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Pot of Gold Day Recap: An Exciting Start to the Class of 2026

Written by Connor D'Aquila ⏐ Writer ⏐ Twitter/X: @ConnorDaquilaIT

Photo by Notre Dame Athletics


Every year, Notre Dame kicks off their major recruiting efforts for the following year’s cycle on March 17th, a fitting date for the Fighting Irish. Just last year, 2025 commits Deuce Knight, Cree Thomas, and Jerome Bettis Jr., among others, received their offers on the “Pot of Gold Day.” The media team always comes through with some impressive graphics and videos to wow recruits and keep the timeline interesting as ND fans scroll through X. Just one day after the monumental day in Notre Dame recruiting, Marcus Freeman and his staff have received their first 2026 commitment. This one comes from Dylan Faison, the brother of current Irish receiver Jordan, to both the football and lacrosse programs. Ranked by one platform as the number one lacrosse recruit in his class, the film also shows an impressive athlete on the football field. Likely slotting in at receiver, like his brother, this is an exciting get for both teams.


Let's take a look at the offers:





Quarterback

This was the quietest position group of the day, as a slew of offers had already gone out for the class. We did see a number of players recognize the event, however, including Noah Grubbs, Brady Hart, and Troy Huhn. Hart, out of Cocoa High School in Florida, has been gaining traction with the Irish as of late, and he is certainly a name to keep an eye on. Other players in the class to watch are Brady Smigiel and Ryder Lyons, both of whom are elite prospects with significant interest in Notre Dame. 


Wide Receiver

Obviously, Notre Dame got off to a hot start at receiver with the commitment of 2025 prospect Jerome Bettis Jr. in the morning and Faison’s pledge the next day. The offers did not end there, however, and the staff went after some very high-level players. Headlining the list is Devin Carter, a five-star out of Georgia and the number three 2026 receiver. They followed this up with the number two, five, and 13 wide receivers in the class in Jabari Brady, Calvin Russell, and Jett Washington, respectively. They also offered Aaron Gregory, a five-star and the number one athlete in the class who could end up as a DB or WR. Rounding out this list is a long list of players who we will surely learn more about in the coming months. These players include Brayden Robinson, Kaydon Finley, Jaylen Pile, Brody Keefe, Kayden Dixon-Wyatt, Jalen Lott, Jordan Clay, Zion Legree, Jonah Smith, and Trent Mosley.


Running Back

Deland McCullough was active on this St. Patrick’s Day, handing out a variety of offers to some intriguing prospects. From a rankings perspective, Savion Hiter, the number one ranked back in 2026 was the most exciting offer of the day. An explosive athlete out of Virginia, this would be a huge pickup for ND. They paired this with an offer to the number two and three backs in the class, Jonaz Walton and DeZephen Walker. Messiah Mickens is another highly regarded prospect the Irish are making a run at, coming in at 27th overall, but he is currently committed to Penn State. Other prospects that got the call from Freeman and his staff were Javian Osborne, Davian Groce, Ja’Michael Jones, Amari Latimer, Javian Mallory, and Raycine Guillory, a current Texas commit. The emphasis on the South was obvious for Coach McCullough, as most of the prospects came from Texas and the surrounding states. While it was not part of the main recruiting spree, number four running back in the class Deshonne Redeaux received an offer on the 18th. 





Tight End

Obviously an important and successful position for the ND offense, the staff handed out quite a few offers at tight end. Headlining the list is Kendre Harrison, a freak athlete and build, who is ranked the number seven overall player by the 247Sports Composite. Unanimously the number one tight end, this would be a huge get. Coming in right behind Harris in the positional rankings is Brock Harris out of Utah, who also received an offer and is another towering body given his age. Other notable offers include JC Anderson, Heze Kent, and Kaiden Prothro. Any of these players would bring remarkable talent to South Bend, and there is certainly room to take two from the class. Pairing the 250-pound body of Kent with the 200-pound Prothro would be a lethal combination for opposing defenses. 


Offensive Line

Coach Rudolph was aggressive this year, immediately extending an offer to the number one tackle in the class, Jackson Cantwell. A six-foot-seven, 300-pound monster, he is one of the most exciting prospects in the entire class. Pair this with the number three ranked tackle, Ekene Ogboko, there is some elite talent in this class. They also offered Lamar Brown out of University Lab in Baton Rouge, who is ranked the number two tackle, but some see him ending up on the defensive side of the ball. On the inside, Tyler Merill is another highly-regarded player who received an offer on Sunday. Also receiving offers were local Michigan prospects Ben Nichols and Gregory Patrick. Rounding out the offensive line offers, we have Darius Gray, George Haseotes, and Kevin Brown. 


