Yes, it will be a circus.
There will be unexpected twists and turns, and, most certainly, there will be seemingly endless hand wringing.
Those are the conditions of national signing day, the icing on the cake of what is often referred to as "silly season." With Notre Dame still in hot pursuit of a handful of remaining uncommitted prospects, expect the Irish's 2014 national signing day to be quite eventful.
Before delving in to the Irish's remaining targets, let's assume Notre Dame's currently unsigned commits ultimately sign their letters of intent to the Irish on national signing day next week.
At the time of publication, the only two official Notre Dame signees are Andrew Trumbetti and Justin Brent, who opted to enroll for the spring semester. That makes the hope for head coach Brian Kelly and his staff to be that the remaining 20 commits will sign their national letters of intent with Notre Dame and join Trumbetti and Brent on campus in June.
The next phase would be for a select few remaining targets to join that group, which could wind up with as many as 27 signed prospects.
First and foremost, Kelly and Co. are relentlessly pursuing a speedy wide receiver from Florida.
Isaiah McKenzie, WR...Prediction: Notre Dame
During the past few months, the only thing holding back McKenzie from officially committing or from having Notre Dame recognize his commitment was an academic issue.
The 5'8", 175-pound receiver didn't have satisfactory SAT scores for Notre Dame, but has since retaken the test and received sufficient marks. However, McKenzie's attention was caught by other schools, beginning with an offer from Oregon.
Since then, the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native has officially visited Florida (Jan. 17) and Ole Miss (Jan. 24).
While those two late officials would typically send Irish fans into panic mode, they shouldn't be, as Notre Dame secured McKenzie's final official visit before national signing day, with the visit taking place this weekend.
Sure, McKenzie has wavered in recent weeks, but with a strong final push and a smooth official visit, a commitment wouldn't arrive as a surprise.
John "JuJu" Smith, ATH...Prediction: USC
Despite an apparent favoring of USC, Notre Dame hasn't let up in its courting of 5-star athlete John "JuJu" Smith.
The 20th-ranked recruit in the nation (per the 247sports.com composite), Smith officially visited Notre Dame back in October to take in the Irish's 14-10 victory against USC. Unfortunately for the Irish, Smith chose to spend his final official visit last weekend, as he visited USC's campus in Los Angeles.
With Smith's remaining interest in UCLA and an apparent desire to remain on the West Coast—Smith hails from Long Beach, Calif.,—a commitment to USC on national signing day should be expected.
But this is college football recruiting, and anything can happen, so don't completely rule out a possible commitment to Notre Dame from Smith.
Michiah Quick, ATH...Prediction: Oklahoma
Sometimes, friendships are too tough to overcome for any recruiter.
Such is the case for Notre Dame's coaching staff, as Quick's former Fresno Central East (Calif.) High School teammates—L.J. Moore and Hatari Byrd—just capped their respective freshman seasons at Oklahoma with a 45-31 Sooner victory against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
Also, given former Notre Dame commit and Central East standout Tee Shepard's mysterious departure from the university two months after enrolling early in January 2012, the relationship between Notre Dame and Central East High School is perceived as flawed at best.
And like Smith, Quick visited Notre Dame for the Irish's victory against USC, only to officially visit USC this month (Jan. 17).
Given that combination, it can be assumed that Quick's interest in Notre Dame may be waning.
Daniel Cage, DT...Prediction: Notre Dame
The Irish have put on a full-court press for interior defensive linemen late in the process, and Cage is one of a handful Notre Dame has targeted.
What makes Cage unique among that group is that he's the only prospect to have scheduled an official visit, which will take place Jan. 29. The Irish must hope that they make a strong enough impression on Cage, as he will take an official visit to Missouri two days later.
This is a renewed relationship between Cage and Notre Dame, with the Irish having backed off late last year after former defensive coordinator Bob Diaco didn't consider Cage suitable for his defense. In recent days, newly-named defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder made Cage a priority, which resulted in the two parties working out an official visit for the 6'3", 295-pound defensive tackle.
Combined with the Irish's desperate need for players at Cage's position, this appears to be a green light for the Irish.
Terrence Alexander, CB...Prediction: Notre Dame
Originally thought to be a Stanford lean, Alexander has expressed a recent interest in Notre Dame, which resulted in the New Orleans native taking an official visit to the South Bend, Ind., campus earlier this month (Jan. 17).
The 5'10", 180-pound cornerback has also officially visited Stanford (Jan. 10) and Ole Miss (Jan. 24).
Yet what makes Alexander's recruitment interesting is that the Irish stopped by John Curtis (La.) High School a handful of times early in the process to check in on receiver Malachi Dupre, who now appears to be an LSU lean.
Should the relationship between Notre Dame, John Curtis' coaching staff and Alexander be strong enough at this point in the process, a commitment from Alexander could be in the works. His decision will likely come down to Stanford and Notre Dame while keeping fans of both schools on the edge of their respective seats.
Three of Notre Dame's defensive tackle targets who were considering taking official visits to campus have since decided to visit elsewhere.
- Marcus Griffin (Bellevue, Wash.) has officially visited Washington State, California, Arizona and has his final visit upcoming to Mississippi State.
- Michael Sawyers (Nashville, Tenn.), who was originally slated to visit Notre Dame this weekend, has instead decided to take his final visit to Tennessee.
- Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, N.Y.) decommitted from Penn State and committed to Florida soon after. Holley was originally thought to be strongly considering Notre Dame in the wake of Penn State defensive line coach Larry Johnson's departure from Penn State.
- Trey Lealaimatafao (San Antonio) was offered by Notre Dame on Jan. 11, but chose not to take an official visit to the Irish's campus. The 6'0", 301-pound defensive tackle instead spent his final official visit to Oregon (Jan. 24).
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