It's like Christmas, except for the junkies.
Throughout the years, national signing day has become one of the most oddly celebrated and anticipated holidays in the sphere of college football, with teams and their fans developing "wish lists" of prospects. The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame are no different.
With roughly three weeks remaining until prospects in the 2014 class put pen to paper on the increasingly controversial national letter of intent, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly and his staff will be relentlessly pursuing four more pieces to add to their current haul.
Of those four available slots, the desire would be to fill at least two with defensive line prospects, a handful of which have been reached out to by the Irish staff in recent days.
The most coveted of those behemoth high school defensive linemen is a former Texas commit.
Trey Lealaimatafao, DT
When Mack Brown stepped down at Texas, Lealaimatafao decommitted from the Longhorns and opened his recruitment.
A 4-Star prospect per 247sports.com, the 6'0", 301-pound defensive tackle has narrowed his list of schools to Oregon, UCLA, LSU and Notre Dame. The San Antonio native has already taken an official visit to UCLA (Nov. 23), with officials upcoming to Oregon (Jan. 17) and LSU (Jan. 24).
It remains unclear if Lealaimatafao will schedule an official to Notre Dame. The good news for the Irish is that, should he decide to head out to Notre Dame's campus, it would be the weekend prior to national signing day.
For now, Kelly and Co. will continue to push their way closer into Lealaimatafao's recruitment, and, perhaps, a surprise commitment.
Michael Sawyers, DT
Notre Dame is counting on another coaching change to sway a prospect.
In the case of Sawyers, a Vanderbilt commit, James Franklin's decision to take the Penn State head coaching job has thrown his recruitment into murky waters. The Irish were quick to offer Sawyers, a 6'2", 307-pound defensive tackle rated as a 3-Star prospect per 247sports.com.
As a precautionary measure, the Nashville, Tenn., native has scheduled official visits to Georgia Tech (Jan. 17), Mississippi (Jan. 24) and Tennessee (Jan. 31).
With Notre Dame not among those schools receiving an official visit from Sawyers, it's unlikely the Irish will be able to sway him into a commitment.
Daniel Cage, DT
Originally on the Irish's radar early in the 2013 season, Cage eventually dropped off.
However, with Notre Dame having hired Brian VanGorder as its defensive coordinator to replace the departed Bob Diaco, Cage has reemerged on the Irish's radar.
The 6'3", 275-pound defensive lineman, rated as a 4-star prospect per 247sports.com, has official visits scheduled to Louisville (Jan. 17), Michigan State (Jan. 24) and Missouri (Jan. 31), effectively shutting Notre Dame out of the race for an official from the Cincinnati native.
Cage's two leaders, Louisville and Michigan State, would seem to have been pared to one, with former Louisville head coach Charlie Strong having taken the Texas job. Thus, if competition should exist for Cage's services, Notre Dame would need to fiercely battle Missouri and Michigan State in the coming weeks.
Terrence Alexander, CB
With only one defensive back commit in its 2014 class, Notre Dame has recently begun taking a long, hard look at Alexander, a 5'10", 180-pound cornerback rated as a 3-star prospect, per 247sports.com.
The New Orleans native, who attends John Curtis High School, officially visited Stanford last weekend and will take two other officials to Notre Dame (Jan. 17) and Mississippi (Jan. 24).
The Cardinal, Irish and Rebels are the leading candidates for Alexander's services.
Notre Dame has yet to make an offer to Alexander, though it should be expected that the Irish would do so during his official visit to the South Bend, Ind., campus.
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