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Recruiting: Irish look to add Dexter Williams to backfield commits

| Thursday, November 20, 2014

Though Notre Dame has lost three of its last four games and dropped out of the national rankings, there hasn’t necessarily been a corresponding loss of recruiting momentum, according to Irish recruiting analyst Tom Loy.

“I don’t think it’s going to play a big factor here,” said Loy, who covers Notre Dame recruiting for Blue and Gold Illustrated, part of the 247Sports network. “It does hurt, no doubt about that. … I don’t think it’s going to really affect recruiting going forward. If they lose to Louisville and USC, it’s going to raise some red flags.”

Even before Notre Dame’s loss to Northwestern on Saturday, multiple recruits were forced to alter their plans for visits to campus. Class of 2015 defensive back Ykili Ross had been scheduled to visit last weekend, but he was unable to catch his flight following his Friday-night game, per Loy. The four-star prospect, Loy said, could visit this weekend, but that “remains to be seen.”

Class of 2015 three-star athlete Gary Jennings won’t be visiting this weekend, Loy said, after Jennings’ team won last weekend, setting up a Friday-night game. Class of 2015 running back Ronald Jones also won’t be in town after his squad advanced as well, according to Loy. Jones, the No. 9 running back and No. 83 overall player in the country, per 247Sports’ Composite Rankings, is committed to Oklahoma State.

In Notre Dame’s continuing search for a second running back to pair with commitment Josh Adams in its class of 2015, the Irish are planning to welcome Miami pledge Dexter Williams to campus this weekend, Loy said. Williams is slotted as the No. 14 running back in the country and gave his verbal commitment to Miami in April.

Notre Dame sent out an offer to class of 2015 running back and Penn State commitment Saquon Barkley on Sunday, according to 247Sports. Barkley checks in as the No. 16 running back nationally.

“At this point they’re extending offers to cover their bases [at running back],” Loy said of the flurry of activity at the position.

The Irish have already flipped class of 2015 linebacker Josh Barajas and class of 2015 quarterback Brandon Wimbush from Penn State pledges.

“As of right now, everything [Barkley] says is completely pro-Penn State, 100 percent committed,” Loy said. “All you can do is take his word for it.”

In any event, Loy described the Whitehall, Pennsylvania, native as a very athletic back who can do it all, including receiving out of the backfield. Barkley already decommitted from Rutgers before pledging to the Nittany Lions, and Loy said Notre Dame knows it’s a “long shot” to land him.

Other class of 2015 running back targets include Soso Jamabo, Nick Brossette and Jordan Cronkite.

In addition to potential visitors Ross and Williams this weekend, Loy said three-star safety Ben Edwards is in line to be on campus for the Louisville game. Loy believes Edwards’ recruitment will come down to the Irish and Stanford.

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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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