Notre Dame Football Recruiting: Top Targets, Positional Needs and Predictions
With national signing day looming large, it's time to take a look at where Notre Dame sits in the current recruiting cycle.
We'll be reviewing the Irish's top targets and positional needs, as well as making a few predictions.
Brian Kelly and Co. currently have 17 players in the 2012 recruiting haul, with three (Gunner Kiel, Sheldon Day and Tee Shepard) having already enrolled for the spring semester.
Follow along as we analyze Notre Dame's current position as the countdown to NSD begins!
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly and his staff have been relentlessly pursuing the nation's top uncommitted prospect, Arik Armstead, as of late.
According to the Sacramento Bee, Armstead will be visited by coaches from Cal, USC, Alabama, Washington, UCLA, Oregon, Auburn, Hawaii and Notre Dame this week.
However, Armstead has hinted at the possibility that he has two finalists in Auburn and Notre Dame.
Working in Notre Dame's favor is the fact that Armstead would be able to play for the Irish basketball team, which would fulfill his desire to play collegiate basketball when he's not competing on the gridiron.
Interestingly enough, whichever school receives Armstead's commitment may also be receiving another from his older brother, Armond, who played the first four years of his collegiate career at USC.
Armond and Arik have made it no secret that they'd enjoy playing together, making Arik's decision a potential package deal.
With the Irish having lost the commitment of cornerback Ronald Darby, it was essential that the coaching staff make a last ditch effort to secure the commitment of a player at the same position.
It did that and more by piquing the interest of Crete, Illinois native Anthony Standifer.
According to IrishIllustrated.com, Standifer would love to sign with the Irish, but he must clear his grades with the admissions office on campus. If that situation works itself out, Standifer will be donning the blue and gold in the fall.
The 6'1", 178-pound cornerback visited campus over the weekend and was personally hosted by offensive coordinator Chuck Martin.
Standifer's potential commitment would bring the class to 18 in number.
With the Irish being vulnerably thin at cornerback, a commitment from Don Bosco Prep's Yuri Wright is a coup for Notre Dame.
Wright, a high school teammate of current Notre Dame safety commit Elijah Shumate, is considered a 4-star prospect, according to Rivals.com.
Unfortunately, Wright's status is unstable at the moment, having been expelled from Don Bosco because of a few inappropriate things he said on his Twitter feed.
That sticky situation makes his recruitment murky, to say the least.
If the Irish do continue to pursue Wright, they'll be competing against Georgia, Colorado, Michigan and Rutgers for his services.
Wright visited Notre Dame back on December 16th and took his most recent visit to Rutgers over the weekend.
Despite having verbally committed to Nebraska on October 7th, wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp continues to show interest in Notre Dame.
Westerkamp, who attends Montini High School in Lomard, Illinois, visited Notre Dame on December 16th, which was only the second official visit. The other was to Nebraska.
At 6'2" and 195 pounds, not to mention his time of 4.5 seconds in the 40, Westerkamp is a perfect fit at receiver in Brian Kelly's spread attack.
Expect for Westerkamp to wait until national signing day before making an official announcement concerning his intentions.
Perhaps the most athletically gifted player in the 2012 class, Nelson Agholor of Tampa's Berkeley Prep is currently being pursued by the Irish.
Agholor has received offers from nearly every major program in the country, but has narrowed his list of schools to five, with Notre Dame making the cut.
Other schools in the running for Agholor are Oklahoma, Florida, Florida State and USC.
Agholor visited Notre Dame during the weekend of the Air Force game, and took his most recent visit to Florida State on the 13th. He's scheduled to visit USC next weekend.
Agholor has the capability to play a variety of positions, including wide receiver, safety and running back.
If he were to sign with Notre Dame, Agholor would project at receiver due to the loss of Michael Floyd.
Expect for his decision to come on national signing day.
The most glaring need during the current recruiting class is at cornerback, as evidenced by Notre Dame's pursuit of both Anthony Standifer and Yuri Wright.
Fellow cornerback Tee Shepard has already enrolled in classes and is expected to compete for a starting job during spring practices and fall camp.
Aside from Standifer and Wright, expect to see Brian Kelly and his staff to continue to chase Ronald Darby, who de-committed from Notre Dame a short time ago.
Remember what the staff was able to do with Aaron Lynch and Stephon Tuitt during the previous recruiting cycle after both players committed, de-committed and pledged their commitments all over again.
Receiver is the other position of need, but it has been well-addressed thus far, with the commitments of Chris Brown, Deontay Greenberry and Justin Ferguson.
The addition of Jordan Westerkamp would be the icing on the cake at the position.
Predictions on where prospects will sign is, perhaps, the most fun part of the days and weeks leading up to national signing day.
We'll do just that on this slide.
- Arik Armstead—Notre Dame. The opportunity to play both football and basketball at Notre Dame will sway Armstead to South Bend. He'll most likely be bringing his brother, Armond, along.
- Yuri Wright—Rutgers. The administration at Notre Dame isn't likely to look kindly upon Wright's expulsion from Don Bosco due to inappropriate tweets. Rutgers seems like the most reasonable choice at the moment.
- Jordan Westerkamp—Nebraska. Westerkamp is likely to stay at Nebraska due to the Irish already having three receivers in the current crop. Promises of playing time as a freshman won't be enough to woo him.
- Nelson Agholor—USC. The return of Matt Barkley at quarterback will be the deciding factor in Agholor's decision. The chance to play for a national championship doesn't hurt, either.
As for Anthony Standifer, he's 100 percent Irish if his grades pass through the admissions office without complication.