Recruiting Primer: Let the Visits Begin - Part I

Brian Smith

With Notre Dame’s official and unofficial visits on the near horizon, here’s a look at where things stand with several key prospects.

Let’s dive right in. The Irish coaching staff will be hosting several unofficial visitors during the month of March. Look for a few of these young men to at least come close to making a college decision during March.

The following are the players that I personally feel Notre Dame has a great chance to gain commitments from at some point this spring (excluding OL recruits -- all those in Part II). Tomorrow will be a preview of the rest of the unofficial visitors.


DJ Harvey, CB/ATH, 5-10, 170, Santa Clarita (Calif.) Sierra Canyon

As Irish Breakdown reported on Wednesday, Harvey will be making a very big unofficial visit swing. He is also visiting Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Duke, North Carolina and Virginia Tech during the trip.

Notre Dame looks to be one of the prime candidates to land Harvey. An electric punt and kick returner, Harvey excels as a cornerback. Playing wide receiver would also be an option.

Although no commitment date has been set, with so many visits taking place this spring, Harvey could look to make a decision earlier than many California prospects. I like Notre Dame’s chances with Harvey. Great fit for the school, plays a position of need (cornerback), and he’s a versatile player, which Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly likes.


Brock Bowers, TE/DE, 6-4, 220, Napa (Calif.) High School

Bowers is also visiting Michigan and Penn State that same week. When Bowers and I discussed those visits he was not 100% sure which exact date it would be. With that, Notre Dame is firmly in the mix.

Much like Harvey, Bowers is a versatile player. Bowers possesses great feet for a long athlete, and he can make defenders miss. That’s rare for a tight end. Those stop-and-start skills could translate to linebacker (3-4 scheme) or defensive end (4-3 scheme).

Bowers 4.33 GPA makes him a natural fit for Notre Dame. No school does better with tight ends than the Irish. I like Notre Dame’s chances quite a bit, but I’m not sold on Bowers making a quick decision. He has a plethora of programs after him.

March 20-24 — Most prospects will come in on Friday, the 20th, some could come as late as Monday. Much depends on each high school’s spring break schedule and each prospect’s spring sport schedule.


I mention the committed prospects as it’s important they meet and bond with the uncommitted recruits. This is an impressive list of visitors within itself.

Cane Berrong, TE, 6-4, 225, Hartwell (Ga.) Hart County
Tyler Buchner, QB, 6-2, 200, La Jolla (Calif.) The Bishop’s School
Blake Fisher, OL, 6-6, 340, Avon (Ind.) High School
Gabriel Rubio, DT, 6-5, 290, St. Charles (Mo.) Lutheran
Lorenzo Styles, WR, 6-1, 175, Pickerington (Ohio) Central

PROSPECTS (Listed alphabetically)

David Abiara, DE, 6-4, 245, Mansfield (Texas) Legacy

As Irish Breakdown reported Wednesday, Abiara will be making it in for the big recruiting weekend. This is big news because it will be the Lone Star State defensive lineman’s second unofficial to Notre Dame in two months.

One of the most versatile defensive ends in the country, capable of playing weak side or strong side defensive end, Abiara possesses the length and power that college coaches covet. It’s why so many programs extended scholarship offers.

While Abiara continues to evaluate his options, the two teams most commonly associated with him would be the Irish and Sooners. With Oklahoma continually hitting the greater Dallas area hard, Notre Dame will certainly be in a battle.

Texas A&M, LSU, Baylor, Northwestern, Alabama and many other programs are going to continue to go after Abiara as well. It will be interesting to see if he pulls the trigger during or soon after his visit.

When signing day comes around, Abiara is a prospect that I will be surprised if he does not end up at Notre Dame.

Aaron Armitage, DE, 6-4, 265, Ajax (Ont.) / Blairstown (N.J.) Blair Academy

Armitage camped at Notre Dame last summer, and the Irish continue to be involved with his recruitment. Michigan, Penn State, Rutgers, Ohio State, and many other programs involved.

Armitage told me that Stanford, California and UCLA would be the schools he would visit March 5-9, and Florida on March 18. Armitage is a serious student, so he will have a plethora of opportunities.

Even with Penn State, Michigan and Notre Dame being the most likely landing spots, his upcoming trip out West looms large. Will any of the Pac 12 schools leap into the race? Then there’s Florida. The Gators would be the wildcard.

Jason Onye, DE, 6-5, 250, Warwick (R.I.) Bishop Hendricken

Onye confirmed with me that he will indeed be visiting March 23rd and 24th. Onye is the player that should probably be considered the most likely to pull the trigger for the Irish during the next month. He’s intrigued by the Irish, fits Notre Dame, and the Irish coaching staff made Onye a priority.

This is a young man that could play strong side defensive end or possibly slide inside and be a defensive tackle. He’s very long and athletic. Hard to find athletes like Onye that can play either position.

Of the schools the Irish will compete against, Penn State might be the biggest competitor. He visited Penn State when they hosted Michigan. The Wolverines are also a program on his list. Duke, Virginia and Vanderbilt also offered, which helps to display Onye’s academic prowess.

Later today I will discuss the rest of the unofficial visitors, as well as a beginning look at the April official visit schedule.

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