With the 2019 class nearly complete, the 2020 Notre Dame football recruiting class is already in full swing.
Maybe it’s the new visit rules or maybe Notre Dame football was just a tad fortunate, but the 2019 recruiting class is almost full. The Irish have 17 commits and likely only 3-4 spots left. For many positions, the staff has turned its attention to 2020 — and fans have already seen a positive payoff.
Elite Quarterback? Check.
Restock of Tight End U? Double Check.
The Irish have already secured commitments from three of the top athletes in the country. Let’s take a closer look on what to expect moving forward.
Quick Note: Things change quickly in recruiting. With the 2020 class so far away from signing day, it is important to take everything said in this article with a grain of salt.
Probable 2020 Positional Strengths
Quarterback: Notre Dame has already found its 2020 QB in Drew Pyne (Connecticut). Pyne is one of the very best in the 2020 class. The Irish are lucky to have him in the fold so early.
Tight End: After skipping on the position in 2019, Notre Dame holds early commitments from two of the nation’s best tight ends in 2020. Kevin Bauman (New Jersey) and Michael Mayer (Kentucky) rival the 2016 class of Cole Kmet and Brock Wright, and will likely end up the top TE class in the country.
Offensive Line: Surprise, surprise. Notre Dame is in good position with many top 2020 offensive line prospects, and should (again) end up with one of the best classes in the country led by the cousin of Drew Pyne, Kevin Pyne (Massachusetts). Pyne, a five-star on 247sports.com, remains uncommitted, but is understandably high on the Irish.
Other Notre Dame targets include: Bryn Tucker (Tennessee), Turner Corcoran (Kansas), Trey Wedig (Wisconsin), Andrew Raym (Oklahoma) and Walker Parks (Kentucky). The terrific offensive line tradition should live on through the 2020 class.
Wide Receiver: Notre Dame will likely finish the 2019 class with 1-2 wide receivers after taking five in 2017. Therefore, the 2020 class will be an important retool at the position. Although, without a commitment at the position so far, Notre Dame has made early inroads with many of the nation’s top recruits.
The staff’s top target is A.J. Henning (Illinois), and he has returned the favor by visiting multiple times in the last several months. This is a tight battle between Ohio State, but one that Notre Dame should win in the end. Jordan Johnson (Missouri) and Gee Scott Jr. (Washington) are two more high profile recruits Notre Dame remains in solid position with. Ohio State poses a threat with Johnson as well while Scott will be a tough pull from Pac-12 country.
Perhaps the most likely target for the Irish is Daniel Jackson (Kansas). A terrific prospect in his own right, Jackson has the luxury of a current Irish connect as his cousin is Jafar Armstrong. This could end an elite skill position class for Notre Dame with a few breaks in their favor.
Too Early to Judge
As mentioned, the 2020 signing day is way down the road. Therefore, many position groups are still in limbo.
Notre Dame has offered 6 running backs, but none scream Irish leans. The player to keep an eye on is Reggie Love (Missouri), but expect more offers to be extended. One player I’d like to see offered is Sam Adams II (Washington) out of the same high school as Gee Scott Jr. If the Irish offer, they should make his top group.
Defensive end is trending up for Notre Dame, and a few 2020 recruits could help even more. Without a true impact strong-side defensive end in the 2019 class, Notre Dame has made Rylie Mills (Illinois) a top priority. With many top offers, it won’t be easy, but the Irish are in a good early position. Braiden McGregor (Michigan) is another high upside name to watch, but the in-state schools are firmly in the mix as well. As we dive further into 2020 recruiting, more names will become prominent, but these appear to be the top two for now.
Notre Dame will look to keep the ball rolling along the interior defensive line. The last three years have been great for recruiting in that department, and 2020 should make Mike Elston very happy again. The top name on the board is Aidan Keenaaina (Colorado). He recently visited campus, and left with glowing review. Expect the Irish to be involved right until the end with the Denver product.
Linebacker has gotten off to a slower start than in previous years, but there are still a few guys that stick out. Recently offered top 100-recruit, Kalel Mullings (Massachusetts) is a top target at linebacker from a region that Notre Dame recruits well. He missed his sophomore season due to injury, which is explains why it took the staff a tad longer to offer. Mekhail Sherman (Washington, D.C.) is one of the best players in the country from a school that Notre Dame has had success recruiting, but he seems focused on others. Regardless, he’s someone to monitor. Lastly is Cody Simon (New Jersey), brother of Shayne. He is currently listed at safety, but like his brother, looks like a future ROVER.
The two names to know are Darius Snow (Texas) and Rashad Torrence (Georgia). Snow has some Irish connections, as he is the cousin of current WR Braden Lenzy, but his dad is Eric Snow — a former Michigan State basketball player and longtime NBA role player. These will likely remain his top two schools. Torrence hails from a region that has been kind to the Irish secondary recently, and the Notre Dame staff would like to continue that relationship. Working in their favor is Torrence’s friendship with 2019 commit K.J. Wallace.
There’s not much on the corner front for Notre Dame in 2020. They have extend three offers, but none of the players really feel realistic at this point in time. However, one of Notre Dame’s wide receiver targets, DJ Graham (Texas), is listed as an athlete and plays both WR and CB. He could be a name to monitor. Also, Braden Lenzy’s brother, Max Lenzy (Oregon) would certainly be in the mix with an offer.
2020 is still a long ways off, and many more names will be added to the Irish target list in the coming months. With the 2019 class almost complete, the 2020 class could be heavily talked about this fall.