Notre Dame begins the 2014 season with 17 commitments in the 2015 class. The Fighting Irish collected 15 verbals at this point last year. So, Brian Kelly and his coaching staff are ahead or on-schedule.
The Irish currently sits 1 scholarship short of 85. However, there is not much clarity to Notre Dame’s scholarship situation. The Irish could permanently lose 4 scholarship players due to the on-going academic investigation at Notre Dame. That moves the available scholarships to 5. Everett Golson, Amir Carlisle, Conor Hanratty, Matt Hegarty, Nick Martin, Ben Councell, Jarrett Grace, Joe Schmidt, Matthias Farley and Eilar Hardy are each available for fifth-years. Undoubtedly, many of these candidates will be welcomed back with open arms. But, what about Farley and Hardy? Will Grace and Councell return healthy enough to make a contribution?
Notre Dame faded quickly with their top prospect, Byron Cowart, who will likely decide between SEC schools. So, there is a new recruit at #5 and other recruits who were previously on the board moved up (new information for recruits #4, 3, 2, 1 is bolded and italicized). Here are the top 5 players remaining on the board:
5. Ykili Ross — Cornerback — Riverside, California
247: 82nd Rivals: NR ESPN: 294th Scout: 169th
Ross recently tweeted about his desire to return to Notre Dame. The 6-2 185 lbs. Cornerback from Riverside, California originally visited Notre Dame on June 25th. He has a return trip scheduled for October 4th.
Ross plays for Polytechnic High School. There is some argument to what position Ross will play in college. He has been extremely successful playing both ways in high school.
In his Sophomore and Junior seasons, Ross collected 38 tackles, 4 interceptions, 9 passes broken up and 1 force fumble. He caught 45 passes for 935 yards and 12 touchdowns as well.
With Notre Dame’s success at Wide Receiver recruiting this cycle, Notre Dame would likely pursue Ross as a Cornerback instead of a Wide Receiver. But, it is an added bonus to potentially land a player with such position flexibility.
USC is likely the current favorite but Notre Dame is a close 2nd.