football Edit

Irish Invasion A to Z

Notre Dame will welcome over 85 recruits to campus for the Irish Invasion on Friday. With prospects traveling across the country to compete at the invite-only event, there is plenty of talent to be found. Blue & Gold Illustrated takes a look at 55 names to know, in a A to Z of sorts.
DB Tyrell Ajian Mansfield (Ohio) Madison Comprehensive — Ajian is unranked, but that's set to change, soon. The rising junior was offered Notre Dame last week after working out at an Ohio State camp. He figures to be a top defensive back in the Midwest for the class of 2017. Rivals Ranking: NR.
3-star RB Toks Akinribade Brownsburg (Ind.) High — Akinribade committed to Iowa on Thursday, but the three-star prospect will be in South Bend because he wants a Notre Dame offer. He's the teammate of Rivals100 quarterback Hunter Johnson. Rivals Ranking: No. 34 athlete and No. 4 player in Indiana.
3-star QB Jake Allen Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas — Listed as a three-star talent, Allen won the inaugural Rivals Quarterback Challenge three weeks ago. The rising junior picked up an offer from Florida a few days later, but is camping for a bid from Notre Dame. Rivals Rankings: NR.
4-star DE Robert Beal Norcross (Ga.) High — This will mark the second trip to South Bend for Beal, who is regarded as one of the top pass rushers in the class of 2017. His grandmother used to work at Notre Dame and lives in South Bend. Rivals Rankings: NR.
3-star CB Carlos Becker Kissimmee (Fla.) Osceola — Becker named a top 10 earlier this week, but Notre Dame is believed to be in the thick of things along with N.C. State and Florida. He's a 6-2, 180-pound cornerback with the length that defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder dreams about on the boundary. Rivals Rankings: NR.
2-star LB Emmanuel Belmar Suwanee (Ga.) Collins Hill — Belmar is a prospect that will need to impress under the lights if he wants to find his name on Notre Dame's recruiting board. He holds offers from Virginia Tech, Virginia and Syracuse. Rivals Rankings: NR.
OT Curtis Blackwell Ossian (Ind.) Norwell — Blackwell is a 2017 tackle that holds an early offer from Toledo and interest from Northwestern. He will likely be a top 10 prospect in Indiana next cycle and trains with AWP Sports. Rivals Rankings: NR.
OG Matt Bockhorst Cincinnati St. Xavier — Bockhorst has made it clear that he wants a Notre Dame offer. The Irish saw him twice in the spring and want to evaluate him in person before moving to the next stage in the recruiting process. That will happen this weekend. Boston College, Vanderbilt and Michigan State have all offered. Rivals Rankings: NR.
4-star WR Marquez Callaway Warner Robins (Ga.) High — Callaway is one of the most important visitors on campus. The Rivals100 prospect is in South Bend for the first time and he's trying to figure out if the Irish can compete with a number of SEC schools for his services. Rivals Rankings: No. 21 wide receiver, No. 115 overall prospect in the nation and the No. 12 player in Georgia.
3-star WR Chase Claypool Abbotsford (B.C.) High — Claypool is listed as a wide receiver but he can play multiple positions at the next level. The Irish are expected to work him out at safety on Friday. The Canadian is also considering Oregon, Washington and Michigan. Rivals Rankings: The No. 96 wideout in the world.
4-star QB Sean Clifford Cincinnati St. Xavier — The last time Clifford was in South Bend he had just three low-level scholarship offers to his name. Now he has 10 offers including bids from Missouri, Northwestern and Boston College. The 2017 arm will throw for an offer. Rivals Rankings: NR.
4-star WR Donnie Corley Detroit Martin Luther King — Corley returns to campus for another visit, only this time he knows that his decision is looming. The Irish have done the best they can to recruit the Rivals100 talent, but schools like Michigan State and Tennessee are believed to be the leaders at the moment, and that might not ever change. Rivals Rankings: No. 14 wide receiver and the No. 79 overall prospect in the country.
TE Keegan Cossou Greenville (Mich.) Senior — Cossou is a 2017 recruit that figures to be an FBS prospect by the time things are said and done. He holds early offers from Toledo and Central Michigan. Rivals Rankings: NR.
