Notre Dame is holding its Junior Day on Saturday. A few prospects came in a bit before - we have a Live Blog up now that you can follow for those updates and more.
But most of the action will take place today. With the Irish expected to sign a smaller class in 2014, this year’s Junior Day is smaller than previous years.
The Irish will be hosting three of their current 2014 commits along with a few other prospects who already hold offers. We don’t expect many other offers to go out this weekend, if any. Still, this weekend will be critical for at least one current pledge and for those uncommitted prospects.
Here’s a look at this weekend’s guest list with Twitter handles and preview stories:
WR Justin Brent (@JustinBrent23): His own high school football and basketball seasons have prevented the Indianapolis native from returning to South Bend as often as he’d like, but his schedule was cleared when his hoops time lost a tough game in the state semifinals last weekend. Brent has been committed since last summer and is still very solid in that pledge even as other programs have shown interest. For Brent, this weekend’s trip is more about getting more commits than firming up his own.
LB Greer Martini: Like Brent, the Virginia linebacker has been committed to the Irish since summer and he’s returning with the hopes of meeting future teammates more than anything. Martini will continue the pipeline from Woodberry Forest School, making it three straight years the Irish picked up a player from the school, following C.J. Prosise and Doug Randolph. This will be Martini’s fourth trip to campus in a little over a year.
DL Jay Hayes (@Jay_Hayes7): Unlike Brent and Martini, this weekend could be huge for the New York defensive end since it’ll be his first-ever trip to South Bend. Hayes made a quick commitment to the Irish in November and tried to get to campus a couple of times, but it never worked out until this weekend. Hayes says he’s completely solid in his decision and made it because of the family feel at Notre Dame. The Irish are hoping to seal his pledge up by allowing him to experience that feeling for himself this weekend.
OL Alex Bars: The son of former Notre Dame football player, Joe Bars, this Tennessee offensive lineman landed an offer from his father’s alma mater last month. He has brothers playing at Michigan and Penn State – both had some interest in Notre Dame, but neither received an offer from the Irish. The youngest Bars is a big-time prospect with offers from the likes of Florida, Florida State, LSU, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska and Stanford among several others. He’s not in a hurry to make a decision and has other visits scheduled this spring, but the Irish could make a surge up his list with a strong visit.
TE Jeb Blazevich (@JebBlazevich): Considered one of the top tight ends in the country, the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder from North Carolina’s Charlotte Christian has close to 30 offers from some of the biggest programs in the nation. He narrowed his list down a few months ago to Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson, Ohio State, Ole Miss and Georgia. He’s currently on a spring tour and plans on visiting his top choices one last time before coming to an early decision. Blazevich is extremely excited to finally see the Irish program up close and personal. This will definitely be a huge weekend for both Notre Dame and Blazevich as the Irish attempt to make a huge impression on the All-American tight end. We think once he gets around the Irish players and coaching staff, he’ll definitely feel like he fits in because he's very much in Notre Dame type of guy. But will that be enough to overcome some of the familiarity down South?
DE Andrew Trumbetti (@AndrewTrumbetti): If there’s one prospect to keep an eye on for a possible commitment, it’s the New Jersey defensive end. Trumbetti grew up a Notre Dame fan and the Irish instantly became his leader when they offered following his camp performance last summer. But he fought off the urge to offer an early commitment while maintain Notre Dame as his favorite ever since. He visited Florida recently and would like to return again. He’d also like to get out to Stanford, but it’ll be interesting to see if he decides he South Bend is where he wants to be.
TE Mike Gesicki (@mikegesicki): The New Jersey three-sport standout has offers from Boston College, Temple and Rutgers for football and some lower-Division offers in basketball, but some say volleyball is actually his best sport. Regardless, he plans on playing football in college. He plays receiver for his high school squad, but expects to be moved down to tight end at the next level. Gesicki is eager to see Notre Dame and to hear how much interest the coaches have in him.
TE Daniel Helm: The Illinois native will be making his second stop in South Bend in a matter of weeks after ducking in on his way home from an unofficial to Michigan. He has offers from BCS programs in the Midwest like Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Northwestern and Nebraska as well as offers from Ole Miss, Tennessee and North Carolina State. He’s been told he’s in the next tier of tight end targets for the Irish, but that doesn’t seem to bother him as he made sure to set up the visit this weekend.
OL Richie Wenzel: The 6-foot-4, 280-pounder from Maryland’s Good Counsel will be hoping to impress the Irish coaches when he'll have his first opportunity to speak to them at length. He has kept it no secret that he really likes Notre Dame and excitingly shares that he's had numerous relatives attend the University. The talented offensive lineman has yet to receive his first offer, but has started receiving some big-time Division-I interest from schools like Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, North Carolina, Stanford and Wisconsin.
S Darius West (@D_1west25): The Ohio safety prospect will be making his way to South Bend after visiting Michigan on Friday. The 6-foot, 195-pounder currently holds offers from schools like Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Penn State, Purdue and West Virginia among others. The Irish said they wanted to see him in person before offering, so it’s not clear if he’ll land one this weekend. An offer would definitely make Notre Dame a player moving forward.