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The OFD series on 10 changes to college football continues. This week, we examine the conference affiliation of officials.
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2014 Fresno Athlete High on ND
Michiah Quick doesn’t know much about Notre Dame, but he does know the Irish are interested in him.
Notre Dame made an offer to the 2014 Fresno, Calif., (Fresno Central) athlete earlier this month.
“My coach Tony Perry was on the phone with one of the coaches and he told me that Notre Dame offered me,” Quick said. “I thought it was pretty decent. I never really thought that would be coming, but it was pretty exciting.
“They told my coach I was pretty good and they’d seen my highlight tape and thought I could be pretty good going there in a few years.”
And that, along with serious interest in the Irish by his 2013 teammate L.J. Moore, has got Quick’s attention.
“I don’t really know much,” he said. “Yeah, I’m interested in Notre Dame.”
Quick also has offers from UCLA, Cal, Oklahoma and Houston already.
“For me, I’m just sitting back,” he said. “I told my mom, she’s happy, I’m happy and it makes my family proud.”
In addition to Moore, Quick also plays with Hatari Byrd, another Central defensive back who is considering taking an official visit to Notre Dame. The 2014 prospect enjoys being surrounded by other talented players.
“It’s pretty fun,” he said. “Hatari is my cousin, I grew up with him and we’ve been around L.J. all our lives. It’s pretty fun to see some of the older guys be able to go D-I.”
Quick could play receiver or defensive back on the next level.
“Wherever the coach puts me,” he said, adding that he likes both sides of the ball.
“I just go 100 percent every time I get the ball. Every time I don’t get the ball, I still go 100 percent, doing my job on and off the field.”
Perry believes Quick is an elite national prospect.
“He might be the best sophomore in the whole state of California,” the defensive back guru said. “This dude is so legit, it’s not even funny. He might be the best receiver/DB around. He is the best.”
It’s still early, but Quick is looking forward to the next steps in the recruiting process.
“I haven’t had a chance to visit any schools yet,” he said. “I’m hoping to take some visits soon, but don’t have anything set up yet.”
He knows what he’ll be looking for.
“I’m looking for a school that throws the ball,” he said. “Someone who has a nice program, nice facilities and just good things all the way around.”
Three, Two, One, Boom!
It's commitment time! With the May evaluation period almost complete, the Notre Dame Football program moves into one of the most critical recruiting months in the program's recent history.
Notre Dame could bolster its roster within the next five to seven weeks. Several unofficial visitors will be arriving in short order, and several of them will be of the highest priority for the Notre Dame Football coaching staff. I will forward my thoughts regarding Notre Dame's short-term recruiting prognosis in conjunction with a conversation I recently had with a fellow Irish fan.
Speaking with a friend and fellow diehard Notre Dame fan, he asked my thoughts about the next round of Notre Dame verbal commitments. Without hesitation I told him,"'I expect probably four more commitments during June and early July.'" When prompted for more information, I mentioned a few reasons why, as well as a few of the targets I expected to pull the trigger.
First off, I explained that with a plethora of prospects already sojourning to Notre Dame for unofficial visits, it's only a matter of time before a few more of them pop for the Irish. Depending upon the individual recruit, he will often need some time to finalize his belief that Notre Dame will be his college destination. That's only natural. As I explained to my friend, there's a bonus with several of the recruits that took unofficial visits to Notre Dame.
"They're coming back!" I probably mentioned the importance of multiple unofficial visits five times during our conversation. One just cannot oversell the value of multiple unofficial visits. Well, at least some of the recruits will be visiting Notre Dame yet again. The more visits to the Grotto the better. The more times a recruits walks down the tunnel in Notre Dame Stadium the better. The more one-on-one conversations with Notre Dame coaching staff members the better. The list is all but endless. It really comes down to comfort. The likelihood of a recruit feeling comfortable with what Notre Dame offers will increase with each passing unofficial visit. My friend agreed with me, and he asked the 64,000 dollar question. "Who do you think is going to commit?" My thoughts about the recruits I feel most likely to pull the trigger, plus a few comments about recruits that may or may not be ready to end their recruitment.
