Notre Dame Makes A Strong Impression On Talented RB James Simon

Notre Dame needed to impress Louisiana running back James Simon, and the staff did just that
Louisiana running back James Simon poses with Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman
Louisiana running back James Simon poses with Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman / James Simon

For the second time, and first since the USC game last season, 2025 Shreveport (La.) Calvary Baptist star running back James Simon was back on campus at Notre Dame. Simon spent the last two days in town as he took a deeper dive into the Irish program. 

Heading into the visit, Notre Dame needed to make a strong impression with Simon if it was going to have any chance in the end. The plan has always been for the talented runner to take official visits and commit before the season, so time is running out. 

It appears that the Irish did make a splash with Simon during the return trip. 

“The visit was great,” Simon told Irish Breakdown. “I loved my talk with Coach (Marcus) Freeman and my time spent with Coach Deland (McCullough). They are both great people.” 

The coaches were pressed with making Simon feel like he can excel in South Bend, which is obviously a completely different world than Shreveport. As a football player and person, they definitely did that. 

“The conversations with the coaches were good with all of them,” Simon explained. “They want me there a lot. The conversations were great and real. I definitely see myself being a big part in the offense and contributing in a major way. It’s an easy sell from a football perspective.” 

The best thing Notre Dame can do down the stretch is to make it a hard decision for Simon. The easy route would be to stay down South and be a star at a school that is a lot more familiar. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Irish staff did their best to see their vision. Whether Simon ends up with Notre Dame, they will be in it until the end and have made the decision much more interesting. 

“They will be one that I have to think very hard about because it’s more to it to choose to go out there,” he explained. “They are absolutely a part of my top schools that will be a part of my final decision.” 

Simon is rated as a four-star recruit by every major recruiting platform. He is rated highest on the On3 ranking, pegging him as the No. 116 overall player and No. 8 running back in the 2025 recruiting class. Each ranking outside of Rivals has Simon ranked as a top six overall player in the state of Louisiana. 

The 6-0, 195-pound running back has been garnering interest from an assortment of premier programs. Some of his notable offers include the Fighting Irish, Georgia, Alabama, USC, Texas, Florida, LSU, Miami, Tennessee, Penn State, TCU, Oregon, Florida State, Auburn, Washington, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State, Mississippi State, Colorado, Missouri, Houston, Cal and Arizona among others.

Simon was tremendous as a junior, a part of a state championship Calvary Baptist squad. In 14 games, the talented rusher exploded for 1,600 yards and 21 touchdowns while averaging 8.3 yards per carry. Simon also hauled in 20 receptions for 214 yards and three more scores through the air.

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Ryan Roberts

RYAN ROBERTS

Ryan Roberts is the Director of Recruiting at Irish Breakdown, where he covers all aspects of the Notre Dame recruiting efforts. A former college football player and high school football coach, Roberts is also the owner of Rise N Draft, which covers the NFL Draft. Ryan was a key contributor to Irish Breakdown before taking over Fighting Irish recruiting and NFL Draft coverage. You can email Ryan at risendraft@gmail.com Become a premium Irish Breakdown member, which grants you access to all of our premium content and our premium message board! Click on the link below for more. BECOME A MEMBER Be sure to stay locked into Irish Breakdown all the time! Follow Ryan on Twitter: @RiseNDraftLike and follow Irish Breakdown on FacebookSubscribe to the Irish Breakdown YouTube channelSubscribe to the Irish Breakdown podcast on iTunes Sign up for the FREE Irish Breakdown daily newsletter