Two touted visits highlight quiet weekend
Brian Plamondon | Friday, October 9, 2015
With only two official visitors expected on campus this weekend, Notre Dame will be fairly quiet on the recruiting front for the Navy game.
This weekend represents the calm before the storm, as 15 official visitors will flock to campus next weekend when Notre Dame takes on USC, Irish recruiting analyst Andrew Ivins said.
Still, the two visitors this weekend — Los Angeles cornerback David Long and Boulder, Colorado, defensive end Carlo Kemp — are top priorities for the Irish. Flipping Long, a four-star Stanford commit and Rivals.com’s 134th-ranked player, would be a coup for the Irish because of their constant battles with the Cardinal, Ivins said.
“Over the years, Notre Dame has always struggled going head-to-head with Stanford to get safeties and cornerbacks,” Ivins, who covers Notre Dame recruiting for Rivals.com’s Blue and Gold Illustrated, said. “But this is a guy who has yet to be admitted into Stanford, so he’s exploring his options. Notre Dame’s never stopped recruiting him when he committed to a school.”
Kemp, the other player on campus, is another four-star talent who is also the top-ranked player in Colorado and 203rd-ranked player nationally. The nephew of Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, Kemp is a big-bodied defensive lineman at 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds.
“He’s a strong side defensive end that could grow into a defensive tackle at the next level,” Ivins said. “He’s pretty high on Notre Dame and Michigan. Heading into the weekend, Notre Dame has a lot of ground to make up if they’re going to leapfrog Michigan.”
While the Irish will be chasing Long and Kemp, they won’t have to worry about 2017 tight end Cole Kmet anymore, a Chicago area prospect who pledged to Notre Dame last Friday. Kmet, Rivals’ 10th-ranked tight end prospect, will join fellow 2017 recruit and top-ranked tight end Brock Wright at the position for the Irish.
“Notre Dame took a calculated risk of sorts when they decided they were going to pass on a tight end in 2016 and look to take two in 2017,” Ivins said. “Whereas Brock Wright is more of the traditional tight end like Durham Smythe who can block and catch the ball, Cole Kmet is like a receiver turned tight end. He can stretch the field.
“ … [Notre Dame] really put on the press to get him because they think he’s a dynamic guy. In a span of just a couple of months he picked up offers from pretty much every school out there, and it really just came down to Notre Dame and Ohio State.”
While Kmet and Wright are currently healthy, the same cannot be said for a number of Notre Dame commits in the 2016 recruiting class. Bradenton, Florida, safety Spencer Perry, a three-star prospect per Rivals, is out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. Still, Perry shouldn’t see much of a drop in his ranking, Ivins said.
“He had been evaluated multiple times in person, and I don’t think he’s a guy where a season-ending injury will have much of an impact on his ranking,” Ivins said. “He’s been graded out as of what he’s done at camps.”
Three-star defensive end Adetokunbo Ogundeji, on the other hand, may fall as a result of a sprained MCL that will keep the Walled Lake, Michigan, native out all year.
“He was kind of a project player from the start,” Ivins said. “It would have been beneficial for him to just play football, because he really hasn’t been playing it much. He’s been playing it for a few years and is a guy that just needed to get reps.”
The last injured future Irish player is long snapper John Shannon, who had already punched his ticket to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January. A shoulder injury will hold Shannon out for the foreseeable future, although a return for a playoff run is not out of the question, Ivins said.
As far as injuries go for high school prospects, especially those who are uncommitted, they are considered but Notre Dame’s coaches ultimately focus on what the player did before the injury, Ivins said.
“It all depends on the injury and how that plays into the future development,” Ivins said.