It’s no secret that the depth chart at cornerback is inviting for recruits. With little starting experience to speak of on the roster and numbers ripe for addition, the Irish are still chasing a number of elite cornerback in their ’13 recruiting class, even with Rashard Kinlaw and Devin Butler already on board.
There’s probably no bigger name on the Irish’s wish list than Tampa cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III. A consensus top ten player in the country according to multiple recruiting websites, Hargreaves made a stop by South Bend today to check out Notre Dame, and early reports are coming back that the Irish helped themselves.
Josh Newberg of 247Sports.com was one of the only reporters that got a quote from the 5-foot-11, 185-pound cornerback, who had this to say about his quick stop under the dome.
“It was good. I liked it,” Hargreaves told Newberg. “Notre Dame is just a different school. They have different things to offer compared to some of the other schools I’ve visited.
“Their graduation rate of African-Americans is 100 percent… I met with Coach Kelly and Coach Cooks. Coach Kelly is funny. He told me about Notre Dame, the players on the team and how they need corners. He was pretty laid back about it. He didn’t recruit me too hard.”
Via Twitter, Hargreaves revealed a bit more, communicating with a fan that he planned on taking an official visit to Notre Dame this fall, while also joking that his father — USF special teams coach Vernon Hargreaves Jr. – loved the visit and was bragging about it to his friends, certainly a good sign for the Irish’s chances.
Hargreaves turned more than a few Irish fans’ stomachs last week when he announced USC was his leader after an impressive visit to Los Angeles. Nothing he said since his quick stop in South Bend seems to have changed his mind (it’s only been a few hours, and the trip across the Midwest will include visits to Ohio State and Michigan as well), though this process will likely play out well into the fall. The longer it goes likely the better for the Irish, especially with USC’s recruiting class maxing out around 17 or 18 thanks to NCAA violations.
If Irish fans are looking for an optimistic view, consider the Irish’s success landing recruits with bloodlines similar to Hargreaves. While no two recruits are the same, Notre Dame has certainly done well landing the sons of former athletes or coaches, men who have seen major college sports through a different prism. Austin Collinsworth, George and Josh Atkinson, Davaris Daniels and Corey Robinson each have fathers that had tremendous athletic success and felt comfortable with Brian Kelly and his Irish program being the right choice for their son, quite a compliment if you think about it.
With Hargreaves’s recruitment, perhaps the news that his father, who has spent 20 years coaching in college football at places like UConn, Miami, and now USF is exited about the visit is the best news to come out of the pitstop at Notre Dame.
The Irish are hard after some of Florida’s top talent, with Hargreaves, Mackensie Alexander, and Jordan Sherit — three of the top 20 players in Florida — all giving the Irish a serious look.