Blake Barnett is Notre Dame's QB of the future.
It's a never-ending, whirlwind process, really.
While Notre Dame was busy putting the finishing touches on its 2014 recruiting class, it had also been quietly gearing up for another quality class in the 2015 cycle.
After finishing with two consecutive top-10 classes in as many years, per 247sports.com, the Irish are striving toward assembling a third consecutive class of that caliber. With a slew of scholarship offers already extended to a plethora of the elite prospects in the 2015 class, head coach Brian Kelly and Co. are already well on their way to accomplishing the feat.
Thus far, the Irish hold commitments from three prospects:
- 4-star OL Tristen Hoge (Pocatello, Idaho)
- 4-star OL Jerry Tillery (Shreveport, La.)
- 4-star QB Blake Barnett (Corona, Calif.)
Tillery was the first commit of the class, pledging to the Irish in June, with Barnett and Hoge following suit in November and December, respectively.
The addition of that trio signifies a blazing-fast start to the 2015 class for Notre Dame, though it's only the beginning of what's yet to come.
Yes, it is extraordinarily early in the 2015 cycle, but a handful of prospects have kept Notre Dame in the mix after narrowing their lists. Perhaps the most intriguing of those prospects is a California defensive back.
5-star CB Iman Marshall
Notre Dame took just one commitment at cornerback in its 2014 class (Nick Watkins) and narrowly missed out on a second in Stanford signee Terrence Alexander.
Thus, the Irish will be looking to take two or possibly three cornerbacks in the 2015 class, and the top target is Marshall. The 6'1", 190-pound product has trimmed his list to LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Alabama.
The Long Beach, Calif. native plays at the same high school of former Notre Dame target John "JuJu" Smith, who signed with USC last week. Whether that connection will pay dividends remains to be seen, but a strong relationship with Long Beach Poly High School has been formed during the Kelly era.
5-star RB Soso Jamabo
Running back is Notre Dame's biggest position of need in the 2015 class after passing on the position in the 2014 cycle.
Thus far, the Irish's top target at the position is Jamabo, a 6'3", 210-pound freak athlete whose 40-yard dash time has been clocked at 4.55 seconds. The Plano, Texas native has closed in on Baylor, Oklahoma, Oregon, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Texas A&M and Texas.
However, Baylor, Oklahoma and Oregon appear to be the very early leaders for the 247 Sports composite No. 2 running back.
4-star OG Zach Okun
With right guard having become a position of need in the 2015 cycle, Notre Dame has set its eyes on Newbury Park, Calif. product Zach Okun.
The 6'4", 310-pounder has been heavily recruited by offensive coordinator and West Coast recruiter Mike Denbrock throughout the process. Those efforts have paid dividends, as Okun has narrowed his list of schools to three, with Notre Dame making the cut along with UCLA and Washington.
The Irish extended an offer to Okun back in October, though he has yet to visit campus. Hailing from California, expect Okun's first visit to be an official one, probably coming at some point during the Irish's 2014 regular season.
4-star DT Elijah Taylor
A goal of the Kelly regime at Notre Dame is to develop depth across the board, particularly along the defensive line. Fortunately enough for the Irish, their fourth commitment in the 2015 class may come from Taylor.
Notre Dame is in the lead for the Cincinnati native, who was offered during an unofficial visit to campus last season for the Irish's 14-10 victory against USC. Defensive line coach and Midwest recruiter Mike Elston has been Taylor's lead recruiter, and he can use the success of former Irish nose guard Louis Nix as a lead recruiting pitch.
Also working in Notre Dame's favor for Taylor is the connection to his high school, Archbishop Moeller. Former Notre Dame quarterback Andrew Hendrix is an alumnus, and former Irish head coach Gerry Faust was lured away from the school to coach at Notre Dame.
Note: For a full list of Notre Dame's 2015 targets, click here.
All recruiting rankings courtesy of 247sports.com.