The Fighting Irish started off the weekend adding speed and athleticism to their 2016 recruiting class, landing wide receiver/cornerback Jalen Elliott and wide receiver Kevin Stepherson.
Elliott helped L.C. Bird (Va.) High School to a 14-2 record in 2014 earning national recruiting attention along the way. The 6-1, 175-pound, two-way star has picked up offers from Auburn, Georgia, Miami, N.C. State, North Carolina, Wake Forest, East Carolina, Maryland, and in-state powers Virginia and Virginia Tech.
Auburn, Georgia, and Notre Dame each hosted Elliott on unofficial visits before he committed to the Fighting Irish on Friday.
Stepherson is heading to South Bend from Jacksonville, Fla., powerhouse high school First Coast. In 2014 the Buccaneers racked up a 12-1 record before falling in the third round of the playoffs 64-48 to Apopka. With 2015 Florida State quarterback signee De’Andre Johnson slinging the pigskin around the yard the 6-0, 180-pound, receiver hauled in 33 passes for 756 yards with 11 touchdowns.
Some of the same colleges showing interest in Elliott also put offers on the table for Stepherson including Florida, Georgia Tech, LSU, Iowa State, Michigan State, Central Florida, West Virginia, Rutgers, North Carolina and South Florida.
Both Stepherson and Elliott are widely considered 3-star prospects by national recruiting services.
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly signed a top-15 recruiting class on National Signing Day in February. He placed a heavy emphasis on the team’s secondary, signing five to the back four, while also adding four wide receivers to his 2015 class. The focus thus far to the 2016 class has been on offense, where up to six recruits of the eight current commitments could line up at for Notre Dame.
Notre Dame 2016 Verbal Commitment List
OT Liam Eichenberg, 6-6, 290, St. Ignatius HS, Cleveland, Ohio
CB/WR Jalen Elliott, 6-1, 175, Lloyd C. Bird HS, Chesterfield, Virginia
RB Tony Jones Jr., 6-0, 212, IMG Academy, Bradenton, Florida
OT Tommy Kraemer, 6-5, 305, Elder HS, Cincinnati, Ohio
CB Julian Love, 5-11, 175, Nazareth Academy, LaGrange Park, Illinois
DE Julian Okwara, 6-4, 220, Ardrey Kell HS, Charlotte, North Carolina
LS John Shannon, 6-2, 230, Loyola Academy, Wilmette, Illinois
WR Kevin Stepherson, 6-0, 180, First Coast HS, Jacksonville, Florida
— Written by Ryan Wright, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and an established media professional with more than two decades' worth of experience. Over the years, Wright has written for numerous sites and publications and he recently started his own recruiting site, www.recruitingnewsguru.com. Follow him on Twitter @HogManinLA.