It's that time of the year again and Brian Kelly is ready to start the madness.
Phones are ringing, visits are being made, and verbals are being given out as if in a soup kitchen, while some have decided South Bend won't be their home for the next three or four years. The Notre Dame staff are hitting the recruiting trail hard.
Starting off the season by securing a solid verbal from Cam McDaniel, a RB/WR prospect out of Coppell High School, Kelly is in full stride. McDaniel, one of the top players in the well-known 5A division of Texas high school football, is a highlight reel waiting to happen. If you haven't seen the second coming of Sam McGuffie yet (minus the transfer to Rice), check him out.
A perfect fill-in after the rescinded commitment of Justice Hayes, who dropped the Irish for Michigan, McDaniel will also be hitting the trail as he has some work to do on his teammate, Bennett Okotcha. A new defensive back offer, Okotcha is one of the up-and-coming recruits in the nation, garnering interest from plenty of big name schools after his senior year performance. If the Irish can grab his signature, they will not only be getting a defensive back with a perfect name, but one who can contend for playing time right off the bat.
Other names that have surfaced recently include defensive ends Shane Ray (Kansas) and Brennan Scarlett (Oregon). Both players have been flying under the radar for the most part, but would be welcome additions to a budding Irish defensive line. Ray, committed to Missouri, had one of the best senior years in the country on the line. And Scarlett, just missing the Rivals100 at No. 101, is one of the best defensive ends available this late. Both are realistic options for Notre Dame at this point.
Christian French, a tall and speedy athlete, also has the Irish in his final three, along with Oregon and Iowa. French has been on the staff's radar for a while now and a decision will be made on December 9th, after each coach gets to visit the French household. This one will go down to the last minute before the decision, but don't be surprised if the top player in Iowa ends up donning the Blue and Gold in the end.
Of course, no one can forget about the top two prospects still left on the board at this point for Kelly: Savon Huggins and Ishaq Willams. Both recruits are elite talents that the Irish need in order to play at a top-notch level in the future. Huggins, one of the best running backs in the country, would contend for the starting job from day one, as would Williams in the linebacking corps in the 3-4. If Kelly can secure verbals from these two, this class would be considered a complete success with the addition of a defensive back and a quarterback.
Speaking off quarterbacks, Everett Golson looks to be Kelly's No. 1 target. The speedy, accurate signal-caller from South Carolina is currently committed to the Tar Heels, but has been backing off after the rough season and allegations against them. With interest from the Irish, it seems very possible that Golson may end up in South Bend come next fall, competing for the starting job with the other three quarterbacks expected to return.
The next few months will be a crazy roller coaster ride that any follower of recruiting will be used to by now. Names will emerge by the day and verbals will change by the week.
One thing is for certain for the holidays. 'Tis the season for Brian Kelly to make or break his recruiting class.