Notre Dame recruiting is coming to a conclusion and fans feathers are ruffled.
As Signing Day is right around the corner, Notre Dame has holes to fill. Approximately 5 scholarships need to be filled. In this article, I will go over Notre Dame’s looming issues and why fans shouldn’t get too worked up over them.
This is a position that needs attention. The bad news is Notre Dame lost both cornerback commits.
Paulsen Adebo, who landed his dream offer from Stanford which i find understandable, de-committed from Notre Dame and reopened his recruitment.
Brian Kelly shifted his focus to Tre Norwood and Russ Yeast.
Norwood visited ND then committed to Oklahoma, which came as a bit of a shock to myself and many ND fans as the consensus was that he had serious interest in being Irish.
Russ Yeast would have likely been Irish all ready if staff had offered him earlier. He visited on the weekend and enjoyed it very much. He is mulling over his commitment to Louisville and Notre Dame has a chance to land him.
Reason for optimism
Notre Dame has Nick Watkins and Shaun Crawford. Both are talented cornerbacks with starts
under their belts and at least 2 years of eligibility.
Also, Notre Dame landed Daunte Vaughn, Julian Love and Troy Pride jr. in the ’16 cycle. All three saw the field and performed well.
The Irish have plenty of young talent at corner back. If they don’t land any in the ’17 cycle, they will be just fine. Mike Elston would certainly put an emphasis on cornerbacks in the ’18 cycle and there’s plenty of them.
Notre Dame has had a very hard time rushing the passer in recent years. 1 sack from the defensive end position in ’16 can’t just be excused due to dismissed Defensive Coordinator Brian Van Gorder’s scheme.
The lone sack came from Isaac Rochell who has since departed.
Notre Dame had 5 star defensive end Robert Beal committed early in the recruiting process. Unfortunately, he de committed and is now commited to Georgia. His IMG teammate Josh Kaindoh, also a 5 star defensive end, considered Notre Dame but ended up with Florida State.
Reason for optimism
New Defensive Coordinator Mike Elko’s 4-2-5 base scheme will help dial up pressure between the tackles from the mike linebacker and safety positions. As well, the rover position often creeps up and blitzes off the edge.
The weak-side defensive end is a stand-up end, who plays more of a buck role which will be advantageous to Daelin Hayes, especially.
Notre Dame landed four defensive end recruits in ’16. Highly-touted Daelin Hayes, Julain Okwara, Khalid Kareem and project Adetokunbo Ogundeji are all promising recruits.
Daelin Hayes was an early enrollee so he will have two full off seasons under his belt in the Fall. He possesses elite skills. Julian Okwara is a natural pass rusher and should show up much bigger than his 228 pounds he played at last year.
On the strong-side, Khalid Kareem had 37 sacks in his final two years of high school. The former Alabama commit has the size and the talent to be successful in college football. Another year of maturity should serve him well.
Jay hayes will be healthy this year and in his senior season. Look for him to help out on the strong side in ’16. He has a high motor and great size at 6’3, 285 pounds.
So far this class, Notre Dame landed one outside receiver, Michael Young is a slot receiver, and he de committed (Jordan Pouncey).
Oliver Martin has been shopped around to Michigan State, in-state Iowa, Ohio State, Michigan, Florida and Aubirn. Mac Hippenhammer is a Penn State commit and ND got in very late with him. Jafar Armstrong is a Missouri commit and, like Hippenhammer, the Irish were late on him too.
With recruiting winding down, Notre Dame looks like they could possibly finish the cycle with only one slot receiver.
Reason for optimism
First of all, all of Notre Dame’s receivers have at least two years of eligibility.
Notre Dame landed Chase Claypool, Javon McKinley and Kevin Stepherson last cycle. Claypool and Stepherson look like promising young receivers and when McKinley comes back healthy, he has the size, 6’2, 205 pounds, and talent to be successful.
In ’15, the Irish landed 4 star receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, Miles Boykin and CJ Sanders as well as Alize Jones.
Thats a lot of options for Notre Dame. With those receivers alone, a lot of talent will be sitting on the bench. Notre Dame will be fine at wide receiver. It’s likely that all of them may return in ’18.
Recruiting can be very frustrating. Considering Notre Dame finished 4-8 last year, having the #12 class, currently, is pretty impressive.
Last recruiting class, Brian Kelly did a very good job at building depth throughout the team. There won’t be the need for freshman to contribute that there was last year.
As far as star power, Notre Dame has seen too many Will Fuller and Tyler Eifert situations to get too caught up in rankings. Good football players are good football players. Often times, players who deserve to be 4 stars end up 3 stars due to not competing in camps or combines.
Don’t get me wrong, filling the class with recruits who play positions of need would be great, and they might. If they don’t, no matter what your favorite message board tells you, it’s not the end of the world.
Keep your heads up Irish fans.