Notre Dame missed out on two of its top overall targets when Justin Hilliard and Jashon Cornell announced verbal commitments to Ohio State on Wednesday morning.
The Irish were among the finalists for the services of the elite prospects. Hilliard, a 5-star outside linebacker and the No. 21 overall recruit in the country and Cornell, a 4-star weak-side defensive end and the No. 37 overall player nationwide, would have provided major high-end talent atop Notre Dame’s class.
While the Irish do check in at No. 7 in the team rankings, Notre Dame’s class is relatively devoid of the best prospects in the country. Of the 10 top classes, Notre Dame is tied for the second-fewest 4- and 5-star pledges (five). Center Tristen Hoge is the only commitment who ranks among the top 100 players.
But although Notre Dame failed to land two top prospects, the Irish should still be well set at both positions. With Josh Barajas (No. 166 overall) already in the mix and targets Asmar Bilal (No. 218) and Te’von Coney (No. 363) as potential additions, Notre Dame could recover well at linebacker.
The Irish have three defensive linemen commits, but the search likely continues for defensive ends.