Notre Dame had its first official visit weekend of the 2022 recruiting cycle, and the Fighting Irish staff hosted an elite group of recruits. From talking to a number of sources and recruits it sounds like the weekend was a huge success for the Notre Dame staff.
Here is a rundown of the intel that we've gathered up to this point, and also data about a visit that starts today that is very, very important.
NOTRE DAME MAKES MOVES WITH DALLAN HAYDEN
Notre Dame knows its place with Memphis (Tenn.) Christian Brothers Dallan Hayden and it came into this weekend knowing exactly what it needed to do in order to put its best foot forward with the talented running back.
Notre Dame did an excellent job getting Hayden to see just how well he fits into the Irish offense, and more importantly they made it clear how they stand out from other programs. Notre Dame showed Hayden the entire package of what they have to offer and both he and his parents came away extremely impressed.
The question now is can Notre Dame overcome Ohio State, which is where Hayden heads to next weekend. Notre Dame gave Hayden plenty to think about, and the next step is following up and making sure the feeling from this weekend doesn't fade while he's in Columbus,.
STRONG WEEKEND WITH SECONDARY GROUP
Notre Dame hosted three secondary players this weekend when it received visits from Naples (Fla.) High School standout Devin Moore, Phoenix (Ariz.) Brophy Prep athlete Benjamin Morrison and Buford (Ga.) High School safety Jake Pope.
All three players are highly coveted players by the Notre Dame staff. In fact, at this point any "dream class" for Notre Dame is going to contain all three of these prospects.
Notre Dame did not receive any commitments from the three defensive backs, but that was not expected. All three have upcoming visits scheduled and the Notre Dame staff did not try to persuade them to not take those visits, which is a wise decision by the staff.
Moore has a visit to Cincinnati coming up this weekend and Morrison is headed to Washington. According to sources, Notre Dame wants both cornerbacks to take their next visits and have something to compare Notre Dame to, which helps them feel certain when they do make final decisions.
IB's sources believe Notre Dame crushed it with both cornerbacks this weekend, and right now the Irish are in pole position with both prospects. At this point Notre Dame is going to be very tough for both players, but until they make a decision the staff is in a bit of a precarious position. Anytime players take visits to other schools there's the risk that they get blown away, but right now Notre Dame likes where they stand with both players.
Morrison is likely going to be in decision making mode soon after his visit to Washington, but if things drag out much longer than that it will get interesting. Moore's timetable is a bit less certain, but Notre Dame is going to be very, very tough to beat here.
Pope is a bit harder to read. The feeling coming out of the visit is that Notre Dame did a tremendous job selling him on how he fits into the university and the defense. My sources feel very good about where things stand with Pope, but this is what was reported about him coming out of the North Carolina visit.
Pope heads to Ohio State next weekend and Alabama the week after. Notre Dame has done all it could to show Pope how the Irish program is his best fit, but closing the deal will be a tougher deal than the other secondary players on campus this weekend.
IRISH IMPRESS ELITE DEFENSIVE TACKLE
Arguably the best, and most important defensive recruit on campus this weekend was Scottsdale (Ariz.) Chaparral defensive lineman Anthony Lucas. I'm still digging to get more on how his visit went, but what I have received thus far is that Notre Dame really impressed both Lucas and his family. Notre Dame has done a great job selling Lucas on the whole package, showing how the Irish program benefits on the field, in the classroom and when it comes to building for a future beyond the gridiron.
Lucas and his family connected well with the Irish staff and others around the Notre Dame program.
This one is far from over but after this weekend the Irish have put themselves in a strong position with the talented lineman.
NOTRE DAME REMAINS STRONG WITH TUIHALAMAKA
Notre Dame has been the leader for Mission Hills (Calif.) Bishop Alemany linebacker Niuafe Tuihalamaka for some time. I'm still working to speak directly to Tuihalamaka, but talking to sources things could not have gone better.
Tuihalamaka connected with Notre Dame linebacker commit Josh Burnham - who made an unofficial visit to South Bend this weekend - and he's got a strong bond with the Notre Dame staff. Texas has done a great job recruiting Tuihalamaka, but Notre Dame is in way too strong of a position at this point.
NOW ITS TIME TO HIT A HOME RUN WITH JAYLEN SNEED
Notre Dame has been the leader for Hilton Head (S.C.) High School linebacker Jaylen Sneed for some time, but a recent trip to Oregon has made this one much, much, much closer than it was before.
According to a pair of sources the Ducks did a great job with Sneed during his visit. The staff rolled out the red carpet for Sneed, and that made a big impact. Oregon also did a great job selling Sneed on his fit in their defense, and they gave him a lot to think about.
Two weeks ago I viewed Sneed's visit, which starts today, as the final event that needed to happen before he committed to Notre Dame based on what I was hearing about his recruitment. Now, Notre Dame is in position where it needs to hit a home run with his visit in order to maintain its lead in his recruitment.
Defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman will get his shot to show Sneed his fit in the defense and for Notre Dame to show how it being different from Oregon will benefit the talented linebacker.
Defensive end commits Tyson Ford and Darren Agu will be on campus for visits during the time Sneed is on campus, and you could see at least one more Notre Dame commit arriving during Sneed's official visit. Those connections could also have a major impact on how this visit goes with Sneed.
We are still trying to get in touch with and get more intel on Tobias Merriweather and Jake Taylor.
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