With the holiday season upon us, it is customary to make a Christmas wishlist of all the gifts that you are hoping to receive. With 20 recruits already committed to Notre Dame’s cause and ready to ink with the Irish this week, we can look forward to who’s left on every Notre Dame fan’s wishlist that could make what is currently a top-10 class into a top-5 class.
The former Irish commit turned duck is back on the market and the coaching staff have been relentlessly in pursuit of him. Lenzy is a four-star prospect who is rated as the 212th player overall in the class according to the 247Sports’ Composite rankings brings with him elite track speed that could take the top off of any defense. In his junior year, he was just fast, but as a senior he developed into an all-around elite football player who has refined his skills. The pursuit of Lenzy has cost the staff the commitment of fellow speedster Geordon Porter, so it is imperative that they land him. Fortunately, the Irish look like the clear favorites at this point and Lenzy should be back in the class by the end of the week.
Another talented player who shot up the boards with a spectacular senior season, Irvin is a versatile defensive back who could play both as cornerback and safety at the next level. For a long time, it was the hometown Trojans who looked as though they would land the elite four-star defensive back who currently ranks 149th overall in the country. Due to being slow-played by the USC staff, Notre Dame jumped in front of his recruitment after applying constant pressure and showing Irvin that he was a priority in this class. Currently, 247Sports’ Crystal Ball has Notre Dame as 73% favorites to land Irvin and if everything goes as planned should ink with this class.
A defensive back that Notre Dame has been in the chase for and probably leading for a long time, Gordon is anything but a sure thing. Probably the best pure-cornerback talent, Gordon is a four-star prospect who is currently rated 180th overall in the class and could be an instant contributor next season. Notre Dame looked like the clear favorites to land Gordon coming out of the Echoes banquet in South Bend, but a trip to the Washington campus last weekend clouded Gordon’s decision and forced him to rethink his future. Gordon will likely make an announcement this week, and the longer he takes, the more the shine wears off from his visit to UW. Gordon would be a great addition and would make a good secondary class the best in the Brian Kelly era.
Whereas the Notre Dame’s class is loaded in other positions, the offensive line class is thin and doesn’t have any true elite players with Cole Mabry and John Dirksen as the two lone commits. The addition of Petit-Frere would change that and bolster the class as a whole. Currently a consensus five-star prospect and 17th overall in the class, Petit-Frere would instantly be Notre Dame’s top prospect in the class should he announce. Petit-Frere has been open that he would be taking his time with his decision and possibly take it to National Signing Day in February, that has been the only thing that he has been open with in his recruitment. Petit-Frere is a very quiet individual who doesn’t talk to the media often, very few scouts have any insight. He is looking for a place that would offer him the balance of academics and football and has a great relationship with offensive line coach Harry Heistand, which is why some believe that he is leaning toward the Irish. Florida, Alabama, and now Michigan are in the battle for the elite tackle, so it would be a coup for Notre Dame to walk away with his signature.
Amon-Ra St. Brown/Solomon Tuliaupupu
The pair of Southern Cal natives are probably the hardest to get on this list, but would both be difference makers in this class. Both have been long believed to be favorites to land at USC, but the Irish have a better chance than most are giving them credit for.
St. Brown is the younger brother of current Notre Dame receiver Equanimeous St. Brown. A consensus five-star prospect and 12th overall player in the class, St. Brown is so refined in his route running that he could be an instant impact at wide receiver in his freshman year. Notre Dame were thought to be favorites to land him before and following his official visit against USC, but struggles with the passing game to end the season have put the Irish behind. Kelly and company have been relentlessly in pursuit of St. Brown and both he and his father were impressed by Kelly and the staff in a recent home visit that makes it too early to count the Irish out of this one. St. Brown will be announcing his decision at the Army All-American Bowl on January 6th, so a decision is only a couple of weeks away.
Tuliaupupu is the other SoCal player in the class that Notre Dame would be willing to expand the class to include. Ranked four stars and 88th overall, Tuliaupupu will be a difference maker in a linebacker class that already includes Jack Lamb, Bo Bauer, Ovie Oghoufo, and rover Shayne Simon. With the departures of Nyles Morgan and Greer Martini, there will be plenty of playing time available and Tuliaupupu is a player who could see the field right away. Like Irvin, Tuliaupupu and his father felt as though he wasn’t made as big of a priority by USC while Notre Dame hasn’t relented and have pressed all the right buttons. Many sources say that his visit to South Bend was his best all year and that both father and son came away very impressed with Notre Dame definitely being a school that they can see Solomon playing at. Should Notre Dame be able to get him on campus again in January, then they have a strong chance to pull the upset.
A Bowl Win
What started as a spectacular and very promising season after nine games became a bit of a disappointment in the final three. Notre Dame do have the ability to right the ship and obtain that all-important 10th win. A 10th win against a quality ranked LSU team would change the perception of the program. Notre Dame played a tough schedule, and are currently 3-3 against teams that finished the regular season in the top 25 (if you count NC State who are in the playoff committee’s top 25). A win against LSU would put Notre Dame in the winning column and give the program the much needed momentum heading into the offseason and on the recruiting trail.
What’s any Christmas without a present which includes new clothes? While Under Armour has provided a breath air when it comes to Notre Dame’s uniforms, adding some new twists and nuances to the classic uniforms that accentuate Notre Dame’s values, history, and tradition, it hasn’t been without the occasional fashion faux pas. The faux pas in question is how the Under Armour uniform changes color with moisture and the players look as if they wet their pants after warmups. This has been especially embarrassing for the program in marquee games televised nationally such as Georgia and Miami because nothing looks worse when playing a prime time matchup against a highly ranked opponent as a team that has wet themselves in anticipation. For the most part, the Under Armour deal has mostly had its ups, but they have to this wardrobe malfunction going forward.