Coach Brian Kelly received his 13th verbal commitment for the 2013 class today from OLB Jaylon Smith (Fort Wayne, IN -- Bishop Luers). Smith is listed at 6'3" and 218 lbs.
Smith chose the Irish from a laundry list of national offers, including Ohio State, USC, Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, Florida, and more.
Recruiting Service Rankings:
ESPN - 4 star (#1 IN, #3 OLB), 86 Grade (#46 Overall)
Rivals - 5 star (#1 OLB), 6.0 Grade (#4 Overall)
Scout - 5 star (#1 OLB), #9 Overall
247Sports - 5 star (#1 IN, #1 OLB), 99 Grade (#7 Overall)
Highlights after the jump.
Jaylon Smith 2011 Highlights (via AWPSPORTS)
Smith has been dominating the off-season combine and 7-on-7 circuits and recently shot up the Rivals rankings and will likely do the same with ESPN rankings soon as well. He is the highest rated LB recruit for the Irish since Manti Te'o and I expect he will have a similar career trajectory. He may not start from Day 1, but will see the field early and often as a freshman.
There are very few critiques that one could have about Smith as a prospect right now. The one spot he needs to improve on is just to add some weight to his frame to be completely effective at the college level. If he stays at 6'3", I think his playing weight should come in right around 240 or so. The one other knock on him right now is that he isn't a pure pass rusher--which is fine since dropping into coverage is probably his greatest attribute.
As our own 4pointshooter stated at the B-G Game, he could legitimately play eight positions in Bob Diaco's defense. He is essentially a safety in a linebacker's body. There are two main positions I could see him at for the Irish--Dog or Will LB. He likely stays outside at Dog, as it is his natural position. Think of him as bigger version of the Star LB spot that Jamoris Slaughter played towards the end of the 2011 season.
Welcome to Notre Dame Jaylon!