Coach Brian Kelly reportedly has received his 18th verbal commitment for the 2013 class today from RB Jamel James (Katy, TX - Cinco Ranch). He is listed at 5'11" and 215 lbs.
James hasn't visited Notre Dame yet, but is planning to take an official visit for the Michigan game. James also had offers from USC, LSU, Arkansas, and FSU. He was previously committed to Arkansas, but decommitted after the firing of Bobby Petrino.
Recruiting Service Rankings:
ESPN - 4 star (#29 TX, #20 RB), 83 Grade (#226 Overall), ESPNU300
Rivals - 3 star (#83 TX), 5.6 Grade
Scout - 4 star (#29 RB, #288 Overall)
247Sports - 4 star (#27 TX, #15 RB), 92 Grade (#185 Overall)
More after the jump.
James is a rare combination of size and speed, which makes him an ideal fit for a single-back set for Brian Kelly's offense. He will be joining a crowded Irish backfield, which will likely limit his impact as a freshman. While he may not need to contribute right away for Notre Dame, don't be surprised if he does see some action (even if just on special teams) early in his career.
Watching his highlights, he immediately reminds me a bit of the recently departed Jonas Gray. While James will need to continue to work on the finer points of technique, he shows great vision both hitting the initial hole and in the open field. He is a physical back who isn't afraid of contact and looks to punish defenders at times and should be a great asset in pass protection. James should have the opportunity to have a great career in South Bend and will be a playmaker to watch in years to come.
Welcome to Notre Dame Jamel!