Cornerback

Mike Mickens has proven himself to be an impressive talent evaluator, but there are a handful of players here who are big names in the class and will take a lot of work to secure. Number two at the position is Brandon Lockhart, who is currently committed to USC, but he has received a few offers as of late, and it appears ND will make a push. Dorian Barney, a high four-star out of Georgia is also ranked number three at the position in the class. Jordan Thomas is listed as an athlete but ranks number nine and would likely be a CB at Notre Dame. Finally, Chaston Smith is a player out of Tennessee who is currently unranked but holds offers from Alabama, LSU, and a variety of other SEC powerhouses. The rest of the offers at CB were to Jontavius Wyman, RJ Sermons, Jaelen Waters, Ksani Jiles, and Hakim Satterwhite.


Safety

In Mike Mickens's first cycle with control over the safeties, we are seeing some ambitious offers go out. Headlining the group is Blaine Bradford, a five-star and the number one safety in the class. Out of Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, he will be a tough pull from LSU, but Notre Dame seems to have put itself at least in a position to make a move. Other notable rankings were Zech Fort and Jireh Edwards, the number five and six players at the position, respectively. We also saw Mickens go after some length in Jordan Deck and Simeon Caldwell, both of whom are listed at six-foot-three. The rest of the group is rounded out by Jermaine Santana-Diaz, Brandon Arrington (technically an athlete, but likely will end up at safety), Nick Reddish, Xavier Lherisse, DJ Williams, and Joey O’Brien.





Defensive Line

A lot of offers were given out on the D-line, so we will start with the outside and move inside. Getting a quality edge rusher was obviously a priority for Coach Washington, so there were plenty of offers at the position. Headlining the group is Hezekiah Harris, a five-star who is the number one edge in the country out of Alabama. Also highly regarded is Samu Moala, who is currently a linebacker but should grow into the vyper role at Notre Dame. Currently rated the number five edge in the class, he would be another great get. Another interesting offer was Luke Wafle, the brother of former Irish commit Owen Wafle. A bit smaller than Owen, he projects on the edge and 247Sports considers him a four-star. Also on the edge are Carter Meadows, Cincere Johnson, Jarius Rodgers, Xavier Griffin, McHale Blade, Braeden Jones, and Rodney Dunham.


JJ Finch and Trenton Henderson look to be more traditional defensive ends, likely slotting in at the big end position with Notre Dame. Elijah Golden is another prospect out of IMG who many ND fans are excited about as an athletic big end sitting at six-foot-four, 237 pounds. On the inside, there is some very high-level talent, beginning with the number four lineman, and five-star, James Carrington. This is followed by the number eight and ten defensive linemen, Tomuhini Topui and Tiki Hola, respectively. Other major interior offers from the day include Gabriel Hill, Jamarcus Whyce, Cameron Brickle, and Jermaine Kinsler.


Linebacker

In Max Bullough’s first cycle as the named linebackers coach of Notre Dame, we saw him make some splash offers. This is headlined by the number one, two, and three linebackers in the class in Anthony Jones, Tyler Atkinson, and Thomas Davis Jr. Atkinson and Jones are also both five-stars and ranked in the top ten overall. At six-foot-two, 240 pounds out of Alabama, Jones is an absolute monster who has produced at the highest levels in a short high school football career. Any of these players would be huge gets for the Irish, however. Kosi Okpala is a prospect currently listed at linebacker, but we would likely see him at vyper in the blue and gold. Another interesting offer is Kedric Golston II, the son of 11-year NFL veteran Kedric Golston. Notre Dame has shown an interest in these NFL bloodlines, and this is yet another example. The rest of the many linebacker prospects are Tank King, Talanoa Ili, Noriel Dominguez, Tristan Phillips, Anthony Davis, Kenneth Goodwin, Charles Belser, Colsen Gatten, Maurice Barnes, Jakore Smith, Jakobe Clapper, and Markel Dabney.


It is always an exciting time when Notre Dame kicks off the next recruiting cycle and that happened this weekend. They offered a number of very intriguing prospects, some of whom we will likely see in the class. While this article is not a comprehensive list, it does cover most of the nearly 100 offers made by the Notre Dame staff.


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