The pro football championship games highlighted the weekend for most sports fans, but South Bend was buzzing with it’s own football weekend. With just two weeks until signing day and only 15 pledges in the fold, the Irish staff had a busy weekend with five targets on official visits and three commits visiting as well. The Irish staff would like to close with at least two defensive backs, two wide receivers, and one defensive end, and this weekend certainly helped Notre Dame’s chances in accomplishing that feat.
Three-star CB Tre Norwood (Arkansas) recently de-committed from Louisville after receiving an offer from Notre Dame. Norwood, although slight in stature, is an incredibly gifted athlete and most in the recruiting world believe he is criminally undervalued and recruited. Surprisingly, Norwood committed to Oklahoma tonight after it seemed Notre Dame was trending in the right direction. According to 247Sports, Kelly was going to visit Norwood and his family this week in hopes to lock up his recruitment and keep him away from Oklahoma next weekend, but that sounds like it will no longer be the case.
Four-star S Jordan Genmark-Heath (California) is currently committed to Cal, but the Irish staff feels very good about where they stand after his official visit this past weekend. Genmark-Heath is an interesting prospect, as he is originally from Sweden and is newer to football than most high school recruits. He is an impressive athlete though, and has the ability to play either strong safety or Rover in Mike Elko’s defense. He holds offers from Boston College, Northwestern, Oregon State, Utah, Washington State and Vanderbilt. If Notre Dame lands only one guy from this past weekend, my money’s on this guy.
Four-star ATH Russ Yeast (Indiana) is currently committed to Louisville, but quickly set up an official visit to Notre Dame after he was offered on January 18th. Interest has always been there from Yeast, and he would probably be Irish if the offer came earlier. Yeast was named the Gatorade player of the year in Indiana, and I question why the previous staff members never offered considering he is in Notre Dame’s backyard. Regardless, Notre Dame finds themselves in good position. Yeast has kept his thoughts on the visit close to the vest, but his dad had some very nice things to say. I expect the staff to be down to see him this week in attempt to secure his flip.
Three-star S Evan Fields (Oklahoma) has been an Irish target for longer than most of the remaining guys receiving an offer on December 8th. Fields is a recruit that has picked up a ton of recruiting momentum late in the cycle racking up offers from UCLA, Baylor, Louisville, Minnesota, Arizona, and Cal all in the past month. He is another guy that recruiting gurus feel is underappreciated, and will impact a team greater than his ranking would suggest. Much like the other targets, Notre Dame feels good after his official visit, but this race will most likely come down to UCLA, Arizona State, and Notre Dame.
Three-star DE Kofi Wardlow (Washington, DC) is another target committed elsewhere as he is currently a part of the Maryland class. Like Genmark-Heath he has only played football for a few years. High upside pass rusher, but with the lack of game experience comparatively to most high school players he is a three-star prospect. According to 247Sports, the staff and Mike Elston specifically will go in-home with him this week in hopes to flip him. Like the other official visitors, the staff feels good where they stand with him going forward.
Also on campus were Notre Dame commits David Adams, Drew White, and Kurt Hinish. All three will sign with the Irish in a few short weeks. They expressed excitement about the new coaches and were recruiting heavily for the 2017 class this weekend. The guys were able to spend a lot of time with the other recruits, and developed some solid relationships. This should only help in landing some of these guys come Signing Day.
All of the uncommitted recruits on campus this week have the staff feeling good, but we will have to see how it plays out. We have seen how fast things can change. Did some of the scholarship offers come too late to sway them from there current commitments? That could very well be the case. Regardless, the staff has to feel good about their chances with these players. Several others will be on campus next week, and a few are already trending Irish. Should be a good close to the 2017 class for Notre Dame after a rocky couple of months.