NCAA Football News

Julian Okwara to Notre Dame: Fighting Irish Land 4-Star DE Prospect

As expected, 4-star defensive end prospect Julian Okwara announced his commitment to Notre Dame on Tuesday, eschewing offers from Clemson, Georgia, Michigan and Ole Miss. 

Andrew Ivins of Rivals talked to Okwara about the decision:

I felt like everything was going right. I kind of wanted to get everything over with because I knew where I was going. I talked it over with my family and I felt like it was the right thing to do. I just loved everything the coaches told me about Notre Dame. Just being up there on my visit, I felt like I was part of the team with the coaches talking to me all the time, going through meetings, hanging out with my brother and going to class with him—It just felt right.

Okwara joining his older brother Romeo, who started 12 games at defensive end last season in South Bend, was always the most likely solution. 247Sports' Crystal Ball predictions gave Notre Dame a rare 100 percent chance of landing the Ardrey Kell (Charlotte) High School product.

Listed at 6'4" and 210 pounds, Okwara will have to add bulk to succeed at the next level but projects as a strong pass-rusher. He is listed as the No. 11 weak-side defensive end and No. 186 overall player in 247Sports' overall composite rankings. Tim Prister of Irish Illustrated noted that he made more than 90 tackles and 10 sacks during his junior campaign.      

"I can bring a lot of tempo and a lot hits to the defense," Okwara said, per Ivins. "Just getting to the quarterback and making plays—a lot of stuff like that."

It's possible the Irish wind up nudging him to outside linebacker, where his size wouldn't be such a concern, and he could make a more immediate impact. Regardless of where he winds up playing, Okwara is a big boost to Notre Dame's 2016 class. The Irish moved up 10 spots to 27th on 247Sports' latest rankings despite having only five prospects signed.   

Five-star offensive tackle Tommy Kraemer is the only player in Notre Dame's class ranked higher than Okwara.

 

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Which 2016 Recruits Should Will Muschamp Target to Continue Defensive Dominance?

When the Auburn Tigers brought in Will Muschamp as their defensive coordinator, they were also bringing in a strong recruiter. 

Bleacher Report's Stephen Nelson was joined by College Football Analyst Michael Felder to discuss which 2016 recruits would be tailor-made for Muschamp's defense. 

How will Auburn's defense perform in 2015? Check out the video and let us know! 

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Biggest Takeaways from 247Sports' Initial Top 247 for Class of 2017 Recruiting

It’s not exactly a surprise to see rising junior phenom and 5-star linebacker Dylan Moses take the top overall spot in the newly released 247Sports Top 247 for the class of 2017.

The LSU commitment kept his grip on the No. 1 spot from the initial release of the Top 100 for 2017 last summer, according to Barton Simmons of 247Sports.

A handful of juniors have emerged at their respective spring camps, while others have been busy compiling impressive offer lists.

What are the biggest takeaways from the initial Top 247 rankings for the 2017 class? 

Let’s take a look at a few storylines that jump out at first glance.

 

3 Power States Loaded Once Again

It’s no secret that the three most fertile areas for coaches on the recruiting trail are California, Florida and Texas.

Those three states are well-represented in the class of 2017, as they have combined to produce 92 of the Top 247 overall players. 

Overall, 21 prospects from those three states are rated among the nation’s Top 50 prospects.

Florida, led by 5-star offensive tackle Calvin Ashley, has 32 prospects in the initial rankings. Texas also has 32 prospects, with 5-star defensive tackle Marvin Wilson representing the nation's best prospect at his position. 

California has 28 prospects included, with 5-star running back Najee Harris emerging as the top 2017 prospect from the Golden State.

 

Georgia Deep Again

Aside from the big three talent-producing states, Georgia—which has 23 prospects who made the rankings—is the only other state to have more than 20 prospects in the list. 

The 2016 class in Georgia is special, but the rising group of juniors in the Peach State could be equally as talented. 

5-star corner DeAngelo Gibbs is a freakish talent who could play safety or wide receiver at the next level with equal effectiveness.

Additionally, Georgia has three of the top six pro-style quarterbacks in the country, led by 4-star Bailey Hockman—who put on a strong display at the Nike Atlanta Opening Regional camp last month.

 

WR Heaven

College coaches looking for help at the receiver position may want to invest some time in scouting the junior class.

Eight players are rated as 5-star prospects, headlined by Florida standout Trevon Grimes.

Also, 40 receivers found their way into the rankings, which makes it the deepest position represented in the list.

A pair of 4-star pass-catchers rated outside of the Top 100 overall who have compiled double-digit offer lists are North Carolina product J.T. Cauthen and Florida playmaker Jerry Jeudy. With talented prospects such as Cauthen and Jeudy rated outside the Top 100, it’s a signal of the strength and depth of talent at that position in the 2017 cycle.

 

OT Group Strong

Another position that is well-represented in the 2017 Top 247 rankings is offensive tackle.  In fact, three of the nation’s top five prospects overall come from that position.

Three more offensive tackles join Josh Meyers, Ashley and Foster Sarell as 5-star prospects who could transition into dominant players at the next level sooner rather than later.

In all, 26 offensive tackles made the cut.

Considering the dominant D-line classes in recent cycles, the emergence of a star-studded group at offensive tackle is a welcome development for college coaches looking for help in the trenches in the 2017 cycle.

 

Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

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The Harbaugh Effect Is Making a Difference for Michigan in 2016 Recruiting Class

When Michigan hired Jim Harbaugh, Wolverine fans were extremely excited about what he could bring on the field but also what he could offer on the recruiting trail.

Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Michael Felder breaks down Jim Harbaugh's latest recruits, as well as who he should target going forward. 

Who are the must-have recruits for Michigan? Check out the video, and let us know!

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FSU Insider Buzz: QB Battle Tightens Up; Freshman Derwin James Shines

The Florida State Seminoles competed in their spring game over the weekend, and a few storylines emerged from the contest. The battle for the starting quarterback position tightened up, while a freshman safety shined brightly. 

Bleacher Report's Stephen Nelson was joined by 247Sports' Recruiting Analyst Josh Newberg to discuss all the happenings surrounding the Seminoles' spring game.

Who will emerge as FSU's starting QB? Check out the video and let us know! 

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