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Notre Dame primed for a showcase Saturday

Some of the nation's top recruits will watch the Fighting Irish battle USC in prime time. Dave Miller

Print This October 22, 2011, 11:15 AM EST

As the NFP's Greg Gabriel mentioned in his Golden Dome report on Friday afternoon, several of the nation's top high school junior and senior players will be in South Bend to watch Notre Dame battle USC in a prime time showdown at Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday evening.

The list of visitors became even stronger with the news that Gunner Kiel, one of the country’s top quarterbacks who recently re-opened his recruitment after previously committing to Indiana, will take an unofficial visit to South Bend for the game between the Fighting Irish and the Trojans.

Gunner KielGunner Kiel, one of the nation's top QB recruits, will be in South Bend for the USC-Notre Dame game.

Notre Dame may be in the middle of a push to gain traction toward a BCS berth, but there's also National Signing Day-type excitement on campus for this huge day in the current recruiting cycle.

Two weeks after multi-position player Nelson Agholor visited campus, 13 members of CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming’s Top 100 are scheduled to be in attendance for Notre Dame's first night game in 21 years.

Defensive lineman Jarron Jones, defensive back Tee Shepard and wide receiver Deontay Greenberry are already committed to Notre Dame, so they will be on the sideline during the game helping to pitch the Irish to the visiting recruits. Defensive lineman Arik Armstead and wide receiver Jordan Payton were committed to USC but have since rescinded those pledges and will be on visit. Last year, Notre Dame beat out USC for the services of Troy Niklas late in the process. Offensive tackle John Theus, meanwhile, is committed to Georgia but will also be on hand Saturday night.

Six others — safety/running back Shaq Thompson, offensive tackles Zach Banner and Jordan Diamond, running backs Keith Marshall and Byron Marshall, and outside linebacker Ifeadi Odenigbo — remain uncommitted and will take in the scene.

Florida commit Brian Poole and Virginia Tech commit Donaldven Manning will also be in the stadium. In all, nearly 50 recruits will be in attendance to watch a long-storied rivalry play out under the lights. For head coach Brian Kelly and his staff, a win over the Trojans could go a long way in strengthening the Class of 2012 and beyond.

Email dave.miller@nationalfootballpost.com or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

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