With the 2013 recruiting class in the books, Notre Dame can turn its full attention the Class of 2014 and so can Irish Sports Daily.
Today, we’re breaking down the 2014 class by position and looking at the prospects Notre Dame figures to recruit the hardest. Here’s a list of players Notre Dame has identified early as top targets and who have also expressed an interest in the Irish.
Click on each prospect’s name to view their full profile.
Target Number: 1
Brandon Dawkins (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian): The only 2014 quarterback prospect currently with an offer from the Irish, the 6-foot-4, 215-pounder will clearly be one of Notre Dame’s top targets this cycle. Dawkins made his first trip to South Bend for the Irish’s win over Stanford in October and left saying Notre Dame couldn’t be higher on his list. He remains high on Notre Dame and says it’s the only school he knows he’ll definitely take an official to this fall. The quarterback from Jimmy Clausen’s alma mater also holds an offer from Utah and is hearing from programs like Alabama, USC, UCLA, Oregon, Cal and Washington among others.
Drew Barker (Burlington, Ky./Conner): The 6-foot-3, 211-pounder currently has offers from BCS programs like South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina, Louisville, Kentucky, Cincinnati and Illinois among others. Schools like Notre Dame, Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, Georgia and Vanderbilt have also shown serious interest. The dual-threat quarterback made a trip to Notre Dame for the Irish’s final home game of the season against Wake Forest and was thoroughly impressed with everything he saw. He was told he was in the top tier of signal-callers Notre Dame is looking at in 2014. Look for Barker to return to South Bend for at least one more visit before he makes a decision.
Andrew Ford (Camp Hill, Pa./Cedar Cliff): Ford threw for over 2,500 yards and 35 touchdowns last season and has been in frequent contact with Notre Dame assistant Chuck Martin. The 6-foot-3, 188-pounder recently picked up offers from Temple and Massachusetts. He's also been in contact with other big-time schools like Cincinnati, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Virginia. Ford was supposed to visit Notre Dame last year, but Hurricane Sandy had different ideas and forced the 2014 quarterback to postpone his visit. The quarterback is still hoping to get to South Bend sometime early this year.
OTHER QB PROSPECTS TO KEEP AN EYE ON: Chase Litton, Deshone Kizer, Kilton Anderson, Chance Stewart (Wisconsin commit), D.J. Gillins (Texas Tech commit) Shelby Spence, Colar Kohns
Target Number: 1-2
Elijah Hood (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Catholic): The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder put up monster numbers the last two seasons at running back, combining for 5,291 and 83 touchdowns as a sophomore and junior. He picked up an offer from Notre Dame in early-December and the Irish are currently in his top five along with Ohio State, North Carolina, Clemson and Georgia Tech. The former teammate of current Notre Dame offensive lineman Mark Harrell is expected to make his first visit to South Bend for a spring practice in the coming months.
Bo Scarbrough (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Northridge): One of the 2014 class’ elite athletes, the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder committed to his hometown Crimson Tide in September and remains a solid Alabama pledge. That being said, Scarbrough has identified Notre Dame as one of the few schools he’s still considering and has said he will visit South Bend. He’s also planning visits to Florida and Georgia. It’s difficult to pull elite talent out of the state of Alabama and even more difficult to pry it out of Tuscaloosa, especially when a commitment has already been made, but Scarbrough is worth the effort.
Leonard Fournette (New Orleans, La./St. Augustine): Possibly the top running back prospect in the Class of 2014 and perhaps the top overall prospect in the entire class, the 6-foot-2, 225-pounder has already been tabbed as a consensus five-star. Notre Dame has been working on making inroads in Louisiana and the Irish feel they have a legit chance at being in the running for Fournette. It’s going to be tough to get him out of SEC country, but Notre Dame is going to try.
Sony Michel (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage): Notre Dame’s first offer in the Class of 2014, the 5-foot-11, 185-pounder has been on the national radar since he started playing varsity football as an eigth-grader. The Irish were able to get Michel on campus last summer, when he visited with former teammate and 2013 Notre Dame signee Michael Deeb. That relationship with Deeb could be enough to allow the Irish to remain in the race, but it’s going to be difficult to pull him out of the South.
OTHER RB PROSPECTS TO KEEP AN EYE ON: Derrell Scott, Jonathan Hilliman, Donte Williams, Christian McCaffrey, Nathan Starks, Joe Mixon, Nick Wilson, Mikale Wilbon, Jeff Jones (Minnesota commit), C.J. Hilliard, Justin Jackson
Target Number: 3-4
Justin Brent (Indianapolis, Ind./Speedway): As soon as Brent made his first trip to South Bend for Notre Dame’s Junior Day last April, it was clear that the 6-foot-3, 195-pound athlete would probably commit to the Irish if given the chance. A couple months later, Brent got that chance as he was offered a scholarship in July and waited only a couple days before giving the Irish his pledge. A former basketball prospect, Brent gives the Irish an athletic option for the future with tons of upside.
Corey Holmes (Pembroke Pines, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas): Holmes probably wouldn’t have even made it to South Bend this summer if not for the urging of his father, but once he got there, the 6-foot-1, 180-pounder knew he wanted to get back. He returned for the Michigan game in September and has already pledged to take an official visit in the fall. Holmes continues to add offers to a list that includes Notre Dame, Florida, Florida State, Michigan and Wisconsin among others, but the Irish will surely be in the mix until the end.
