2013 Notre Dame Football Recruiting Class -- Defensive Backs

Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE

OFD concludes its journey to break down the 2013 football recruiting class on a position-by-position basis.

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Welcome to the final edition of the six part, in-depth series on the 2013 Notre Dame football recruiting class. I unveiled the OFD average grades for the newest members of the Fighting Irish family after National Signing Day.

For reference, here are the previous pieces:

2013 Recruiting Review--QB, RB, TE

2013 Recruiting Review--WR

2013 Recruiting Review--OL

2013 Recruiting Review--DL

2013 Recruiting Review--LB

This installment will focus on the defensive backs: CB Rashad Kinlaw, CB Devin Butler, CB Cole Luke and S Max Redfield.

Here are a few comments from Coach Kelly. Well, maybe more than a few:

Coach Kelly Signing Day Press Conference (via NotreDameAthletics)


The transcript from Coach Brian Kelly's press conference on national signing day can be found here.

Official OFD Recruit Grading Scale:

95-100: Elite impact freshman with All-American potential

90-94: Multi-year starter with All-conference potential

85-89: Eventual starter with chance to play as underclassman

80-84: Raw prospect with decent potential but a couple years away from impact

75-79: Likely a backup

70-74: Reach by the coaching staff

Note: All Height/Weight/40 times as listed on 247Sports.com

~~~

CB Rashad Kinlaw

(Absecon, NJ - Absegami) - 6'1"/175/4.40

OFD Average: 84

Rashad Kinlaw (junior highlights) (via Jeremy Lin)


Brian Kelly's thoughts from the signing day press conference:

Rashad Kinlaw: When we talk about Rashad, we just any obviously he played quarterback primarily, he got injured this year, but we love his size, his length, his athleticism. We think it's an untapped resource for us in that we're only going to get him better and better physically, and he has the speed, he has the ability to play the ball. We think he's going to fit well at the cornerback position for us. He was somebody that we identified early in this process and felt like he would be a great addition to this class. We love the fact that he's really embraced coming to Notre Dame. You know, the high school has not had a lot of students come in this area of the country, and to get him to come to Notre Dame says a lot about him, so we're really excited about Rashad, too.

Whiskey: 84

Kinlaw has had a few injury issues as a high school quarterback and comes in as a potential project at corner. Kinlaw is very fast which makes him an intriguing prospect and I will be very curious to see what the staff does with him once he's on campus. I suspect he will start out taking reps at corner while working his way into contributing on special teams.

Eric Murtaugh: 83

Kinlaw is a nice athlete with good foot speed. He's dealt with injuries in high school and hasn't spent a ton of time training at corner so that knocks his overall grade. Explosive enough with the ball in his hand that he may offer some versatility and switch to receiver. He's a bit of a mystery recruit due to a broken leg in back-to-back years but he'll provide some depth to whichever position he ends up at Notre Dame.

4pointshooter: 85

alstein: 80

Jim Miesle: 86

Kinlaw is one of the most intriguing prospects in the '13 class. He flew a bit under the radar thanks to injury issues, but has the frame and speed to be a huge steal for BK and his staff. I think he gets this fall to learn the intricacies of the cornerback spot and put some weight on, but then should be able to compete for the spot that Bennett Jackson will leave after graduation and be an impact player on special teams. I gave him the highest score of the group thanks largely to his huge upside.

~~~

CB Devin Butler

(Washington, DC - Gonzaga) - 6'1"/180/4.54

OFD Average: 82

Football Highlight - CB/WR Devin Butler 2013 (Gonzaga, DC) (via WeRsports)

Brian Kelly's thoughts from the signing day press conference:

Devin Butler out of Gonzaga Prep in D.C.: First of all, what we really love about recruiting at Gonzaga is that these young men understand what it's like to be here at Notre Dame. They're in that kind of faith based environment. They understand that they're going to be challenged in the classroom, so these are easy fits for us in the recruiting process. Devin obviously at the cornerback position is a need that we have within our program. With injuries last year and graduation the year before, we were thin obviously this year, and we were able to find a way to get it done back there. Now we can add some depth to the cornerback position. He's an exciting player that's going to come in and compete immediately.

Whiskey: 80

Butler has good length, good athleticism and plays physical for a corner. Kerry Cooks has said that Butler reminds him of Robert Blanton. I like the sound of that. All of these corners bring much needed depth and will help to shore up this position group for the next several years.

Eric Murtaugh: 86

My pick as the top sleeper of the class. There's a lot I like with his game. He fits the physical profile at corner and he plays with a nasty edge. Butler is quick-twitched with really good quickness---two attributes that are going to help him a ton on defense.

With so many bodies at corner I'm not sure he'll see playing time as a freshman but he could be a great special teams player from day one. It wouldn't surprise me if he's ultimately the top corner in this class---the talent discrepancy between he and Luke isn't that large.

