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After a successful summer, Irish set to welcome large number of recruits this weekend

| Friday, August 31, 2018

College football’s biggest matchup in week one will also feature its biggest recruiting weekend as No. 12 Notre Dame welcomes No. 14 Michigan to campus for a primetime showdown.

Joining ESPN’s College GameDay will be several of Notre Dame’s top remaining targets for the 2019 class as Irish head coach Brain Kelly and his staff will look to put the finishing touches on a class that is currently ranked No. 14 in the country by 247Sports Composite. The class of 2019 is already almost completed, said David McKinnon, recruiting analyst for Blue and Gold Illustrated, thanks to a strong summer push by the Irish staff and their taking advantage of early official visits.

Ann Curtis | The Observer
A #1 flag flies outside Notre Dame Stadium days before the Irish begin the 2018 season against Michigan on Sept. 1.

“The biggest thing you have to look at this summer is the first early official visit period — beginning of April through the end of June — and from those who visited during that period [Notre Dame] earned a commitment from 43 percent of those guys,” McKinnon said. “There were pros and cons to it, but one of the biggest things was the ability to go out and spend time at Kelly’s lake house with the team. It was definitely a successful summer — they’ve taken full advantage of early recruiting period. They’re already at 17 guys, which is a huge number heading into the football season.”

Three-star quarterback Brandon Clark, three-star wide receiver Cam Hart, four-star offensive linemen Quinn Carroll and Zeke Correll and three-star running back Kyren Williams were among those who signed during the early official visit period. Because of future scholarship space, McKinnon says the Irish will only be able to sign somewhere between one to four more players in the 2019 class. As the Irish aim to make a statement on the weekend’s biggest stage against one of their biggest rivals, several candidates for those remaining spots will be in the stands Saturday night.

“There’s a big list of guys coming in,” McKinnon said. “Probably the most important piece for Notre Dame right now is adding another defensive end. Bralen Trice, a four-star defensive end is coming in from Arizona — he’s a big target and has Notre Dame in his top five [list of schools], with Washington, Oregon, UCLA and TCU. He’s one of the big names coming in. Enokk Vimahi is a four-star and top 100 offensive lineman from Hawaii — Notre Dame already has four offensive linemen in this class but they could add another, so he’s definitely a big target there as he comes in for his official visit. Kendall Abdur-Rahman is an athlete hybrid coming in from Illinois for his official visit — wide receiver is another position where Notre Dame could take one more player.”

Beyond the class of 2019, over a dozen recruits from the class of 2020 are set to visit South Bend this weekend. In addition, offensive lineman Garrett Dellinger, arguably the top overall player in the class of 2021, is expected to make his way to Notre Dame at the same time. The 6’6”, 250-pounder from Clarkston, Michigan has already secured offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Syracuse and Toledo. Notre Dame could be the sixth offer for the No. 1-ranked offensive tackle in the entire country. Not only is Notre Dame vs. Michigan “extremely” important for this season and for the current recruiting class, but it will likely also impact the immediate future of both programs, McKinnon said.

“I think it’s one of the bigger weekends,” he said. “Probably this, Stanford and Florida State will be their big weekends. Since Notre Dame’s 2019 class is already almost full they’ve been really able to focus on the 2020 class and try to get an early jump there. If you look at the 2020 list, there’s a ton of guys there … almost 15 guys alone … so yeah a lot of 2020 talent coming in [for the Michigan game]. They’ve already got three commits — four star, top-100 quarterback Drew Pyne and four-star tight ends Michael Mayer and Kevin Bauman.”

“ … Notre Dame has already done a lot of good work in 2020, and this weekend will be very important in terms of building around what’s there in the class of 2020 and maybe filling up those final couple spots in the class of 2019.”

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About Joe Everett

Joe is a senior PLS major and hails from the thriving metropolis of South Bend, IN. In addition to formerly serving as Sports Editor at The Observer, Joe is a RA in Stanford Hall and a past champion of the Observer's Fantasy Football league.

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