U.S. Army All-American Game: USC Out for Arik Armstead, Does Notre Dame Lead?

Johnathan CaceCorrespondent IJanuary 6, 2012

One of the nation’s most sought after recruits is lineman Arik Armstead.

There are a number of teams vying for his services and for good reason—he is 6’7” and 280 pounds. He had originally committed to Southern Cal but reopened his commitment this October and has since eliminated them completely from considering, listing his five finalists as Oregon, Cal, Notre Dame, Texas and Auburn

Armstead is also a 3-star prospect in basketball and his list has trimmed accordingly. All of the aforementioned schools have all agreed to let him be a two-sport athlete and keep at him at defensive end rather than switch him to offensive tackle.

He plans on graduating early and enrolling for the spring semester wherever he goes.

That’s one of the big reasons why Notre Dame has made such a big push as of late. He has been all but guaranteed playing as soon as possible in both football and basketball.

The Irish have recruited five defensive ends last year but some of them will convert to outside linebacker in Bryan Kelly’s 3-4 defense. Current defensive end Stephon Tuitt is a freshman and both backups at defensive end are freshmen who are both 15 pounds lighter than Armstead.

But Notre Dame isn’t the only school making recent strides. Oregon has made a strong push as of late in an effort to get bigger yet athletic defensive linemen and the school just redid the basketball court which shows a commitment to basketball as well.

He would almost certainly get early playing time in basketball and probably in football as well because the bigger defensive end position has two freshmen as backups.

But perhaps the most interesting development in Armstead’s recruitment is a possible package deal with 5-star defensive linemen prospects Aziz Shittu and Ellis McCarthy.

Based on the other players’ finalists, only the Cal Bears overlap and that could be the thing that pushes their long recruitment of Arik over the top. How serious this proposed package is can certainly be debated as very few of them actually happen.

At this point, those three schools are at the top with Texas and Auburn lagging behind. I would rank the schools Oregon, Notre Dame, Cal, Auburn and Texas but that could all change in the next month.