Isaac Rochell, DL, (GA) -- He's been very close to committing for quite some time. If a second trip to Notre Dame does not conclude with a verbal commitment to Notre Dame, or at least a commitment by the end of June, I will be surprised and disappointed. As I mentioned to my fellow Irish fan, I expect the Floridas, Florida States, and Clemsons of the world to continue to recruit Rochell no matter what, but I would feel much better about Notre Dame's chances to eventually sign Rochell if he pulled the trigger for Notre Dame by no later than the Fourth of July. That would tell me his interest in Notre Dame is sincere, and that going away from home is more than lip service. When it comes time to make a final decision, many recruits just cannot handle the reality of leaving home. I do not sense that being an issue with Rochell, but the rubber will hit the road after he treks to Notre Dame for a second time come the Fourth of June.
Alex Anzalone, LB (PA) -- While recruiting is truly an adventurous hobby, I cannot place my finger towards what Anzalone desires in a school with anything more than a few guesses. His extremely difficult to read. With that said, he does communicate with several Notre Dame recruits. That's a very good sign for the Irish. I fear Florida, where his father attended school, more than any other foe. Again, however, Anzalone proves difficult to read. Further, I really cannot pin down a time table for Anzalone's decision, and I would feel the same even if he publicly announced a decision date. The reason I state that is I believe he wants recruiting to be over more so than he's truly ready to make a decision. It's a big headache with all the phone calls, emails, questions, and the like. I place Anzalone in the category of "Who knows?" more than any other recruit on this list. My friend agreed, as he's also perplexed by Anzalone's recruitment. The next target should be Irish, at least in my opinion, by the end of June.
Doug Randolph, LB, (VA) -- Committed to Stanford since June of 2011, Randolph continued to communicate with Notre Dame. Helping the Notre Dame cause would be Randolph's former high school teammate and recent Notre Dame signee, C.J. Prosise. The future Irish safety still communicates with Randolph, and that will likely helped Notre Dame secure the first unofficial visit from Randolph. The same can be said of Randolph's impending June visit to South Bend. When my friend asked what I thought about Randolph, I mentioned how I felt much better about Notre Dame's chances the second visit. "Why else would you come back to Notre Dame if you really wants to go to Stanford?" Then again, Randolph plans to visit Stanford again. So, perhaps I spoke to hastily? Maybe it's just me being a Notre Dame fan, but I feel Randolph likes the idea of playing for Notre Dame more than he does Stanford. I see no other reason for flirting with switching his commitment for this long unless he truly just wants to ensure himself that Notre Dame will be his college home with a second unofficial trip to Notre Dame. I really like Notre Dame's chances of flipping Randolph.
Jaylon Smith, LB, (IN) -- Continuing with the linebacker theme, it's time to discuss the most important linebacker recruit on Notre Dame's board. I lost track of how many unofficial visits Smith took to Notre Dame, but the good news stems from Smith planning to visit Notre Dame yet again in the near future. Will he finally pull the trigger? I do not believe he will. Southern California intensified its recruitment of Smith, and I believe he truly wants to travel to Los Angeles to visit the Trojans. Whether that happens or not, well, hard to say. As I told my friend, I expect Smith to select Notre Dame, but I rescinded my earlier prediction of Smith committing early now that the Trojans thrusted themselves into his recruitment. I will now simply guess that Smith will make a commitment by the start of his senior season. I still like Notre Dame's chances, but I believe his recruitment will drag out a while longer. Additionally, I believe that Urban Meyer will recruit him no matter what. Ohio State will always be in the back of his mind. What's interesting about Ohio State derives from Smith's brother, Rod, the sophomore running back. The scuttlebutt is that's he's struggling to crack the rotation and may not play much. That's not going to help Ohio State's cause, assuming the rumor is true.
Ebenezer Ogundeko, DE, (NY) -- It's great to see prospects from the greater New York City area visiting Notre Dame. With Notre Dame's strong social foot print back East, the Irish should be a contender for Ogundeko's signature. Penn State recently extended an offer, as did Alabama, Florida, Boston College, Stanford, West Virginia, and several other schools across the United States prior to Penn State's offer. It's hard to gauge Ogundeko's priority list at this juncture, but he does plan to visit Notre Dame and Florida during the month of June. Thus, I place those two schools as the most likely destinations if he ends his recruitment this summer. Still need to learn more about the Brooklyn product before declaring him anything more than a possible commitment.
