Notre Dame Football Recruiting: National Signing Day Wish List for the Irish
Waiting until the last possible moment to purchase Christmas presents on the wish lists of family members and friends is beyond stressful, and is similar to what college football coaching staffs are currently experiencing.
National Signing Day, which has an odd holiday feel to it, is just around the corner, meaning that Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly and his assistants are working the phones around the clock to round out their 2013 recruiting class.
That haul currently stands at 22 commits, though Notre Dame still has few names remaining on its recruiting wish list.
Sebastian LaRue, WR
UPDATE (1/23, 5:11 p.m.): Following publication of this article, Sebastian LaRue announced via his Twitter account that he will not be visiting Notre Dame this weekend, and, in fact, is no longer interested in Notre Dame.
When Torii Hunter Jr. committed to Notre Dame back on Sept. 23 following his official visit during the weekend of the Irish's 13-6 victory over Michigan, it was thought the group was rounded out, as Corey Robinson and James Onwualu had already pledged to the Irish.
However, like any program, Notre Dame is always willing to consider interested high-profile prospects even when a position has been filled.
Such is the case with Santa Monica, California wide receiver Sebastian LaRue.
Formerly committed to USC, LaRue reopened his recruitment on Jan. 3 while in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, participating in the Under Armour All-American Game.
Once news of LaRue's decommitment broke, the Irish were quick to contact the 5'10", 175-pound receiver.
He, along with two other USC decommits who I will discuss in the following slides, will officially visit Notre Dame on Jan. 25, leaving just two weeks to make his college decision.
Texas A&M appears to be Notre Dame's stiffest competition, as LaRue visited the Aggies' College Station, Tex., campus last week.
Kylie Fitts, DE
Like Sebastian LaRue, Redlands, California defensive end Kylie Fitts is also a former USC commit.
The story behind Fitts' decision to reopen his recruitment stinks to high heaven. The 6'4", 260-pound strong-side defensive end took extra classes in high school in order to graduate early and enroll at USC for the spring semester.
Fitts even spoke with USC coaches at the U.S. Army All-American game who told him that they were excited to have him on campus.
Unfortunately for Fitts, he received a phone call from USC on Jan. 7 informing him that his scholarship couldn't be honored for the spring semester despite his plans to enroll early.
That situation led to Fitts' current situation, which includes an official visit to Notre Dame on Jan. 25 with one other former USC commit who I'll discuss in the following slides. It will be Fitts' second official visit of the month, as he was on the campus of UCLA on Jan. 18.
Working in Notre Dame's favor is the fact that it only has one true defensive end commit in the class—Isaac Rochell.
And in a 3-4 scheme in which the Irish's defensive coaching staff likes to rotate in defensive linemen to stay fresh, Fitts would likely get on the field as a freshman.
Durham Smythe, TE
Throughout the 2000s, Notre Dame developed a reputation as "Tight End U."
The school has produced three NFL tight ends—Anthony Fasano, John Carlson and Kyle Rudolph—in the past seven years. One more—Tyler Eifert—is likely to be a late first round or early second round draft choice during April's NFL Draft.
Because of Notre Dame's reputation for churning out NFL-caliber tight ends, the Irish have been able to accumulate depth at the position.
Mike Heuerman, rated by 247sports.com as the nation's seventh-best tight end in the 2013 class, is already enrolled for the spring semester, and may have company joining him during summer conditioning in the form of Belton, Texas tight end Durham Smythe.
The 6'5", 230-pound tight end has an official visit to Notre Dame scheduled for Jan. 25.
Smythe visited Stanford on Jan. 11, and will visit Michigan on Feb. 1.
Eddie Vanderdoes, DT
As I wrote in my column last week, Notre Dame's top priority in the next two weeks leading up to National Signing Day must be securing a commitment from Placer, California defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes.
Notre Dame's incumbent starting nose guard, as well as his backup, Kona Schwenke, will be playing their final seasons under the golden dome this fall.
Therefore, a commitment from a true defensive tackle is paramount for the Irish, and Vanderdoes, a 6'3", 310 pound mauler, fits that bill perfectly.
He will round out the duo of former USC commits visiting Notre Dame on Jan. 25.
However, the Irish are facing some serious competition for Vanderdoes' services, as he will be visiting Alabama on Feb. 1, and has shown legitimate interest in UCLA.
Notre Dame is receiving legitimate interest from two committed prospects with a little more than two weeks remaining until National Signing Day.
Prevot and Hollins Jr. will each be visiting Notre Dame on Feb. 1.
Anything can happen in the wild world of college football recruiting, making it nearly impossible to feel fully confident in a prediction. But because it's my job, I will do so.
I don't see Hollins Jr. decommitting from UCLA because of the program's current upward swing in the Pac-12 Conference. On the other hand, I would not be surprised to see Prevot decommit from USC due to the poisonous situation unfolding in Los Angeles.