The game in a week and half can’t get here soon enough. It gives ND a chance at respect. It gives the squad a chance to silence the doubters. It gives ND a great chance to be ranked again.
But it also gives ND a great chance to highlight what Notre Dame football is all about, to one of the most important audiences out there: ND recruits.
ND will host 18 top-flight players for USC weekend. 18! Some of the guys are already committed to ND and solid, some are committed and a bit waffley, and some are on the cusp of pulling the trigger. No matter what, ND has a great shot with all of them, as ND’s conversion rate once a kid sets foot on campus is very high.
This doesn’t mean that ND has to win to land these guys. In fact, Michael Floyd committed at the USC game 2 years ago when ND got freaking blown out. But the dynamic is different this year. Weis has had 2 more years, and the talent is in place. ND needs to play well, and to be competitive, and show these kids a great weekend to have a shot. ND doesn’t HAVE to win this game for recruiting, but it would certainly go a long way towards showing these top flight guys that ND is indeed back in the national picture.
The USC game will tell us a lot about ND’s team, and the program. It’ll tell these recruits a lot as well. About what’s going on on the field, and what’s happening off it. Here’s to their all having a great ride, and pulling the trigger IRISH asap.
Check out the list of those attending:
Chris Martin, DE – consensus #1 recruit in the class thus far, he’s a 5-star on the core services (though ESPN isn’t as high on him). He’s been ‘solid’ with ND for a while, though rumors fly often about what solid really means here. I am hoping this visit will lock it for ND regardless of what stupid ND fans, and opponents’ fans, say to him on his Facebook page (note to all of you – it is SAD if you friend these guys on FB. SAD)
Kendall Moore, LB – great LB prospect that decided for the Irish a few months back. A solid 3.5 star (4 on one, 3 on the other) prospect from NC. Great pickup from the South.
James Stone, OT – a key recruit on the Oline, not to be confused with Matt James. Stone is 6’5″ and almost 300 lbs as a high school kid. Po-ten-tial. ND appears to be in his Top 3.
Tai-ler Jones, WR – Tai-ler, a legacy prospect from Georgia, committed to Stanford (the school with only one, singular, mascot) a while back, but was pretty open with the idea that he would visit and consider other places. Given his heritage at ND, we have a legit shot. A solid prospect, and one that could pull the trigger and switch USC weekend.
Jordon James, RB – James, not to be confused with Matt James or James Stone, is a Cali Running Back prospect. He’s a consensus 4-star and would be a great pickup for the class. World-beater Polian is recruiting him, so you know we have a shot against AZ, UW and UCLA.
Cody Riggs, CB - Cody Riggs is a CB prospect from FL that wanted to pull the trigger over the summer as well. But he’s been holding out, and the OV could tip him over the edge. It will be great to have Riggs back on campus, and hopefully this is the trip that makes the decision clear for him, and for his advisors.
Joshua Shaw, CB – Shaw is an ATH-LETE. Watch some film of this guy and you’ll see what I mean. Though Shaw talked glowingly about ND early on (when he wasn’t getting much attention), he’s cooled since the Irish offer came through and other schools came on. But ND is certainly seen in a positive light by this young man, and he’d be a great pickup. His stock has shot up over the past 6 months, and he’s now a solid 4-star on all services.
Lo Wood, CB – My boy Lo Wood (Always up to No Good), is another quality guy from Florida that picked ND over the summer. Lo will take in the campus again, and will hopefully work on some of the guys around him while enjoying the glory of Fall football at ND himself.
Chris Badger, S – Badger is a hard-hitting safety that came on fairly early in the game. While not as naturally gifted athletically as some guys, he’s an ND guy if I’ve ever seen one. Smart, plays hard and non-stop, and loves to lay a pop on a guy. Badger, another great name for a DB, will lay some SHITE on some guys. Hoping Badger can bring along Tai-ler, as Badger was once a Cardinal (only one!) commit as well.
Prince Shembo, OLB – Prince is another guy on the all-name list for this quality ND class thus far. Prince is a 3.5 star DE who has also seen positive recruiting momentum as summer wore down, but ultimately snagged a spot with ND as a DE.
Giovanni Bernard, RB - Bernard is another quality prospect from Florida, from ND pipeline school St. Thomas Aquinas. ND has a number of guys from this top quality HS program to help sway Bernard to ND.
Spencer Boyd, CB - rounding out the CB group for this visit is Spencer Boyd. Boyd’s another solid 3-star player from Florida, and he’ll make the trip to see the Irish trounce the Trojans at home. (finally!?!?!)
Devon Carrington, S – Devon is a top prospect in my eyes. He’s always had ND in his sights, despite an early commitment to Stanford. Given the interest, he’ll be making the trip for the USC game as well. And I’m hoping that Badger can bring this current-Cardinal along for the ride with Jones as well.
Seantrel Henderson, OT – #1 recruit in the country, from Michael Floyd’s old school. Henderson has had ND in it, out of it, and back in it for his services. It bodes well that he’ll be coming to town for an official, though many speculate that it’s his parents pushing ND, while he favors something ‘flashier’ like USC or UF. It remains to be seen if ND can make up some ground with this Official Visit. Seantrel will take all 5, and expect this one to go down to the wire.
Andrew Hendrix, QB – Andrew will visit on an unofficial. Hendrix was a key get for ND, helping fill a void at QB after ND missed in the previous class. He’s been blogging for ISD if you haven’t seen it. Pretty cool of the kid.
Dietrich Riley, S/RB - Dietrich is a TOP recruit on this visit, if you ask me. Along with Martin and Henderson, Riley looks like a real difference maker on offense or defense. ND faces stiff competition from USC, UF and others for DR, but the OV could help ND make some serious strides. A consensus 4-star, this one could go down to the wire as well.
Corey Cooper, S - Corey is a top WR/S prospect from nearby in Illinois, and being somewhat close to home is important to Corey. Though he’s a current Illinois verbal, Cooper can’t be too excited about their season thus far, and the Zookster’s seat is already a lot hotter than Charlie’s. Cooper could pull the switch on this trip, though he’s also considering AZ (but no OV at this point).
Ego Ferguson, DE - JR (Ego) Freguson is another important guy for ND. He’s a 4.5 star DE, and a real difference-maker. ND has ground to make up here, but we’re clearly not out of it given the OV. A class with Martin and Ego in the same DL? Give me a break, ND will be wreaking havoc on the defensive side of the ball for years to come with that tandem. Hopefully Martin comes back in the fold, and can bring Ego along with him.
HT to IrishEnvy.com for the list.