DE Vandarius Cowan Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) High — Cowan, who committed to Florida State last week, is one of the top pass rushers in South Florida for the class of 2017. He played alongside current Notre Dame linebacker Tevon Coney at Palm Beach Gardens. It will be an up-hill battle against Florida State for the Irish, but getting Cowan on campus, helps. Rivals Rankings: NR.
3-star CB Eric Cuffee Waco (Texas) High — Cuffee is one of Notre Dame's top targets on the board and a prospect that the staff would like to pair with current commit Julian Love. He's also considering Baylor and Texas A&M. Rivals Rankings: No. 29 cornerback and the No. 51 player in Texas.
3-star RB A.J. Dillon Groton (Mass.) Lawrence Academy — A rising junior, Dillon already holds offers from Boston College, Syracuse and Virginia. He's the grandson of former Notre Dame great Thom Gatewood. Rivals Rankings: NR.
TE Matthew Dotson Cincinnati Moeller — Dotson, like Dillon, has deep ties to the Irish. He's the grandson of former Irish legend Steve Niehaus and has always like Notre Dame. The 2017 prospect holds offers from Ohio State and Tennessee. Rivals Rankings: NR.
3-star OT Liam Eichenberg Cleveland St. Ignatius — Eichenberg will be one of four Notre Dame commits at the Irish Invasion. He plans to recruit on Friday, and then workout at the lineman camp on Saturday. Rivals Rankings: No. 38 offensive tackle and the No. 19 prospect in Ohio.
3-star ATH Jalen Elliott Chesterfield (Va.) Lloyd C. Bird — Elliott is a state title winning quarterback that is being recruited by Notre Dame to play safety. His family has ties to Virginia Tech, but he wanted to see what the Irish were about after landing a scholarship offer in May. Rivals Rankings: No. 53 athlete in the country and the No. 15 recruit in Virginia.
3-star DE Tomon Fox Suwanne (Ga.) Collins Hill — Fox will be the top senior defensive end prospect at the Irish Invasion, which makes him a priority simply because of the need at the position. He has been on a handful of visits around the South, but North Carolina appears to be the team to beat, for now. Rivals Rankings: No. 22 weakside defensive end and the No. 42 recruit in the Georgia.
3-star LB Alexander 'Xander' Gagnon Charlotte (N.C.) Catholic — Gagnon is camping for an offer from Notre Dame. He's an under-the-radar type of prospect that could play outside linebacker or defensive end at the next level. He's from the same school as current Irish tackle Mark Harrell. Rivals Rankings: No. 39 player in North Carolina.
3-star OG Dillan Gibbons St. Petersburg (Fla.) Northside Christian School — Gibbons is Notre Dame's lone commit in the class of 2017. He's expected to workout on Friday and Saturday, and also do some recruiting. Rivals Rankings: NR.
4-star WR Rontavious Groves Nashville (Tenn.) Pearl-Cohn — Groves was a late addition to the Irish Invasion visitors list. He's a true athlete that projects best in the slot, and that's where Notre Dame could use him. SEC schools like Tennessee, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt top his list of schools. Rivals Rankings: No. 57 wide receiver and the No. 10 player in Tennessee.
DE James Hudson Toledo (Ohio) Central Catholic — Hudson is a 2017 defensive end that already holds offers from Iowa and Toledo. He has been in contact with Ohio State, and the Buckeyes are close to offering a scholarship. Rivals Rankings: NR.
4-star QB Hunter Johnson Brownsburg (Ind.) High — Johnson is Notre Dame's top quarterback on the board for the class of 2017, and he'll be the top arm at the Irish Invasion. Notre Dame offensive coordinator Mike Sanford has made Johnson a priority and the Irish are looking to seal the deal this summer. Rivals Rankings: Named to the initial Rivals100 for the class of 2017.
ATH Mike Jones Jr. Lebanon (Tenn.) Friendship Christian School — Jones Jr. is just a 2018 prospect, but he already holds offers from Clemson, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and N.C. State. He could workout at quarterback or safety. Rivals Ranking: NR.
QB Chris Katrenick Algonquin (Ill.) Jacobs — Katrenick is a 2017 quarterback that recently picked up his first offer from Virginia. His grandfather graduated from Notre Dame. Rivals Rankings: NR.
