College football is back even if it’s only practice now. Fans will undoubtedly be feverishly checking various college football sites to get the latest scoop of their teams.
Of course, Notre Dame fans will be right there among all the rest as they wait for the latest tidbits on the progress of the boys in the blue and gold. However, in the midst of the excitement that accompanies the start of a college football season, recruiting must continue. This is the time of year when official visits are scheduled and a team’s success on the field (or lack thereof) can begin to shape the recruiting landscape. And while 2015 recruiting is beginning to enter its most critical period of the year, there’s a bit of a lull, at least for Irish fans, as coaches, recruits and recruitniks alike wait to see what impact the official visit schedule will have upon the class of 2015’s final composition.
So, while Notre Dame fans wait for the wild ride that almost always accompanies the closing months of a recruiting class, now might be a good time to review some of the 2016 prospects on which Irish Sports Daily has recently reported.
Jordan Fuller, ATH, 6-2, 195, Old Tappan High School, Old Tappan, NJ is no stranger to Notre Dame recruiting. While the Irish have shown him plenty of attention already, his older brother Devin was also heavily recruited by the Irish in 2011-2012 before finally signing with UCLA. Jordan’s relationship with the Irish took an important step recently.
“I was on the phone with Coach LaFleur,” he said. “He watched my film and said he liked me, but didn’t talk to the other coaches yet or show them the film. We were waiting and I called him the other day and he said the coaches liked me and they offered me.”
Fuller is the epitome of the versatile player that head coach Brian Kelly seems to favor. With his 4.4 speed he can play running back, wide receiver, defensive back and even quarterback. His athleticism also makes him an outstanding special teams player. With so many position options Fuller said the Irish have told him he can play where he chooses.
“(LaFleur) likes my athletic ability and I could play offense or defense and have an impact in the return game as well,” Fuller shared. “Coach LaFleur was just telling me how I run the ball fearlessly and play defense fearlessly.”
The Garden State athlete hopes to arrange an unofficial visit to South Bend sometime during the upcoming season.
“I just want to see the vibe I get from being there, like if I could see myself there or not,” he explained.
Fuller has already made trips to Boston College and Penn State. In addition to Notre Dame he would also like to visit UCLA. Of course, getting to see his brother, along with seeing the Bruins program, is a big incentive for him. However, the age difference between the siblings means that Devin will be gone before Jordan could arrive. Even if he can’t suit up with his big brother, Jordan has already learned much from Devin about dealing with the recruiting process.
“It’s very helpful,” he said. “Now my parents know how everything goes and my brother can help me out if I ever have any questions about anything. I guess it takes some of the pressure off because they’ve been through it before.”
While Jordan is considering all of his options he does admit that he likes UCLA. However, before he makes any decision he has a list of criteria that he’ll use.
“I’d like to go to a school where I can get a good education because football is not going to be here forever,” he said. “I want to like the campus. I want to get a good vibe and I want to play early.”
While not as versatile as Fuller, Gavin Cupp, OL, 6-6, 275, Leipsic High School, Leipsic, OH got the opportunity to flash a bit a versatility at a Notre Dame one day camp.
“It was awesome,” he said. “I actually got to work with the defense at the beginning. It was kind of cool and different from other camps. I’ll play defense this year. Then I got to work with the offense, which was pretty cool.”
Cupp has visited Notre Dame twice and have the Irish high on his list. While he currently holds offers from Bowling Green and Toledo, he’s been hearing from a number of other programs including Ohio State, Kentucky and of course Notre Dame. One of the attractions to the Irish program is the opportunity work with offensive line coach Harry Hiestand.
“I like how Coach Hiestand coaches,” he shared. “He’ll explain it to you. At Leipsic, we’re like a downhill running team, so he kind of knew. He was like, ‘OK I know why you’re doing this and it’s not a bad thing, but here’s how you can fix it.’ He’ll show you how to fix it instead of just yelling.”
Cupp and his family plan on getting to a Notre Dame game this fall. They were invited to the Michigan game but his football schedule will keep that from happening.
“They invited us to the Michigan game, but it just happens to be on the only Saturday game my school has ever scheduled,” he explained. “We’re not sure when we’re going to make it up there, but we’ll make it up there sometime this fall.”
Cupp was excited to receive his two early offers and obviously hopes for more. Through his conversations with recruiters, he knows what has coaches looking at him.
“They like my physicality,” he stated. “They like how I get off the ball, how athletic I am. They like the athletic lineman a lot. Instead of the big bodybuilders, they like seeing the athletic 6-5, 6-6 kids who can bend and run and move.”
Cupp’s final destination will probably be determined by how comfortable he is with the coaches and the university at large.
“The coaches, the lineman coach, who I’m working with, fan base,” Cupp said of what would influence his final decision. “Some of that stuff.”
These two summaries represent just a sample of the Notre Dame football recruiting information available each week on Irish Sports Daily.