Blue and Gold Illustrated

June-July 2017

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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46 JUNE/JULY 2017 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED PREP PROFILES Notre Dame already has one com- mit from Oregon in the class of 2018 in four-star wide receiver Braden Lenzy, and the Irish are looking to add more of the state's top talent to their class. Special teams coordinator Brian Po- lian offered four-star Portland Central Catholic outside linebacker Eli'Jah Winston March 13 after spending some time evaluating his film. "I started hearing from Notre Dame near the end of football season," Win- ston said. "I talked to the coaches for a couple weeks, and then they got back with me around the time I got offered. We were building a relation- ship and communicating well, and then the offer came." When the tender did come, Winston said he was completely speechless. "It's a great offer," Winston said. "Academically, that's one of the best programs in the nation. I just felt so good after receiving the offer, I was out of words after Coach told me they wanted to offer me a full-ride scholar- ship." Winston, the No. 6 player in the state of Oregon and No. 21 outside linebacker in the class of 2018 ac- cording to Rivals, said he and Polian have built a strong relationship so far, which will play a big part in his Notre Dame recruitment. "I believe he's a great coach," the 6-3, 230-pound Winston said. "He tells me 110 percent the truth. I look forward to meeting him during this recruiting process." The four-star has high interest in Notre Dame early, but said at this point in his recruitment that he is wide open. Winston said he won't be narrow- ing his list down for a while. "All the colleges on my list are pretty equivalent right now," Win- ston said. "Later on in my senior year I'll start to sum everything up with all the colleges." However, Winston did mention a desire to visit South Bend this sum- mer, something he was encouraged to do by Lenzy. "I had a really good conversation with Braden Lenzy," Winston said. "He said it's a beautiful place. I would love to see and compare what really stands out about Notre Dame. Aca- demic wise, that's a 40-year future." — David McKinney Notre Dame did not sign a corner- back in the 2017 class, and is without one in the 2018 class currently follow- ing the decommitment of four-star Kalon Gervin. A new prospect was added to the board recently, and one in Notre Dame's backyard — Indianapolis North Central product D.J. Johnson. The 6-0, 170-pounder impressed defensive line coach Mike Elston during a workout at North Central, which dozens of college coaches at- tended. Johnson's workout included running a 4.5 40-yard dash. Johnson talked with Elston later that evening. One day later, Johnson got a call letting him know he had earned an offer from the Irish. "They weren't allowed to talk to me, but they talked to my coach," Johnson explained. "They were tell- ing him I could possibly be a scholar- ship guy and asked my coach to have me call them. Coach Elston told me the same thing. He said he was wait- ing to hear back from the defensive coordinator and told me I had earned a scholarship. "I definitely was excited, especially coming from Notre Dame. That's big- time for me and my family. That's another opportunity to go to college and take pressure off my mom." The three-star cornerback took two visits to Notre Dame last fall, for the program's games against Nevada and Stanford. He'll return this sum- mer for Irish Invasion, hoping to con- tinue building relationships. "I know there is a lot of history behind the school and football pro- gram," Johnson said. "I've been up for a couple games, and the atmo- sphere is crazy. I don't know too much about the coaching staff. That's what I'm going to go back up and see about. "I'll be there June 10-11 for the Irish Invasion camp. I want to meet my po- sition coach, the head coach and the weight training staff to start building relationships with those guys. I've seen the facilities and everything al- ready, so that's the main thing." Notre Dame has now jumped squarely in the mix for Johnson, who is ranked as the No. 28 cornerback in the country by Rivals. "I think it's definitely going to help my recruitment a lot and help it take off," Johnson said of the Irish offer. "It's a huge offer for me. I'd put them up around the top of my list for sure. "I'd say they are tied with Iowa right now at the top. I wouldn't say any are above them." — Corey Bodden Oregon Outside LB Is Speechless Over Notre Dame Offer Irish Make A Move With In-State Corner Following Their Offer "I JUST FELT SO GOOD AFTER RECEIVING THE OFFER, I WAS OUT OF WORDS AFTER COACH [BRIAN POLIAN] TOLD ME THEY WANTED TO OFFER ME A FULL-RIDE SCHOLARSHIP." WINSTON ON BEING OFFERED BY THE IRISH ELI'JAH WINSTON ✪ ✪ ✪ ✪ Central Catholic H.S. Portland, Ore. Status: Offered Class: 2018 Position: Linebacker Ht.: 6-3 • Ht.: 230 Rivals Rankings: No. 6 player in Oregon and No. 21 outside line- backer nationally D.J JOHNSON ✪ ✪ ✪ North Cental H.S. Indianapolis Status: Offered Class: 2018 Position: Cornerback Ht.: 6-0 • Wt.: 170 Rivals Rankings: No. 4 player in Indiana and No. 28 cornerback in the country

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