Notre Dame’s strong start boosts recruiting
Elizabeth Greason | Friday, September 29, 2017
All eyes were on both the Irish and the Spartans on Saturday as both squads looked to prove they had left last season in the past — especially to recruits. But it was Notre Dame that came out on top in that battle, leaving Michigan State fans fleeing Spartan Stadium as early as the second quarter.
Notre Dame (3-1) took another step back into the good graces of prospective recruits with its resounding win at Michigan State (2-1), according to Blue and Gold recruiting analyst David McKinney.
“I think a dominant win like that over a big-name team like Michigan State will catch people’s eye,” McKinney said. “Kalon Gervin was there, a cornerback visiting Michigan State who was formerly committed to Notre Dame and visited Notre Dame for the Georgia game unofficially.
“I don’t know what specific impact it will have, if any, but it’s always good to go out on the road and put on a performance like that. I mentioned last week that [Irish defensive coordinator] Mike Elko’s defense has really caught the eye of a lot of defensive guys, Kalon Gervin and Houston Griffith included, so again, specific repercussions, I’m not entirely sure. But it’s always good to get a dominant win like that and show that the program is headed in the right direction.”
Gervin, a class of 2018 four-star cornerback out of Detroit who decommitted from Notre Dame in May, is currently the top corner out of Michigan, per Rivals.com. Despite his decommitment from Notre Dame, he has shown continued interest in the school, attending the Georgia game on an unofficial visit and getting a second chance to see the Irish up close on his official visit to Michigan State this weekend.
Notre Dame will take a bit of a break from the heat of the recruiting season this weekend, as Miami (OH) gives the Irish a gap from the top-tier, marquee matchups that headlines their schedule, such as Georgia and, on the road, Michigan State.
McKinney said the Irish will focus their interest on a few main prospective student-athletes this weekend, as opposed to the long lists of recruits they have been hosting so far this season, mostly due to the caliber of the opponent.
“It’s not going to be a huge weekend in terms of recruiting, it’s not looked at as a huge game like Georgia or USC or Michigan State, last year, with these big lists of guys coming in,” McKinney said. “There is one guy, a safety … from Alexandria, Virginia, his name is Litchfield Ajavon. He’s a 2019 guy, a really, really talented guy in the junior class. He’ll be in town.
“There’s a class of 2020 wide receiver guy named Gee Scott coming to town. He’s getting a lot of early hype. He’s got early offers from a lot of schools. Those are the two guys we have right now. We’re not bringing in a ton of guys, obviously. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the local commits come in just to catch the game, maybe some regional guys. At this point, it’s not a huge week in recruiting because they like to center themselves around the bigger games like Georgia and USC and the like.”
Ajavon is a three-star safety, according to Rivals, and is one of the top safties in his class. This will not be his first visit to Notre Dame, as Ajavon spent a day on campus this summer with his high school coach and Notre Dame linebackers coach Clark Lea.
Scott is coming out of Bellevue, Washington, and has received a number of offers from West Coast schools like Oregon, Colorado and UCLA. However, Notre Dame is one of the first schools to draw the sophomore away from the coast.
While there may only be two main recruits on campus this weekend when the Irish take on the RedHawks, McKinney noted there will be no lack of attention on Notre Dame from the rest of the country and the rest of Notre Dame’s prospective recruits. The Irish cannot let Saturday turn into a trap game if they want to keep up the momentum they have been building with recruits so far this season, McKinney noted.
“It’s Miami of Ohio, so they need to do what a team like Notre Dame is supposed to do with a team like Miami of Ohio,” McKinney said. “Obviously, a big win and another step in the right direction for the program. And even the guys that aren’t on campus — there are guys that are watching Notre Dame every week, the home games are all broadcasted on NBC, so they’re easily accessible. So, every win that Notre Dame gets is a step in the right direction for the team and another chance to impress recruits out there, whether they’re on campus or not.”