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Irish welcome top underclassmen

Point guard Jessica Washington, the No. 18-ranked player in the 2013 class, is one of a handful of elite underclassmen who will visit Notre Dame this weekend and take in the USC football game. Glenn Nelson/ESPN.com

Usually official visits are the lead story for schools around the country this time of the year. However, when you advance all the way to the national championship game and wrap up the core of your 2012 recruiting class like Notre Dame has this offseason, a big fall football weekend in South Bend becomes an opportunity to host some of the country's elite underclassmen on unofficial visits in an attempt to get a jump on next year's recruiting.

This weekend Notre Dame will host three top 20 members of the class of 2013 -- No. 4 Taya Reimer of Indianapolis, Ind; No. 5 Rebecca Greenwell of Owensboro, Ky., and No. 18 Jessica Washington of Tulsa, Okla. The 2014 class also will be represented at the USC-Notre Dame game by No. 17 Makayla Waterman of Kettering, Ohio; No. 19 Kathryn Westbeld of Kettering, Ohio, and Courtney Ekmark of Phoenix, Ariz., who is watchlisted by ESPN HoopGurlz in the 2014 class.

This serves as an excellent opportunity for Muffet McGraw to make her pitch to some of the country's elite underclassmen as the Irish continue to recruit off the momentum from their successful 2010-2011 season.

Kornet takes first

This weekend, Nicole Kornet of Latana, Texas, will make her first of five possible official visits when she travels to Oklahoma. Ranked No. 19 in the class of 2012, Kornet is no stranger to the Oklahoma campus as she has taken multiple unofficial visits in the past. She is also considering Kentucky, Stanford and Vanderbilt. The 5-11 guard was originally headed to Kentucky last weekend, but is in the process of re-scheduling that visit.

Butler's travels continue

Brianna Butler has had a busy fall. After transferring high schools from Penn Charter School (Philadelphia, Pa.), to Nazareth Regional (Brooklyn, N.Y.), she had to begin the process of selecting a college, which for her meant official visits to four schools. So far Butler has made trips to Ohio State, Penn State and Kentucky. This weekend, Syracuse gets its chance to get the No. 13 prospect on campus and make its pitch. After this visit, look for Butler to take a break from her busy schedule and make a college decision. She won't be able to rest long as her new high school team will be in the running for a national championship and she is a major reason why.

Smith gets early start

Like the underclassmen headed to South Bend this weekend, Kylee Smith is in the process of getting a head start on gathering information on schools recruiting her. Smith is currently No. 52 in the class of 2013. A 5-11 forward from Alpharetta, Ga., Smith has already visited Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Richmond and Vanderbilt since Aug. 1. She has scholarship offers from all those schools, except Georgia. She's been busy the past two weekends as she was in Richmond last weekend and was at Georgia the weekend before that.


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Brandon Clay is a contributor and national recruiting analyst for ESPN HoopGurlz. He is also the publisher of the JumpOffPlus.com National Scouting Report and the owner of Peach State Basketball, Inc. Clay has been involved in the community since 2001 as a recruiting analyst, event operator and trainer. He can be reached at bclay@peachstatehoops.com or you can follow him on Twitter @peachstatehoops.

Keil Moore is a contributor and national recruiting analyst for ESPN HoopGurlz. He is also the Director of Scouting for the JumpOffPlus.com National Scouting Report - a division of Peach State Basketball, Inc. Moore has been involved in the community since 2007 as a recruiting analyst and trainer. He can be reached at kmoore@peachstatehoops.com or you can follow him on Twitter @keilmoore.