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December 27, 2013

Under Armour week: Irish prospects abound

Date: Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014 Site: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla. Time: 4 p.m. ET TV: ESPN

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Once the action gets started at Under Armour All-American Game week Notre Dame will be one of the programs best represented.

Six commitments will be spread across the two teams, headlined by Rivals100 offensive tackle Alex Bars. Five-star safety John "JuJu" Smith leads the way in terms of uncommitted players on the Irish wish list.

Irish Illustrated will be on hand for the duration and takes a closer look at the prospects of interest set to participate in the week of practice and game set for 4 p.m. Jan. 2 on ESPN.


Lorenzo Carter - defensive end - Norcross, Ga. (Team Nitro)

Carter visited in the offseason and spoke highly of Notre Dame afterward. Since then things appear to have cooled as Carter looks more closely at programs in the South. Still a name Irish fans will want to keep an eye on.

Adoree' Jackson - athlete - Gardena, Calif. (Team Highlight)

Jackson has talked about visiting South Bend in the past. That probably won't happen, but he hasn't officially eliminated Notre Dame either. Jackson and Isaiah McKenzie will be two of the most dynamic players in space at the event.

Isaiah McKenzie - wide receiver - Plantation, Fla. (Team Nitro)

There will probably be more intrigue with what McKenzie says off the field this week rather than what he does on it. McKenzie reportedly still considers himself committed to the Irish despite it not being accepted by the coaching staff at this juncture.

Braden Smith - offensive guard - Olathe, Kan. (Team Nitro)

Should Notre Dame take another offensive lineman it could be Smith, although the Irish would have to rally after a winter visit. They have been hanging around the periphery for this future offensive guard since pretty much the beginning.

John "JuJu" Smith - safety - Long Beach, Calif. (Team Highlight)

Smith will be the most high profile uncommitted player seriously considering Notre Dame this week. The five-star safety is close friends with tight end commitment Tyler Luatua and they will both playing for Team Highlight.


Alex Bars - offensive tackle - Nashville, Tenn. (Team Nitro)

Bars will arrive for Under Armour week the highest rated Notre Dame commitment on hand at No. 37 overall in the latest Rivals100. After a strong performance at the Rival100 Five-Star Challenge presented by Under Armour over the summer and an equally impressive senior season, going in full pads against some of the nation's top defensive ends will be his biggest test yet.

Corey Holmes - wide receiver - Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Team Nitro)

Senior year could have been better for Holmes as multiple nagging injuries hampered production. Hamstring issues hindered the four-star prospect early in the season then it was a high ankle sprain late. This week provides a chance to bounce back on the big stage.

Tyler Luatua - tight end - La Mirada, Calif. (Team Highlight)

Notre Dame scored a commitment from Luatua right as the dead period got started, giving it two tight ends in the class. How the four-star pass catcher stacks up this week could be an early barometer of how things will play out in South Bend, where the position is stocked with talent.

Sam Mustipher - offensive guard - Olney, Md. (Team Nitro)

Mustipher struggled overall at the Five-Star Challenge back in July, mostly from a lack of confidence. It will be interesting to see how the interior lineman handles strong, physical defenders in full pads rather than shorts and a t-shirt.

Andrew Trumbetti - defensive end - Demarest, N.J. (Team Nitro)

Perhaps no player in the game will intrigue Notre Dame fans more this week. Trumbetti is rated three stars by Rivals.com currently. Practices and the game will show if analysts need to reconsider that ranking in the next update.

Nick Watkins - cornerback - Dallas, Texas (Team Nitro)

Watkins emerged as the top cornerback target for Notre Dame in this recruiting cycle way back in the spring, if not sooner. He could quietly be poised for a move up in the rankings as well if he lives up to expectations over the next few days.

Dates to know

Saturday - Player registration - All day

Sunday - First practice - 10 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. - ESPN Wide World of Sports

Monday - Practice - 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. - ESPN Wide World of Sports

Tuesday - Practice - 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. - ESPN Wide World of Sports
Tuesday - Open media session - 1-2 p.m.
Tuesday - American Family Insurance Skills Challenge - 2:30-4:30 p.m.

Wednesday - Practice - 10 a.m. - noon - ESPN Wide World of Sports
Wednesday - Under Armour Underclassmen Combine registration - 2 p.m.

Thursday - Under Armour Underclassmen Combine - 8 a.m. - Tropicana Field
Thursday - Under Armour All-American Game - 4 p.m., ESPN - Tropicana Field

Large selection without the Bookstore sticker shock

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