take long for Notre Dame’s staff to get back on their feet and chase after some targets that some recruiting services like even better than Barnett.

That says quite a bit about the machine that Brian Kelly’s built, and the positive response from all three targets should be seen as a positive as well.