Continuation of Slap the Sign’s countdown of the top 10 impact freshmen.
6’3″ 218 lbs
Bishop Luers, Fort Wayne, Indiana
With the departure of Manti Teo Irish fans immediately demanded a replacement. In Jaylon Smith Notre Dame landed a five-star recruit with incredible talent and more importantly, impeccable character. After committing early to the Irish, Smith hit the recruiting trail on Notre Dame’s behalf. Smith contacted current and potential Irish recruits on the phone or via social network, while coining the tag “Irish Mob” for the 2013 Notre Dame recruiting class. Smith continued to impress coaches and future teammates when he traveled to Arizona for informal offseason workouts with several senior Irish players.
Smith has been described by analysts as the “total package”. With 4.4 speed, extraordinary length, remarkable athleticism and outstanding instincts, Smith received a five-star rating from every recruiting service in America. At Bishop Luers where Smith played running back and outside linebacker, he displayed his durability, speed and strength as he ran over, around and through opponents. In the off season Smith has reportedly increased his weight to 235lbs and openly states that he intends to play as a freshman.
Smith statement seems bold when you consider that the Irish boast one of the deepest groups of outside linebackers in the country. Veterans Prince Shembo, Danny Spond and Ishaq Williams have already cemented their positions as starters, while up-and-comers Romeo Okwara and Anthony Rabasa fight for playing time. Given Smith’s speed and length, Diaco could use Smith as a pass coverage specialist or an edge pass rusher. Wherever Diaco places Smith on the depth chart, the fact remains that Smith is the future of the Irish football program.
Top 10 Impact Freshman
3. Jaylon Smith
4. Max Redfield
5. James Onwualu
6. Tarean Folston
7. John Montelus
8. Steve Elmer
9. Cole Luke
10. Issac Rochell