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January 25, 2013

Weekend visits: Irish eye several prospects

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With the No. 2 recruiting class in the country, Notre Dame is looking to fill its last few spots in the Class of 2013.

Playing host to four players this weekend -- with two spots to take -- the Irish will look to make a push on closing the door on this class.

The Irish will be hosting five-star defensive end Eddie Vanderdoes from Placer (Calif.) High, four-star defensive end Kylie Fitts of Redlands (Calif.) East Valley, UCLA commit Deon Hollins Jr. from Missouri City (Texas) Fort Bend Marshall and three-star tight end Durham Smythe of Belton (Texas) High.

Jake Brown covers recruiting for IrishIllustrated.com and said that he thinks one player could be close to committing.

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"Of the four guys coming in, I think Smythe would be the one to pop this weekend," Brown said. "He grew up a Notre Dame fan and I think has moved far enough up their board that if he wants to commit they would take him."

The No. 15 player at his position, Smythe still has a visit to Michigan scheduled for next weekend and was just at Stanford last week.

Of the remaining players, Brown believes that the Irish staff will be making the strongest push for the highest-rated player: Vanderdoes.

"I don't think he will commit this weekend no matter what," Brown said. "The best case is that the staff really impresses him and sends him back home thinking that this is the best place for him.

"Vanderdoes is the one they really want and after that the philosophy is to take the best player on the board. There are probably two spots left, maybe three depending on the players and if they want to fill the class, this is the best weekend to do it."

Here is the inside scoop on those story lines and more from the big weekend across the country.

Official Visit Weekend Preview: Jan. 25, 2013
This is the first of two major recruiting weekends for the Razorbacks as the new staff will be hosting 11 players -- none of which are committed to the program. The team will look to flip Maryland quarterback commit Shane Cockerille, UCLA commit Kenny Lacy, and Nevada pledge Braxton Isaac. Also in attendance will be four-star running back Alex Collins out of Florida.
The recruiting weekend is not finalized for the Tigers as it is not quite confirmed if Mackensie Alexander and his brother Mackenro Alexander will actually make it to campus. The biggest surprise is that Texas A&M receiver commit Derrick Griffin will be on The Plains. Last week the program flipped Aggie commit Tony Stevens and this could be another.
Auburn hosting seven
New coach Sonny Dykes will have plenty of his commitments on campus this weekend with eight players making the trip. The two players on an official that can still be swayed are Raymond Davison and Marcus Manley. There are rumors that Washington State commit Jamal Morrow might be on campus, but that could not be confirmed. The program may land a few surprise visitors that haven't been let out of the box yet.
The Seminoles hope five-star LB Matthew Thomas visits as expected despite his main recruiter, James Coley, taking a job at Miami on Thursday. Four-star FSU commits WR Isaiah Jones, RB Ryan Green and OL Austin Golson will all be on hand and could help work on four-star WR Jordan Cunningham. Cunningham, the No. 21 WR in the nation, is also looking at Stanford, so FSU will need to sell him on its academics as well.
FSU official visitors preview
A small but important weekend is facing the Dawgs. Two uncommitted five-star players -- linebacker Reuben Foster and as defensive tackle Montravius Adams -- will be in Athens, and Georgia has felt good about its relationship with both. Five-star LB Matthew Thomas cancelled his trip, but fast rising four-star RB Alvin Kamara and three-star FSU DE commit Davin Bellamy were late additions.
Adams getting close?
The Illini appear to be shifting focus to the Class of 2014, as they are already playing host to a junior day. There are five visitors on the list who stick out and Illini fans should take note of Nile Sykes, Dorian Hendrix, Darryl Long, Elijah Lee and Tori Millender.
A double-digit total of visitors will be headed to Lexington and the Wildcats staff continues to go after other program's pledges. The team will host Houston commit Donald Gage, Nebraska pledge Marcus McWilson, Ole Miss defensive tackle prospect Jarran Reed, Tulane defensive end Corey Smith and Florida State defensive back Marquez White. Uncommitted four-star Taj Williams will also be on hand.
Four-star safety set to visit
MISSISSIPPI STATE: BulldogBlitz.com | Visit Dates | Commit List
A relatively low-drama weekend will be happening in Starkville, especially when contrasted with Oxford. Mississippi State will host eight players, half of whom are already committed. The team will look to flip four-star running back Jonathan Ford from Vanderbilt, three-star quarterback Joshua Dobbs from Arizona State and make a run at four-stars Jason Smith and Toby Johnson.
In an otherwise uneventful recruiting season for Missouri, the program has been able to convince long-time Ohio State commitment Ezekiel Elliott to come for a visit. The No. 1 player in the state has been on the Ohio State commit list for almost a full year and would be hard to pry away, especially since he believes he'll compete right away at OSU.
A nearly full class doesn't leave much, but Urban Meyer still will be recruiting James Clark and Dontre Wilson. The interesting spin on Wilson is that he is an Oregon pledge who might be looking around and Ohio State was quick to jump on him. The Buckeyes had promised Ezekiel Elliott that he would be the only running back they took this year and this is certainly complicating things at that position.
Clark sets final visit
A potential program-changing weekend is looming for Ole Miss. As many as 18 players will be on campus and only five of them are current Rebels. Two five-stars will be in Oxford as offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil will join Robert Nkemdiche, who many have long believed is a silent Ole Miss commit. The program will also be courting four-stars Quincy Adeboyejo, Stacy Coley, Jason Carr, Antonio Conner, Ira Denson and Kailo Moore.
Big visit weekend
There might be four or five players coming this weekend, but the main two Horned Frogs faithful need to know about are Gaius Vaenuku and Cydney Calvin. Vaenuku is a three-star defensive end from Euless (Texas) Trinity and Calvin is a three-star cornerback from Frisco (Texas) Centennial. This is the last visit scheduled for both and that could lead to commitments.
A'Shawn Robinson will be a lonely five-star this weekend. The standout defensive lineman is the only player who will be welcomed onto campus in Austin. With the Longhorns class basically finalized, the last push for a nasty defender is on. Robinson was the most intimidating player at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, and said he let his play do the talking.
Led by four-star commit Rob Boyd, Tulsa will host eight players this weekend. The lone player who'll be on campus who is not a current pledge is Isaiah Brown, a three-star defensive back from Katy (Texas) High. Three-star lineman Dalton Rodriguez will be joined by fellow three-stars C.J. Gooden and Chris Hall.
The only player visiting Blacksburg who isn't currently on the commit list is Tyrell Chavis. Chavis is considered a soft commitment to Virginia but will make this visit to be sure. The rest of the visitors are all Hokies pledges. Fan favorites Kendall Fuller and Wyatt Teller will be joined by Bucky Hodges, Andrew Motuapuaka, Charles Clark, DJ Reid and Anthony Shegog.
Most of the players on campus this weekend will be discussing walk-on opportunities, but there are two uncommitted visitors: Michael Julian and Leon Jacobs. Jacobs is an unranked linebacker, checking in at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds. Julian is a two-star quarterback who is 6-5 and 190.

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