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Recruiting: Tranquill lone visitor as Irish enter ‘dead’ period

Mike Monaco | Wednesday, September 18, 2013

There may be only one 2014 prospect taking an official visit to Notre Dame this weekend, but the Irish still have a strong chance of garnering their 17th commitment from the senior class.

Fort Wayne, Ind., native Drue Tranquill, who committed to Purdue on July 23rd and received an offer from Notre Dame soon thereafter, will visit South Bend this weekend just a week after his official visit to Purdue to take in the primetime matchup between the Irish and the Boilermakers. Notre Dame recruiting expert Mike Frank, who runs the ESPN-affiliated Irish Sports Daily, says concerns over Tranquill’s fit on the Notre Dame defense are likely holding up a decision.

“I think Drue likes the idea of Notre Dame quite a bit, but I’m not sure he’s sold on the fact that they’re recruiting him as a linebacker. I think sometimes he thinks he’s a safety prospect,” Frank said. “So I’m not exactly sure which way that’s going to go. I think it all depends on how he fits in with all the players this weekend. … And then I also think it depends on what they talk to him about as far as his position and how he’ll adapt.”

Frank did say there is the possibility Notre Dame could view Tranquill as a safety after the news that broke in late August that former Notre Dame safety Chris Badger is transferring. ESPN rates Tranquill as the eighth-best player in Indiana and classifies him as the No. 82 outside linebacker in the nation.

Outside of Tranquill, Frank said most of the major 2014 movement should come in the next few weeks, when roughly a dozen prospects will make official visits for either the Oklahoma or USC games. For now, Frank characterized activity as “dead.”

News, however, has surfaced recently that Florida athlete and Alabama commit Bo Scarbrough may consider an official visit to Notre Dame. Scarbrough, whom ESPN ranks as the No. 20 player in the nation, profiles as a running back. The Irish are currently without a back in the class of 2014 after Elijah Hood decommitted from Notre Dame on Aug. 20 and pledged to in-state North Carolina shortly after.

Scarbrough, however, has been committed to the Crimson Tide for over a year. Frank said until the 6-foot-2, 215-pounder steps foot on campus at Notre Dame, the Irish can only be considered a long shot, though that could begin to change with a visit.

“First of all, [Irish assistant coach and recruiting coordinator] Tony Alford is recruiting him and you can’t count Notre Dame out for anybody when [Alford] is recruiting them,” Frank said. “[Freshman running back] Greg Bryant was committed to Oklahoma for a while and then backed off and nobody thought Notre Dame had much of a shot at him. But Tony just keeps selling, selling and selling his vision for what Greg could be at Notre Dame and all it took was a trip and he bought into it and committed.”

 

Breaking down the 2014 commits

Of Notre Dame’s 16 commitments in the class of 2014, Frank highlighted eight he considers to be particularly intriguing.

“I love the two wide receivers,” Frank said. “I mean Notre Dame has a lot of wide receivers right now but I think Corey Holmes and Justin Brent can easily compete with the vast amount of talent they have on campus right now.”

Holmes, from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is the 77th-best player in the nation, according to ESPN. Brent, who hails from Indianapolis and plays for Speedway Senior High School, has played running back for the Sparkplugs out of necessity. Frank said Brent could make the switch to running back at Notre Dame if the Irish feel thin in the backfield and well-stocked at receiver.

Frank said Tennessee offensive lineman Alex Bars is probably the closest to seeing early playing time at Notre Dame, whether he lines up at tackle or guard. Frank added that New Jersey offensive lineman Quenton Nelson has versatility on the line and a body that suggests a quick transition to the collegiate game.

Frank highlighted California defensive end Matt Dickerson and Missouri linebacker Jonathan Bonner as two underrated players, defensively, in addition to Illinois tight end Nic Weishar.

Meanwhile, Frank said he is also high on Florida linebacker Richard Yeargin III, who Frank described as “relentless in his pursuit.”

For more on Notre Dame recruiting, check out Mike Frank’s irishsportsdaily.com
Email Mike at mikefrank18@sbcglobal.net and tell him The Observer sent you.

Contact Mike Monaco at jmonaco@nd.edu