The Biggest Takeaways from Notre Dame Recruits Performance at The Opening

Damon Sayles@@DamonSaylesNational Recruiting AnalystJuly 11, 2015

Offensive tackle Tommy Kraemer is Notre Dame's top-ranked commit in the 2016 class. He also was an influential voice to uncommitted players at The Opening.
Offensive tackle Tommy Kraemer is Notre Dame's top-ranked commit in the 2016 class. He also was an influential voice to uncommitted players at The Opening.Damon Sayles/Bleacher Report

BEAVERTON, Ore. — Notre Dame will enter the weekend on a high note, as it landed 3-star wide receiver commit Chase Claypool on Friday.

It appears as though the best is yet to come for the Fighting Irish.

Notre Dame has a dozen commitments, and the expectations for landing several more highly ranked recruits are high. Currently the Irish have four 4-star prospects committed, but head coach Brian Kelly is hoping recruiting picks up throughout the rest of the summer and into the fall.

Canada's No. 1 player a solid get

Chase Claypool is the top-ranked player in Canada, and on Friday, Notre Dame picked up an athlete who can emerge into a true gamer.

Claypool, a 6'5", 205-pound receiver, chose the Irish over offers from Rutgers, Oregon and several other schools. He had a chance to take in the Notre Dame experience and fell in love with what he saw.

Credit: 247Sports

"I got to know the coaches on a personal level," Claypool said. "I sat down and ate with [wide receivers] coach Mike Denbrock on campus. I was there for two days, so I got a feel of what it's really like to be there. It feels like a family."

Offensive tackle Tommy Kraemer was one of the Notre Dame commits in Oregon eagerly awaiting Claypool's decision. In the back of his mind, he felt Claypool would make the decision to become a future teammate.

"He actually never gave me a straight answer," Kraemer said. "But if I had money on it, I would have said it was looking good for us."

Selling pitch simple for top-10 OT

Kraemer said he kept his head on a swivel throughout The Opening in search of prospects who could be future Notre Dame teammates.

Kraemer said he didn't put pressure on any of the athletes, but when he spoke about his future home, selling the university wasn't difficult, as long as they were thinking long term.

"You can't beat a degree from one of the top five schools in the country," Kraemer said. "Life after football is going to be taken care of. As for the tradition, you're playing in a stadium that's been sold out since it's been made. You're in front of millions of people every Saturday. That's a big part of it."

Sanjay Kirpalani @SanjayKirpalani

Jonathan Cooper vs Tommy Kraemer http://t.co/nZWD2QWd5H

Kraemer, who plans on getting a business degree in either economics or marketing, said he had a few prospects in mind upon his arrival to Oregon.

"Caleb Kelly was one," Kraemer said, referring to California's top-ranked player and the nation's No. 2 outside linebacker. "When I landed, I was talking to him right away. I also was talking to Chase Claypool. And then there's Wole [defensive end Oluwole Betiku]. He's a big Notre Dame target. He's really, really good. Hopefully, we'll get him."

Parker Boudreaux player-recruiting Florida OLB

There are a few premier targets on Notre Dame's list as recruiting inches closer to signing day. Among them are 5-star linebacker Ben Davis, 4-star athlete Jordan Fuller and 4-star all-purpose back Damian Alloway.

Parker Boudreaux, the newest Notre Dame commit prior to Claypool's decision Friday, didn't do a ton of player recruiting in Oregon. Instead, the versatile offensive lineman said he's keeping his focus on the guys who didn't make The Opening. Boudreaux has one defensive player on his list in particular.

"My biggest target I'm going for every single day is Jonathon Jones," Boudreaux said, regarding the 3-star outside linebacker from Orlando, Florida. "He's a great kid, smart and has great character. He's exactly what Notre Dame needs."

Jones, a top-30 outside linebacker nationally, has Michigan high on his list. Boudreaux is hoping the Irish can do enough to sway him.

Steve Hare @share24

SLIDESHOW: Boudreaux vs. Gary #TheOpening http://t.co/DzpxBjhN0N @ParkerBoudreaux #IrishIllustrated @RashanGary33

The Opening: Solid preparation for college ball

Kraemer is the top-ranked Notre Dame commit and the No. 1 player from Ohio. Competing against some of the best defensive linemen is something he said he not only won't forget but also will use to improve his skills.

"It been great. It's cool being with the top 160 players," Kraemer said. "Everyone out here is very similar. We're all high-rated guys and good players who feel comfortable with each other. It's just great being out here with these guys.

"It's crazy. In high school, you're the big dog. Here, you go against guys every rep where if you don't give 110 percent, you're going to get beat. It's great going against the best because you're going to get better."

The suggestion: 'Ask Tony'

The Oregon scene was a chance for committed players to sell their programs. If there was one person who played the role of Notre Dame hypeman, both Kraemer and Boudreaux knew who to sync with.

"I know to ask Tony," Boudreaux said, referring to 4-star running back Tony Jones Jr. "I know he's working on about three or four guys."

"Tony's the man," Kraemer added. "Just hanging out with our guys have been great, but I know Tony's been great with talking to guys. We're all getting to know them better."

Irish Sports Daily @ISDUpdate

2016 #NotreDame commits Tony Jones Jr. and Chase Claypool. #NDFB http://t.co/lYJUBRJH2T

Jones is a big-time commit expected to be a main cog in the Irish backfield. At 6'0" and 212 pounds, he has the size, speed, field vision and overall athleticism to be a solid north-south runner in Kelly's offense.

In fact, he told Bleacher Report's Sanjay Kirpalani that, in addition to being a solid player recruiter, he also had a couple of primary goals in an effort to becoming an elite college athlete.

"Stay consistent in route running," he said, "and never play down to people's levels."

Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles


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