Notre Dame hopes 'Irish Invasion' persuades recruits
When you’re trying to impress a bunch of high school kids in the world of college football recruiting, no detail seems too extravagant, no opportunity to interact with the athletes is too frivolous. Notre Dame put as much glitz and glam as it could into its Friday night football camp, titled the Irish Invasion. And what exactly was invading campus – besides swarms of bugs? About 60 prospects in the classes of 2015 and 2016.
Notre Dame employed a DJ to add some flavor to the camp, which last about two hours and featured Notre Dame coaches putting the recruits through a fast-paced practice-like evening. If you wanted to know which prospects Notre Dame had its eye on at the camp, all you needed to do was look at how they arrived. While most of the prospects arrived on buses, two – running back Jacques Patrick and linebacker Justin Hilliard – were shuttled in personally by coach Brian Kelly on his golfcart.
Hilliard, from Cincinnati, Ohio, is a five-star prospect, according to 247sports.com’s composite rankings while Patrick is a four-star prospect from Orlando, Fla. Patrick got plenty of face time with the coaching staff and the players, including current Notre Dame running backs Tarean Folston and Greg Bryant. Hilliard and Patrick did not participate in the camp but watched from the sidelines.
The camp also featured several of Notre Dame’s commitments in the Class of 2015 while the coaching staff got a good look at some prospects in 2016, like quarterback Malik Henry and cornerback Roderick Campbell, a St. Louis native who is picking up interest from several Midwest schools.
The Irish have been on a tear of late in recruiting, not letting the decommitment of quarterback Blake Barnett get them down in picking up five oral commitments over an eight-day span the last two weeks. Friday’s night’s camp, the Irish hope, will keep that momentum going.