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irish insider

Amon-Ra St. Brown highlights long list of recruits in town for marquee matchup against USC

| Friday, October 20, 2017

The Irish recruiting trail will be back in full swing this weekend as No. 13 Notre Dame takes on its first marquee opponent in No. 11 USC since its 20-19 loss to Georgia on Sept. 9.

Notre Dame’s recruiting slowed after the Georgia game, as Miami (OH) was not a matchup that would provide much intrigue for top recruits and the Irish were on the road for their other three games, on top of a bye week.

The Irish (5-1) will be hosting a number of the country’s top recruits from three different classes against the Trojans (6-1, 4-1 Pac-12), many of whom are also taking a close look at the USC football program according to Blue and Gold recruiting analyst David McKinney.

“Obviously it’s a big game for Notre Dame, it’s a marquee game nationally so they want to bring a lot of guys in here first,” McKinney said. “Obviously, the biggest name that’s going to be here is Amon-Ra St. Brown from Mater Dei in California. Rivals has him as the No. 1 wide receiver in the class, the No. 4 player in the class. There’s obviously Notre Dame connections with him being the younger brother of Equanimeous St. Brown, so he’s coming into town. A couple of his four-star teammates are coming too, from Mater Dei. Linebacker Solomon Tuliaupupu, he’s a four-star. Rivals has him as the No. 84 player. … And then four-star offensive guard Chris Murray coming to town as well. So, obviously a lot from the same high school.

“Other guys coming in, Tommy Tremble, a tight end from Georgia who has been on Notre Dame’s radar for a long time,” McKinney said. He’s pretty much their only remaining tight end target now, so this is a big visit for him. He was supposed to come in for the Georgia game, but he got injured and wasn’t able to fly, so he’s coming in this weekend.”

Irish sophomore wide receiver Kevin Stepherson hauls in a touchdown pass during Notre Dame's 49-24 loss to USC on Nov. 26, 2016.Observer File Photo

Irish sophomore wide receiver Kevin Stepherson hauls in a touchdown pass during Notre Dame’s 49-24 loss to USC on Nov. 26, 2016.

St. Brown will be the primary focus for the Irish coaching staff, as the youngest of the St. Brown brothers is also being heavily recruited by USC, as well. His oldest brother, Equanimeous, is a junior receiver for the Irish, while his middle brother, Osiris, is a freshman receiver at Stanford. McKinney said having an older brother already on the Notre Dame roster could be both a blessing and a curse for the Irish in the Amon-Ra St. Brown recruiting process.

“It’s obviously a good thing to have a brother in the program, but just getting a feel for him, maybe Amon-Ra might want to carve his own path somewhere,” McKinney said. “I don’t know that for sure, but he’s always said that playing with Equanimeous or Osiris at Stanford would be nice, but ultimately it’s his decision. I can see him being a guy that wants to carve out his own path and do his own thing at a different school, but I think there’s merit to both situations there, because he has considered the possibility of playing with one of his brothers, I think that would be fun for him, but also, again, I think he may be the kind of guy who wants to do his own thing.”

In years past, Notre Dame has brought in a number of West Coast recruits for the USC matchup. This strategy will be no different this year, as the three four-star recruits in St. Brown, Tuliaupupu and Murray, all from Mater Dei in Santa Ana, California, will be making official visits, along with Tariq Bracy, a three-star athlete from Milpitas, California.

“ … Four official visitors from one region of the country is certainly notable,” McKinney said.

McKinney also noted that the strategy of bringing in Notre Dame recruits who are also USC recruits could backfire for the Irish, should the Trojans put on a particularly impressive performance Saturday.

“If USC were to come in and win by 30, which I certainly don’t expect to happen, that’s obviously not going to look good,” McKinney said. “And a lot of those kids, especially Amon-Ra and Solomon, are really considering USC as well and USC is in really good position with those kids, so it wouldn’t look good to lay an egg. But, when it comes down to it, the weekend is about Notre Dame and, obviously the game is about part of it and a lot of it is the stuff going on outside of the game. But, it certainly wouldn’t look good if Notre Dame went out there and laid an egg against USC in front of a bunch of kids who are considering USC.”

However, Notre Dame is bringing in students from all over the country, not just focusing on the four recruits from California.

“Some 2019 guys, Hunter Spears, a 2019 defensive end, he’s in the Rivals 250, so that’s a big name. Quinn Carroll, he’s a Rivals 100 offensive lineman, will be here this weekend. He likes Notre Dame a great deal,” McKinney said. “So, a lot of talented guys across the classes, even, there’s a 2020 offensive lineman coming in from Frankfurt, Tennessee, named Jake Wray, who has a ton of offers, I think Georgia, Alabama, a lot of big-time schools have offered him already, so, a lot of big-time talent coming in, should be a big recruiting weekend for Notre Dame.

“ … There’s a guy coming in by the name of Avonta Crim who doesn’t have a Notre Dame offer yet, but would really like to get one and Mike Elko’s been really high on him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets that offer this weekend. Elko’s kind of been personally recruiting him for a while now, so I think that’s one to keep an eye on. And then Tommy Tremble is really, really high on Notre Dame and I think this will be a big visit in terms of possible landing him down the road.”

Some news that came in during the bye week was an offer the Irish made to four-star wide receiver Alontae Taylor of the class of 2018, who is already committed to Tennessee. However, both Notre Dame and Ohio State have offered Taylor since his commitment, hoping he will reconsider as the Volunteers (3-3, 0-3 SEC) continue to struggle.

“Alontae Taylor is going to visit for the N.C. State game, which is obviously a positive development for Notre Dame,” McKinney said. “He’s committed to Tennessee, but everyone knows what’s going on at Tennessee now and he’s gotten offers from Notre Dame and Ohio State over the last couple weeks, so programs are certainly looking to pull him from that commitment and I think Notre Dame has a really good chance to be in consideration.”

As the USC game is such an integral one in terms of recruiting for the Irish, McKinney said the main focus for Notre Dame needs to be on the game itself and on defeating the Trojans, which will prove to recruits that the Irish truly are a national team once again.

“First goal is to win, to beat USC. Just go about your business,” McKinney said. “There are schools that have to bring kids on visits and really go all out, and I’m not saying Notre Dame doesn’t do that, but a lot of times Notre Dame speaks for itself. Bringing a kid to Notre Dame and taking him to the game and showing him campus kind of gets the job done for them sometimes. Of course, coaching staff will be pushing and meeting with these kids and telling them all these things, but Notre Dame is a little bit different than some other schools where the history and tradition surrounding the school kind of speaks for itself, so they are going to be pushing for a lot of these kids, so the first priority is to go out and beat USC and show these kids that are coming in that the 4-8 season, first of all, is done with, and the first half of the season where Notre Dame dominated some lesser opponents wasn’t just them dominating lesser opponents, it was them dominating because that’s what they do. So, going out and beating USC is the first goal for the season and for recruiting.”

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About Elizabeth Greason

Elizabeth is a junior studying civil engineering from New York, NY (yes, the actual city). She is a proud resident of McGlinn Hall and is a die-hard Mets and Giants fan. She is the current Sports Editor of The Observer and she also has an obsession with golf that is bordering on unhealthy.

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