Notre Dame football: Who will be next to commit to the Irish?

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 29: Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick and Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish speak following the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Notre Dame Stadium on September 29, 2018 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 29: Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick and Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish speak following the game against the Stanford Cardinal at Notre Dame Stadium on September 29, 2018 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

Recruiting has been wildly unpredictable since COVID-19 struck a few months back. Could Notre Dame land another commitment during this time? If so, who?

While these times are as uncertain as it gets, the Notre Dame staff has done an admirable job on the recruiting trail thus far. The staff cannot go out and visit players at their high schools or have possible recruits on campus as they normally would be able to, but they have been able to talk to players through Zoom calls, which has worked out nicely.

Lance Taylor, Tommy Rees, Mike Elston, and others have been working hard to make the 2021 recruiting class the best it can be, but it’s not easy without the traditional means of recruiting.

Notre Dame has adapted very well, though, using Zoom calls to answer any and all questions a recruit may have about Notre Dame and making them feel as if they are taking an actual visit at the University, from the comfort of their home.

The staff has actually been able to land five players since the beginning of February when COVID-19 truly began to have an impact on the daily life of everyone.

  • 3-star S Justin Walters (6-2/175), February 2
  • 4-star DE David Abiara (6-4/248), March 27
  • 3-star OL Pat Coogan (6-5/290), April 15
  • 4-star CB Philip Riley (6-0/190), May 5
  • 3-star DE Jason Onye (6-5/245), May 7

The fact that the staff was able to lock down these players, especially top-notch recruits like Abiara and Riley, without them being able to take a final visit to campus is huge.

Recruits participating in Zoom calls with the staff seem to enjoy being able to talk to their positional coaches, as well as being able to talk to Notre Dame professors and academic advisors.

However, the grind on the recruiting trail never stops, especially at a place like Notre Dame.

So, who is next to commit their future Brian Kelly and Co.?

WR Jayden Thomas, Georgia

One of the better receivers in the nation is most likely to commit to Notre Dame next, it’s Jayden Thomas.

The 4-star receiver out of Atlanta has always been high on the Irish, but he is especially now that the Irish staff has turned up the heat on his recruitment. Receivers coach Del Alexander has made Thomas a priority in the 2021 class, and Thomas is feeling the love.

Notre Dame has built a pipeline in the Atlanta area, most recently with Kyle Hamilton and KJ Wallace, who Thomas knows from high school football. The Peach State standout also is great friends with the brother of current Notre Dame running back, Mick Assaf.

It seems the staff is pushing for Thomas, and given the relationships, he already has at Notre Dame, on top of new ones he is building with players like Blake Fisher and Gabriel Rubio, there is a solid chance Thomas commits his future to Notre Dame.

Thomas will narrow his recruitment down to five finalists before the start of his senior season. His top 11 is as follows: Notre Dame, Ohio State, Georgia, Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, Tennessee, Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Florida.

OL Rocco Spindler, Michigan

The next likeliest player to commit to Notre Dame is the highly-touted 4-star lineman, Rocco Spindler.

Outside of Will Shipley, no one has been talked about more as a potential Notre Dame player than Spindler. The towering lineman, standing at 6-5 295 lbs, Spindler has the makings to be the next great offensive linemen coming out of South Bend.

According to 247sports, Spindler is ranked as the No.2 offensive guard and the No.44 player in the country. When it is all said and done, it seems likely that Spindler could end up being a five-star player in the 2021 class.

As it stands, the Spindler has a top 10 consisting of Michigan, Ohio State, LSU, Tennesee, Notre Dame, Penn State, Oklahoma, Alabama, Arizona State, and Florida.

Spindler announced he will be narrowing that list down to five on May 22.

CB Ryan Barnes, Maryland

3-star cornerback Ryan Barnes comes in at No.3 on the list.

Barnes, a talented, lanky, corner out of Maryland caught the Notre Dame staff’s collective eye a few weeks back, and they have kept the pressure on since. He is a priority in this class as the Irish try to beef up its secondary.

Since the Notre Dame offer came in, rumors of Barnes to the Irish have heated up, but there is no inclination of a top group or commitment date just yet. The young corner has mentioned multiple times that academics are a major priority to him and his family in the recruitment process, which normally bodes well for Notre Dame.

Barnes holds offers from Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, USC, and Virginia Tech.

LB Prince Kollie, Tennesee

A player that just received the Notre Dame offer Sunday, linebacker Prince Kollie makes the list.

Notre Dame may be late to the party with the recruitment of the talented linebacker, but they are definitely not out of the running. Kollie is an under-the-radar talent in the 2021 class that could prove to be one of the better linebackers in it.

The Tennesee product has received some big-time offers recently, including Auburn, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Next. Notre Dame Football: The Irish MUST land Rocco Spindler. dark

A lot about Kollie’s game, and his recruitment, reminds me of current Notre Dame LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. If Kollie comes to Notre Dame and becomes half the player ‘JOK’ is, Irish fans should be elated.