TE Cole Kmet Arlington Heights (Ill.) St. Viator — Kmet is a rising junior that has seen his stock take off in recent months. He has picked up offers from Ohio State, Baylor, North Carolina and Kentucky. Rivals Rankings: NR.
4-star OL Tommy Kraemer Cincinnati (Ohio) Elder — Kraemer was Notre Dame's first commit in the class of 2016, and he has transitioned into the unofficial ambassador of the class when it comes to recruiting future teammates. The Rivals100 tackle will workout at the lineman camp on Saturday. Rivals Rankings: No. 3 offensive tackle, No. 31 overall prospect in the country and No. 1 recruit in Ohio.
4-star OL Joshua Lugg Wexford (Pa.) North Allegheny — Lugg doesn't hold a Notre Dame offer, but he could leave South Bend with one after this weekend. The 2017 tackle holds bids from Duke, Boston College, Maryland, Michigan State, UCLA and Penn State. Rivals Rankings: NR.
QB Tyler Lytle Anaheim (Calif.) Servite — Lytle flew to South Bend with the goal of landing an offer from the Irish. The rising junior quarterback holds early offers from Miami (Fla.) and Colorado State. Rivals Ranings: NR.
DE/LB Corey Malone-Hatcher Saint Joseph (Mich.) High — Malone-Hatcher is a local prospect and one of Notre Dame's top targets in the class of 2017. He'll spend two days in South Bend after camping at Michigan earlier in the week. He has a strong relationship with line coach Keith Gilmore. Rivals Rankings: NR.
LB Ben Mason Sandy Hook (Conn.) Newtown — Mason is a rising junior linebacker that holds early bids from Boston College and Duke. This is his first visit to Notre Dame. Rivals Rankings: NR.
4-star WR Javon McKinley Corona (Calif.) Centennial — McKinley is one of Notre Dame's top target at wide receiver. The Irish Invasion visit marks his second trip to South Bend in the recruiting process. USC and Oregon are two other schools in the mix for the Rivals100 wideout. Rivals Rankings: No. 18 wide receiver, No. 99 prospect in the country and the No. 17 recruit in California.
WR Jaevon McQuitty Columbia (Mo.) Battle — McQuitty was an unknown of the 2017 recruiting scene, but that's starting to change. He holds early offers from Kansas and Nebraska. Rivals Rankings: NR.
3-star DB Ikenna Okeke Smyrna (Tenn.) High — Notre Dame coaches saw Okeke twice during the spring evaluation period and that's why he's at the Irish Invasion. The 6-2, 195-pound Okeke is one of the top targets at safety on the board and is in South Bend with his family. Rivals Rankings: No. 33 safety and the No. 11 recruit in Tennessee.
WR Josh Palmer Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas — Palmer, who is from Canada, is a rising junior that recently transferred to the powerhouse that is St. Thomas Aquinas. He has been offered by Michigan and Temple. Rivals Rankings: NR.
3-star DB Spencer Perry Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy — Perry is committed to Florida, but he brought his entire family with him to the Irish Invasion. He's the high school teammate of current Irish running back commit Tony Jones and has always expressed interest in Notre Dame. Oregon recently offered, as well. Rivals Rankings: No. 39 safety in the country.
3-star LB Chase Pine Williamsburg (Va.) Lafayette — Pine is a linebacker, who has seen his stock take off. He has picked up offers from West Virginia, N.C. State and Syracuse in recent weeks, but has expressed interest in the Irish. That's why he's at the Irish Invasion with his parents. Rivals Rankings: No. 24 prospect in Virginia.
4-star CB Patrice Rene Alexandria (Va.) Episcopal — Rene is another prospect that was born in Canada, but is now stateside. He has a set top five of Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Rutgers, North Carolina and Tennessee, but said an offer from Notre Dame could change things. Rivals Rankings: No. 15 safety, No. 237 prospect in the country and the No. 7 recruit in Virginia.
3-star WR Emmanuel Rugamba Naperville (Ill.) Central — Rugamba has been on campus before, but the Irish have shown limited interest to date. He'll need a strong performance in one-on-ones to remain as an on option down the line for the Irish should other targets look elsewhere. Rivals Rankings: No. 66 wide receiver in the country and the No. 12 player in Illinois.
