Notre Dame wrapped up a crucial June visit period this weekend. There were only three uncommitted 2022 prospects on campus when the weekend began, and the weekend ended with just two uncommitted prospects on campus as in-state offensive lineman Ashton Craig committed during his trip.
The two remaining prospects were a pair of Top 100 recruits - wide receiver CJ Williams and offensive tackle Zach Rice. Notre Dame also hosted six committed players during the weekend.
In the podcast below I give the latest intel I'm hearing about those two visits and also answer questions from Irish Breakdown listeners and subscribers.
Here's the latest intel I've received from sources, which was also discussed in the podcast.
CJ WILLIAMS, WIDE RECEIVER
All my sources say the same thing, Notre Dame absolutely knocked it out of the park with Williams during the visit. Led by offensive coordinator Tommy Rees and position coach Del Alexander, Notre Dame has been making a hard push for Williams for over a month, and the hard work paid off. When he arrived in South Bend the Irish were certainly at or near the top of his list, and coming out of the visit it appears Notre Dame is sitting in pole position over Texas, USC and Alabama.
Williams is a bit unique compared to a lot of other top wideouts. He's the No. 29 player in the country according to Rivals and No. 46 according to 247Sports, but much like fellow West Coast standout Tobias Merriweather he understands there's a lot more to his decision than how many targets he's going to get the minute he steps foot on campus. Williams puts a lot of value in the other things that come with a place like Notre Dame, and the Irish coaches did a great job of hammering that home this weekend.
Of course, football is and should still be a very important part of his decision, and Notre Dame also did quite well there. Notre Dame has done well in recent seasons with wideouts that have games similar to Williams, and he knows he's a strong fit at Notre Dame on and off the field. That was pointed out in great detail this weekend and he knows how well his game fits into the offense.
Williams has talked for much of the summer about taking his recruitment into the fall, but my sources are far more confident about the possibility of him making a decision this summer, which would bode very well for Notre Dame.
As I've said with all the other top prospects that have visited, Notre Dame's presentation on the visit was excellent, now it's about closing. If Rees, Alexander and head coach Brian Kelly can do that it would give the Irish one of the nation's best wideouts from the nation's best high school program, and a school that ND has struggled to recruit for years.
ZACH RICE, OFFENSIVE TACKLE
Notre Dame entered this weekend with Rice trailing North Carolina, Ohio State, Alabama and Virginia. Notre Dame came out of this weekend not at the top, but the Irish certainly climbed up his list. When talking to sources about past OL visitors there wasn't a great deal of confidence coming out of the visits, but that was the opposite with Rice's visit.
Putting him with star freshman left tackle Blake Fisher was a great move for Notre Dame. Rice is well aware of the fact Notre Dame has effectively paired top linemen together, with the older player lining up at left tackle and then the younger player - who starts early at right tackle - moves over there when the older player leaves for the NFL.
Rice attends Lynchburg Christian Academy, which is a quality academic private school in Virginia. That is one area where Notre Dame stands out from UNC, Ohio State and Alabama, and that is something that certainly attracts Rice's family.
There is still A LOT of work to do with Rice, but coming out of the visit Notre Dame has at least put itself in the ball game. The key to possibly pulling off what would be a monumental upset and landing him is going to be about what comes next. Notre Dame's coaching staff must make sure that it doesn't let this positive momentum die down over the next couple of weeks.
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