4pointshooter: 81

alstein: 84

Jim Miesle: 81

Butler definitely fits the profile for what Bob Diaco wants in corners. He is a bigger, physical corner who can play in either man or zone schemes and help in run support. It will be interesting to see if he can come in and push the upper-classmen for a spot in the two deep or he takes a red shirt season. Either way, he will add depth to the program at a spot that has been very thin during BK's tenure.

~~~

CB Cole Luke

(Chandler, AZ - Hamilton) - 6'0"/170

OFD Average: 91

#11 DB Cole Luke Hamilton High School Junior Football Highlights Class of 2013 (via Steven Oliver)


Brian Kelly's thoughts from the signing day press conference:

Cole Luke: When we talk about the depth across the board here, we've talked about Butler and Kinlaw, and now Cole Luke, another cornerback. You know, again, a state title. This guy plays on a championship football team. When you go around the high school and you go around the program, you can sense it and feel it. We've got a great relationship with Coach Belles, a former Notre Dame player here, and just a great fit. When Cole came up in the summer, recruited by virtually everybody in the country, I remember when we were talking about this, that he called and kind of had a soft commit. In other words, he called and said, I think I'm going to commit, but what I want to do is I want to be able to say that a couple of times and I want to see how it feels. So I think this was maybe on a Tuesday, and he said I'll call you back on Saturday. So we're waiting all week, how does it sound, Cole, sound good? Do you like saying that you're committed to Notre Dame? And finally he called us back a week later and said, "Coach, I'm all in." My point being, here's a kid who really thought about it.

All these kids gave a great thought about this commitment. That's why when we talk about this class, it is a solid class because they took the time to make this decision. They weren't pressured into making a decision. This was something that took a lot of thought, and we're excited about having Cole.

Whiskey: 92

Luke is a very well coached and technically sound corner who actually played for former ND quarterback Steve Belles in high school. Luke is also the nephew of Dallas Cowboy Safety Darren Woodson which further explains his pedigree. Luke is long, lean and fast and could work his way into the rotation at corner this fall. Great pickup.

Eric Murtaugh: 89

Luke is a great prospect but I have him just under the elite guys in this class. I really like his playmaking ability and it's generally a bonus that a skilled defensive back is also a potent offensive weapon in high school.

There's a lot to like in his game: good speed, plays with some toughness, and he isn't afraid to come up and make a strong tackle. He's pretty skinny right now, which isn't a big deal, and I also want to see just how agile and quick he is at the next level before anointing him an elite corner prospect. I think he has in it him but I need a little more convincing.

4pointshooter: 90

alstein: 94

Jim Miesle: 92

I would have graded Luke a bit higher but for the fact that he probably won't see much of the field as a freshman. I think he can develop into an elite cover corner and could break into the two deep with a good camp. He should see action on special teams but probably needs to add 20+ lbs before seeing extended reps. I have high hopes for Luke and believe he is the best corner prospect in this class.

~~~

S Max Redfield

(Mission Viejo, CA - Mission Viejo) - 6'3"/195

OFD Average: 95

Highlights of 2013 DB/WR Max Redfield from his junior season at Mission Viejo High School (via Prep1Force)


Brian Kelly's thoughts from the signing day press conference:

Max Redfield from Mission Viejo: Bob Johnson is his coach, and Bob has done an incredible job over the years of turning out elite players, and we think Max is an elite player. He's a young man that has a specific skill set that could see him play offense, he could play defense, he's going to play in that safety position for us, and we think he's a young man that can come in and compete. He's got all the athletic ability, and he's a very smart young man.

I remember when he decided to come to Notre Dame and made that decision, it was a fairly lengthy process where he wanted to really take time to make the right decision. But those are the kind of kids we're not getting these quick knee jerk reaction kind of decisions, these are kids that really took their time to make the right decision. Max is a great young man, great family, and a really good player.

Whiskey: 96

Finally another top flight safety prospect! Redfield, is big, quick and has great speed in the open field. The defensive staff has a potential great one in Redfield and he is another freshman that will be ready to contribute right away. I think I might actually be more excited about Refield than I am about Jaylon Smith. Having a top flight player like Redfield in the back end of the defense is always a good thing.

Eric Murtaugh: 95

Redfield's potential is tantalizing and he may finally be the robo-safety I've been dreaming of for the Irish. For someone 6'3" he's fast as all get out. He's really quick but it's his speed in the open field that is mesmerizing. For that reason, he'd be awfully Michael Floyd-esque as a receiver but after watching the national championship game it's apparent we need more athleticism at safety.

There's really no reason why he shouldn't play as a freshman but the question will be, where? Can he grab a starting spot at free safety? Will he play some nickel only? I don't know how long it's been since an Irish defensive back left for the NFL after just 3 years but Redfield has the skills to flourish immediately and be gone much too soon. I just hope he's able to be a playmaker from day one because he's talented enough to do so.

4pointshooter: 95

alstein: 96

Jim Miesle: 94

I think it speaks volumes for a prospect when the lowest grade he gets from our staff is a 94. He is an elite athlete who could make a huge impact on either side of the football. I gave him a slightly lower grade because I don't think he will necessarily start as a freshman, but could play a role similar to what either Nick Baratti or Elijah Shumate did for the Irish in '12. The Irish are pretty deep at safety now, so it will be interesting to see if he pushes Mathias Farley at Free Safety or gets a first look at receiver. Either way, he is a great addition to the program and will find a way to make an impact right away.

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