2-star LS John Shannon Wilmette (Ill.) Loyola Academy — Shannon, who is one of the top long snapping prospects in the country, is committed to Notre Dame. He was asked by the staff to show up at the Irish Invasion to recruit. Rivals Rankings: NR.
LB Robert Snyder Suwanee (Ga.) Collins Hill — Snyder is an unranked linebacker with plenty of interest from Power 5 schools. He'll look to leave a mark and catch the eye of the coaches on Friday. Rivals Rankings: NR.
3-star RB Malik Staples Suwanee (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge — Staples committed to Louisville earlier in the week but is in South Bend with a group of Atlanta-based prospects. He has had contact with the Irish in the past, and they like him at safety. Rivals Rankings: NR.
3-star WR Kevin Stepherson Jacksonville (Fla.) First Coast — Stepherson arrived in South Bend on Thursday and will stay through Saturday with his high school coach. Notre Dame is high on the safety and is looking to secure a commitment before he visits LSU next week. Rivals Rankings: No. 62 wide receiver and the No. 86 prospect in Florida.
4-star ATH JaCoby Stevens Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Oakland — Stevens was offered by Notre Dame last week and will be on campus with a number of other Tennessee recruits. He is listed as an athlete and can play multiple positions. Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Ohio State, Penn State, Stanford, Tennessee and Texas A&M have all offered. Rivals Rankings: Named to the initial Rivals100 for the class of 2017.
3-star DB Devin Studstill Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) High — Studstill, who is a former teammate of current Irish linebacker Tevon Coney, is a long time Notre Dame target. He was visited by defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder during the spring evaluation period and has remained a priority for the staff at safety. Rivals Rankings: No. 48 athlete in the country and the No. 51 prospect in Florida.
CB Ambry Thomas Detroit Martin Luther King — Notre Dame evaluated Thomas at the Sound Mind Sound Body Camp last month and invited him to the Irish Invasion. The 2017 cornerback holds offers from Michigan State, LSU, Arkansas, Ohio State, Penn State and Pittsburgh. Rivals Rankings: NR.
3-star TE Noah Turner Mundelein (Ill.) Carmel Catholic — Tight end is considered a luxury position this cycle, but Turner could change that with a strong performance in front of the Irish coaches. North Carolina is an early favorite, but if the Irish offered they could jump to the front of his shortlist of schools. Rivals Rankings: No. 23 tight end in the country and No. 14 player in Illinois.
3-star DB Chacho Ulloa Corona (Calif.) Centennial — The Irish are one of Ulloa's top schools, along with Stanford and a handful of others. He's visiting campus for the second time and plans to return for an official visit in the fall. Rivals Rankings: No. 29 safety in the country and No. 52 player in California.
RB Michael Warren Toledo (Ohio) Central Catholic — Warren will likely be a top running back prospect in Ohio next cycle. He's originally from Paducah, Ky., and holds early offers from Iowa, Kentucky and Toledo. Rivals Rankings: NR.
4-star OT Jedrick Wills Lexington (Ky.) Lafayette — Coming off an outstanding performance at the Rivals Five-Star Challenge, Wills is quickly shooting up recruiting boards across the country. Irish offensive line coach Harry Hiestand likes Wills as a tackle, and he'll look to make a pitch on Friday. Rivals Rankings: NR.
QB Walker Wood Lexington (Ky.) Lafayette — A 2017 quarterback who holds an early offer from Bobby Petrino and Louisville, Wood is the teammate of 4-star offensive tackle Jedrick Wills. Rivals Rankings: NR.
4-star TE Brock Wright Cypress (Texas) Cy-Fair — This will mark the second trip on-campus for Wright, one of the top rising junior tight ends in the country. His father played at Texas Tech and Wright has an offer there, in addition to scholarships from Alabama, Georgia, Texas and others. Rivals Rankings: Named to the initial Rivals100 for the class of 2017.
ATH Craig Yeast II Fremont (Ohio) Ross — Yeast is still early in his recruitment as a rising junior, but he already holds offers from Iowa and Louisville among others. Notre Dame is looking at him as a wide receiver, but Maryland and others have offered as a defensive back. His father started at Kentucky. Rivals Rankings: NR.