Blue and Gold Illustrated

August 2017

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

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Page 38 of 63 AUGUST 2017 39 FOOTBALL RECRUITING and a decision is expected before his senior season. Notre Dame's top rover target is Jer- sey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep product Shayne Simon, and he did not disap- point at The Opening. He worked at safety during the week and displayed quality coverage skills to go along with his speed and ability to diagnose plays quickly. Notre Dame appears to be the team to beat for Simon — the No. 9 outside linebacker and No. 138 overall player in the land according to Rivals — but Michigan is still in the mix. He will likely decide this summer. NOTES ON OTHER TARGETS Granite Bay (Calif.) High offensive tackle Will Craig played with solid strength and good push during one- on-one drills July 2. Craig, who is ranked by Rivals as the nation's No. 14 offensive tackle and No. 178 overall player, could greatly benefit from a redshirt season in college where his development on and off the field could really take off. Craig plans to take an official visit to Notre Dame, and was close to a deci- sion before the Irish offer forced him to step back and reconsider. Oregon, UCLA and Washington are among the other schools pursuing him. Despite suffering an ACL injury last fall, Indianapolis Lawrence Cen- tral linebacker Cameron McGrone showed no lingering signs of it and moved very well, displaying his quick- ness and speed. That athleticism is one reason why Notre Dame and Michigan are coveting the talented linebacker. Rivals rates McGrone as a four-star talent, the No. 4 prospect in Indiana and the No. 16 outside linebacker in the country. Notre Dame likely trails the Wolverines at this point, but he will visit both programs in July. Salyer — the No. 3 prospect in Geor- gia, and the No. 1 offensive guard and No. 11 player nationally according to Rivals — was arguably the top of- fensive lineman at the event. He's a mauler with elite strength, but showed good quickness as well. Salyer uses his hands very well and once he gets his mitts on a defender, it's tough sledding from there. Notre Dame jumped back into the race for Salyer following a June visit and will receive an official for the Geor- gia game Sept. 9. A strong season will keep the Irish in the mix with Georgia, Clemson, Ohio State, Alabama and Stanford. Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei five-star wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown was a highlight machine during drills and one-on-ones all week before missing much of seven-on-seven play dealing with a finger injury. He displayed his route-running prowess and quickness each day, and was difficult to keep con- tained very long. Notre Dame is likely to get an official from Rivals' No. 1 wide receiver and No. 4 overall player in the land, but is on the outside looking in behind pro- grams such as Ohio State, Michigan, Stanford and USC. ✦ Irish Invasion Top Performers Notre Dame hosted its annual Irish Invasion recruiting event June 10, and a number of Fighting Irish commits were on hand. Defensive line pledges Jayson and Justin Ademilola of Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep performed well, and so did Erie (Pa.) Cathedral Prep four-star linebacker Matthew Bauer and Indianapolis Cathe- dral four-star running back Markese Stepp. The Notre Dame staff had a number of top 2018 defensive prospects on campus, and their perfor- mance largely stole the show. Here's a rundown of the top performers at the camp: JAYSON OWEH • Defensive End • Blairstown (N.J.) Blair Academy Rivals Rankings: Four-star talent, and the No. 12 strongside defensive end and No. 217 player na- tionally. Oweh was arguably the most impressive player in attendance. He is physically imposing, checking in this summer at 6-5 and 236 pounds, and his long arms give him an elite frame. What he did with that size was truly impressive. Oweh ran a 4.57 in the 40-yard dash and showed an elite burst off the line during drills and one-on-ones. He has played prep football for only one season, so he has a lot to learn from a technique standpoint, but his physical tools are special. SHAYNE SIMON • Rover • Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep Rivals Rankings: Four-star talent, and the No. 9 outside line- backer and No. 138 player in the country. Simon isn't overly explosive, but he is a smooth and fluid athlete. Everything he does on the football field looks easy. He changes direction with ease, which helped him work through drills quickly. Simon was good in coverage during one-on-ones, displaying not only top-notch athletic tools for his size (6-3, 210) but also high-level instincts as a pass defender. D.J. JOHNSON • Cornerback • Indianapolis North Central Rivals Rankings: Three-star talent, the No. 5 player in Indiana and No. 37 cornerback in the nation. Johnson was impressive until an ankle injury ended his camp prematurely. He was banged up early, and considering the fact he already has a Notre Dame offer it would have made sense for him to sit out. He instead chose to still participate in the event, which says a lot about his competitiveness. He went down for good late in camp, but prior to doing so he showed the coverage skills that make him a top secondary target for the Irish staff. Johnson was physical at the line of scrimmage and did a good job with his transitions on vertical routes. CAMERON MCGRONE • Linebacker • Indianapolis Lawrence Central Rivals Rankings: Four-star talent, the No. 4 player in Indiana and No. 16 outside linebacker nationally. McGrone did his best work during the testing portion of the event, running a 4.62 in the 40-yard dash. Considering he is just more than eight months removed from knee surgery, that is a highly impressive number for a linebacker. He showed good agility and change-of-direction skills during drills. PAUL MOALA • Safety • Mishawaka (Ind.) Penn Rivals Rankings: Two-star talent. A number of 2018 defensive backs were on campus in hopes of earning tenders, but Moala was the only one who has been awarded an offer at this point. He spent a lot of time with defensive coordinator Mike Elko, showing off quick feet, good agility and easy change-of-direction ability. The Notre Dame staff was obviously impressed, extending Moala a scholarship offer shortly after the event. — Bryan Driskell Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep product Shayne Simon is the top rover target for the Irish. PHOTO BY COREY BODDEN

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