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Recruiting: Atkinson twins highlight recruits

Douglas Farmer | Thursday, September 9, 2010

If Notre Dame plays well Saturday, it could help the Irish in seasons to come as much as it would help them during this season.

Three four-star recruits, according to the ESPN top 150 recruit rankings, will visit campus for the Michigan game, along with a pair of twins, Irish recruiting expert Mike Frank said.

“If they like what they see, there is a good chance Notre Dame could end up with both [George and Josh Atkinson],” said Frank, who heads the online ESPN affiliate Irish Sports Daily.

Along with the Atkinson brothers, defensive end Stephon Tuitt, safety Wayne Lyons and offensive tackle Antonio Richardson will spend the weekend at Notre Dame absorbing the gameday experience.

Richardson, the highest ranked recruit among the five at No. 32, would fill a big need for Notre Dame on the offensive line. The high school senior already tips the scales at 310 pounds, standing 6-foot-6.

“He’s always had an interest in Notre Dame,” Frank said. “He wants to come up for a game and get that experience, see that atmosphere. If he likes it, Notre Dame could really be in the mix for him.”

Lyons, at No. 67 on the ESPN top 150, would potentially join a secondary that is currently struggling depth-wise.

“Lyons is a phenomenal athlete,” Frank said. “He could play cornerback or safety, and is just a guy you want.”

Tuitt, from Georgia, has listed Notre Dame as one of his top five preferences, but is still highly recruited from across the country, with reason.

“Tuitt would be a great addition to the class,” Frank said. “He is a big guy already so he wouldn’t need to add much weight to play that defensive end position.”

Tuitt, 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds, has not visited Notre Dame before.

“He is a real smart kid,” Frank said. “He’s the type of kid who I think will really like it once he’s here. He is very similar personality-wise to a lot of guys already on the team.”

Of the five recruits, Notre Dame might have its best chance of landing the Atkinson brothers. Josh, a cornerback, would also potentially help Notre Dame’s depleted secondary in a year.

“If Josh commits, he will probably be the guy with the most speed at the corner position,” Frank said.

George Atkinson could play multiple positions for the Irish. Frank compared George to former Florida receiver Percy Harvin, who left college after the 2008 season.

“George is a real dynamic player that could play nearly anything,” Frank said. “I think Notre Dame envisions him in a Percy Harvin role, you put him at wide receiver or running back. He could play a lot of different positions.

“The main thing is you just want to put the ball in his hands, because he has the ability to score from anywhere.”

George and Josh Atkinson are also considering Washington and Oregon.