Shaq Davidson (Gaffney, S.C./Gaffney): The Irish extended an offer to the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder last month, joining a group that includes Georgia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, North Carolina State, South Carolina, Tennessee and Ohio State among others. Davidson was impressed to get the early offer from the Irish and he’s planning to get to South Bend this summer, but it could be difficult to get him away from the Southeast.
Thaddeus Snodgrass (Springfield, Ohio/Springfield): The 6-foot-1, 170-pounder was close to committing to Ohio State last fall, but twice cancelled scheduled announcements. Since then, the Buckeyes have dropped down the list while Notre Dame continues to be among Snodgrass’ leaders. He was expected to make a trip to South Bend last month, but didn’t make it. Snodgrass is planning to the let the process play out until after he takes official visits and is also high on schools like Penn State, Michigan State and Nebraska.
Terry Googer (Atlanta, Ga./Woodward): The 6-foot-3, 208-pound athlete picked up an offer from the Irish at their camp last summer and Notre Dame immediately shot toward the top of his list. The feeling seemed to be wearing off as summer turned to fall, but Googer returned to South Bend for Notre Dame’s game against Stanford and the Irish were able to grab his attention again. South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Louisville are also schools to keep an eye on.
Mark Andrews (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain): At 6-6 and 230 pounds, Andrews is almost a “jumbo receiver.” It’d be easy to peg him as a receiving tight end, but Andrews has been firm in his conviction that he wants to play receiver at the next level. The Irish have talked about using him the way they used Tyler Eifert at times, but have been clear with him that they would let him play receiver. Andrews already has offers from Notre Dame, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, UCLA, Virginia and Washington State among others.
Drake Harris (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian): Currently committed to Michigan State, Harris tore up the competition on the gridiron last year with 91 catches for 2,016 yards and 23 touchdowns. The 6-foot-4, 180-pounder initially planned on playing football and basketball in college, but has decided to focus on football and recently opened up his recruiting. He maintains he’s still committed to the Spartans. Currently, Harris has offers from the Irish, Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Ohio State and Indiana to name a few and is also hearing from Florida State, Georgia, Illinois, Purdue, Texas and UCLA. Harris has been hearing from Notre Dame since reopening his recruitment and plans on visiting sometime in the near future.
Artavis Scott (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake): The talented receiver from the Sunshine State has quickly become one of the most sought-after players in the 2014 class. The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder had 64 catches for 995 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2012 and already has more than a dozen offers early in the recruiting process. Schools like Arkansas, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, South Carolina and West Virginia are just a few of the offers he holds. Scott visited South Bend for the Michigan game last fall and came away greatly impressed with all Notre Dame had to offer. Scott is teammates with 2014 offensive line target Mason Cole.
KD Cannon (Mt. Pleasant, Texas/Mt. Pleasant): Cannon was dominant on the field last season and earned First Team All-State honors with 96 receptions for 1,516 yards and 25 touchdowns. This production has led to a number of early offers for the 6-foot, 163-pound Texan from Baylor, Louisiana-Lafayette, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, SMU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, West Virginia, and he's also claiming an offer from Notre Dame. Cannon has yet to visit South Bend, but plans on doing that sometime this year.
OTHER WR PROSPECTS TO KEEP AN EYE ON: Josh Malone, Jacob McCrary, Trevion Thompson, Dominique Booth, Johnnie Dixon, Jamil Kamara, Austin Roberts, Dalis Todd, Mike Gesicki, Trevon Lee
Target Number: 1-2
Tyler Luatua (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada): Clearly a top target for Notre Dame in 2014, La Mirada was one of Brian Kelly’s first recruiting stops following Notre Dame’s regular season finale against USC. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder has attracted national attention and boasts offers from schools like Notre Dame, USC, UCLA, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska and several others. The school and community have made a big deal each time the Irish have visited and Notre Dame is among Luatua’s current favorites along with Notre Dame, Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama and USC.
Jeb Blazevich (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian): A lot of recruiting analysts out there think the two top tight end prospects in the Class of 2014 are Luatua and the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Blazevich. Last season, the North Carolina native caught 30 passes for 379 yards and five touchdowns and was also a dominant force while blocking. Notre Dame was quick to offer the 2014 tight end and is currently in his final six with Georgia, Clemson, Ohio State, Ole Miss and Alabama. Blazevich will be at Notre Dame's Junior Day next month.
Nic Weishar (Midlothian, Ill./Marist): The 6-foot-5, 215-pound wide receiver will most likely make the transition to tight end when he gets to college. The offers continue to pile up and he’s able to boast over 15 offers up to this point including Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Ohio State, Arkansas and Northwestern. Weishar underwent shoulder surgery after the season and his rehab is coming along as planned. He’s not looking to rush into his decision and Notre Dame is one of the schools he’s seriously considering. It’s important to note that his mother and grandfather were athletes at Northwestern.
OTHER TE PROSPECTS TO KEEP AN EYE ON: Ethan Wolf, Dalton Schultz, Daniel Helm, Ian Bunting, Jacory Washington, Blake Williams