Danny Mattingly, LB, (WA) -- Mattingly represents the recruit I was most excited about when finally receiving his offer from Notre Dame. I believe he is a national top 100 recruit that's being overlooked by the scouting services because of playing in Spokane, WA. I told my friend that I compare Mattingly to current Irish linebacker Ben Councell because he plays so well in space. It's just hard to find linebackers that understand the concept of pass coverage. Mattingly proved to be the exeption to the rule, as he excels in space and actually catches passes instead of possessing stone hands like so many other linebackers. Point blank, I feel Mattingly will commit to Notre Dame this June, his childhood favorite. I feel really good about Notre Dame's chances.
Tashawn Bower, LB/DE, (NJ) -- From this list, I place Bower at the bottom in terms of probability of committing to Notre Dame. Unlike many June unofficial visitors, Bower will be making his first visit to Notre Dame. He's also planning to visit numerous other schools down South like Auburn, Alabama, and Miami. He's also trying to fit in visits to schools back East and even Michigan and Michigan State. Notre Dame will certainly roll out the red carpet for the talented Garden State prospect, but a commitment appears to be unlikely with many more unofficial visits and camps to complete. I would not be surprised if Bower's recruitment dragged into January, but I believed the same thing about Chris Brown's recruitment last year, and he committed to Notre Dame during September. Brown enjoyed a fantastic visit to Notre Dame; perhaps Bower will be blown away by Notre Dame as well. As I told my friend, however, it's really hard to say where Bower will go to school based on the information available to date. One fact for sure: the Notre Dame coaching staff covets height and length with its defensive players, and Bower's frame fits the profile well. The Notre Dame coaching staff will go after Bower until the bitter end.
Cole Luke, CB, (AZ) -- Notre Dame needs to land at least one more cornerback, and Luke would be an excellent addition to the Irish roster. I feel very good about Notre Dame's chances long term, but as I told my friend, I really do not know which school(s) will be the prime competition for the Irish. Texas recently offered Luke, so that's news within itself because the Longhorns rarely recruit outside of the Lone Star State. Oklahoma, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona State, and Nebraska would be amongst several of the other programs in the running for his services. Notre Dame's advantage with Luke comes from the unofficial visit. Notre Dame will hold a valuable opportunity. I do not expect a commitment from Luke, but as I told my friend, "You never know." If I had to project Luke's decision time frame, during the season would be the earliest he will likely make a verbal commitment. He's a highly sought after target. No reason to believe he will suddenly commit. Then again, this is recruiting.
There are several other recruits that could still visit Notre Dame this summer. Learning when those visits will take place, if at all, proves to be the challenge. A few prospects that could visits include:
Alvin Bailey, WR, (FL)
Priest Willis, CB, (AZ)
Nadir Barnwell, CB, (NJ)
Vernon Hargreaves, CB, (FL)
Marcus Ball, LB, (OH)
Devon Allen, WR, (AZ)
Keep in mind that unofficial visits sometimes develop very quickly. A completely new name to the Notre Dame recruiting board could emerge at any time and take an unofficial visit.
L.J. Moore, CB, (CA) -- Much like Bower, Moore's height and length fit the profile of what the Notre Dame coaching staff desires for its defensive players. Moore's build looks solid and he's fluid for such a long athlete. As for his recruitment, I told my buddy, "I'll believe when I see it" as it relates to any of the Fresno targets after the Tee Shepard debacle. Still, Moore appears to be very interested in the Notre Dame Football program. Why else would he already set up an official visit to Notre Dame for the Michigan game? I know it's a little ways down the line, but Moore could be this year's surprise. Setting up the official visit that early is a good sign. Watch out for UCLA and California, the two schools most commonly mentioned with Moore beyond Notre Dame. Moore previously mentioned that plans to take all five of his official visits.
I really feel good about Mattingly, Randolph and Rochell selecting Notre Dame at some point during June or July. As a rule, at least one more of the main targets selects Notre Dame as well. Maybe it's Smith, maybe it's Luke, maybe its Anzalone. Who knows? I am steadfast with Notre Dame receiving four more commitments within the next month into early July. Hopefully I am underselling the total and the list reaches six or more.
As we enter the summer months, we wrap up our look at Notre Dames quarterback derby by looking at the newest addition to the position: freshman Gunner Kiel. T
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