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Football

Recruiting: DB Ykili Ross to take official visit to campus

| Thursday, November 13, 2014

Class of 2015 defensive back and receiver Ykili Ross is scheduled to take an official visit to campus this weekend, according to Irish recruiting analyst Tom Loy.Photo courtesy Blue & Gold Illustrated, 247Sports

Class of 2015 defensive back and receiver Ykili Ross is scheduled to take an official visit to campus this weekend, according to Irish recruiting analyst Tom Loy.

After 35 days between home games — tied for the longest stretch in Notre Dame program history — the Irish will return to their home turf Saturday when they welcome Northwestern to Notre Dame Stadium. And with its first opportunity since mid-October to host recruits for a game weekend, Notre Dame will welcome class of 2015 four-star defensive back Ykili Ross for an official visit.

Ross, the No. 180 overall player in the country according to 247Sports’ Composite Rankings, took an unofficial visit to South Bend in late June, per 247Sports. Irish recruiting analyst Tom Loy said Notre Dame is recruiting the multi-skilled Ross as a cornerback.

“You could make an argument that he’s the top guy left on the board just for his versatility to play cornerback, safety, wide receiver,” said Loy, who covers Notre Dame recruiting for Blue and Gold Illustrated, part of the 247Sports network. “He can play anywhere.”

Irish defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks has been Ross’s primary recruiter, according to Loy.

“It all makes sense,” Loy said. “They want a long, athletic, fast corner. He’s exactly that. He fits the bill. He’s just a freak athlete that could be dominant on both sides of the ball.”

Ross was initially scheduled to take his official visit next weekend when Notre Dame squares off with Louisville, but the California native moved up his trip by one week.

“With him coming in a week early, he’s going to get the red-carpet treatment,” Loy said. “There’s nobody else coming in this weekend that’s gonna steal any attention from [Irish head coach Brian] Kelly, Cooks, [defensive coordinator Brian] VanGorder, anybody really. The whole staff’s gonna give a push.

“So that’s a big key for Notre Dame. They’re very, very much in this.”

Loy said he expects the decision to come down to Notre Dame versus USC.

Cornerbacks Shaun Crawford, Nick Coleman and Ashton White and safeties Prentice McKinney and Nicco Fertitta have also committed to the Irish for this recruiting cycle.

Class of 2015 running back Ronald Jones II, an Oklahoma State commitment since April, is expected to visit Notre Dame next weekend when the Irish host Louisville on Senior Day, according to Irish recruiting analyst Tom Loy.Photo courtesy Blue & Gold Illustrated, 247Sports

Class of 2015 running back Ronald Jones II, an Oklahoma State commitment since April, is expected to visit Notre Dame next weekend when the Irish host Louisville on Senior Day, according to Irish recruiting analyst Tom Loy.

While Ross is the only scheduled weekend visitor, Notre Dame already has five recruits lined up for next weekend’s senior day matchup with the Cardinals. Class of 2015 running back Ronald Jones II, an Oklahoma State commitment since April, is among those set to be in attendance. Jones checks in as the No. 9 running back and No. 84 overall player in the class of 2015. Loy said the Irish have liked Jones for a long time and described Jones’s commitment to the Cowboys as “surprising.”

“The combination of athletics and academics offered in South Bend was a big selling point, and Jones is a strong academic kid and he liked that about Notre Dame,” Loy said.

The Irish have continued to recruit Jones since his commitment, Loy added. Notre Dame still has a group of running back targets on its board for the class of 2015. Loy said Soso Jamabo remains the top option, but Nick Brossette (an LSU commitment), Jones and Dexter Williams (a Miami pledge expected to visit next weekend) are all in the mix as well.

“If they can get their hands on one of these top guys, that collection of running backs, that’s a huge pull,” Loy said.

The Irish offered class of 2016 cornerback Damar Hamlin on Tuesday. The No. 11 cornerback in his class, Hamlin also holds offers from the likes of Penn State, Ohio State and West Virginia.

“I love Damar Hamlin,” Loy said. “He’s long. He’s only 6-feet tall, but he’s got long arms. He reminds me a lot of [Irish freshman cornerback] Nick Watkins coming out of high school — above-average speed, really technically sound, just a polished cornerback compared to a lot of kids his age.

“… I think Notre Dame will be a player for Hamlin.”

For more on Notre Dame recruiting, check out BlueandGold.com. Email Andrew Owens at aowens@blueandgold.com and tell him The Observer sent you.

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About Mike Monaco

Senior Sports Writer Mike Monaco is a senior majoring in Film, Television and Theatre with a minor in Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy as well as Business Economics. The O’Neill Hall native hails from the Boston area and is an aspiring play-by-play broadcaster.

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