Feb 6, 2013; Auburn, CA, USA; Eddie Vanderdoes announces he will attend Notre Dame on national signing day at Placer High School. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame Football Recruiting: Signing Day Grades (Defense)

Notre Dame signed one of its best classes since 2008 when Notre Dame landed the 2nd best class according to Rivals.com. This year, Notre Dame fell just short of that mark coming in at #3 on the same list. But, this class offers four 5-star recruits in Jaylon Smith, Greg Bryant, Max Redfield and Eddie Vanderdoes. It also off tremendous balance. Add a linebacker to the defense and the Freshman could have their own scrimmage. In many ways, this class is better. How does the 2013 class grade?

Defensive Line

Notre Dame landed 3 Defensive Line recruits on National Signing Day. Of course, the biggest was Eddie Vanderdoes who signed with Notre Dame late on Signing Day. Vanderdoes will be able to play immediately at Notre Dame because he is both physically and mentally prepared. Vanderdoes could be similar to former Notre Dame Defensive Linemen Trevor Laws. They both have similar builds and style of play on the field. The Irish also landed Issac Rochell. Rochell should not be overlooked just because the Fighting Irish landed Vanderdoes. He matches the size of Defensive Ends that Notre Dame has landed in the past at 6’5” 270. He could contribute next season but it is not necessary that he do so. Matuska also has great size. He checks in at 6’5” 240. He should have time to grow into a Defensive End or Nose Guard.

Grade: A

Linebackers

Notre Dame landed one of the best Linebackers and players in the nation in Jaylon Smith. Smith is one of the highest rated Defensive players that Notre Dame has faced since the creation of internet recruiting rankings. Manti Te’o was ranked 12th by Rivals.com when he signed with Notre Dame. Smith was ranked 3rd. Hopefully, Smith can have at least the same impact as Te’o moving forward. In addition to Smith, Notre Dame adds Michael Deeb and Doug Randolph. Deeb is definitely an Inside Linebacker and Randolph will begin Outside. Deeb may be able to play early because he should be physically ready to play. Randolph will probably need time. The Irish probably needed another Linebacker. Losing both Danny Mattingly and Alex Anzalone hurt.

Grade: B+

Defensive Backs

After failing to land any traditional Cornerbacks in last year’s class (KeiVarae Russell switched from Offense), Notre Dame landed three in this year’s. Cole Luke is the centerpiece of the Cornerback haul. He has good top end speed and is very instinctual. Notre Dame has good depth coming back but he could find his way on to the field, especially on Special Teams. Notre Dame also adds Rashad Kinlaw and Devin Butler. Both are intriguing prospects. They both are raw athletes who could end up being better than Cole Luke. They need to get coached up before Notre Dame’s coaches really know what they have.

Grade: A

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