With another national signing day in the books, Coach Brian Kelly and his staff finished with a consensus Top 5 class.
Top to bottom, this is the best class Notre Dame has signed in some time. This year’s class stands at 24 total signees.
Here are Coach Brian Kelly's thoughts on this class from yesterday's presser:
Coach Kelly Signing Day Press Conference (via NotreDameAthletics)
The GIF-off to express your feelings on this class can now commence.
This class features five early-entries in QB Malik Zaire, OT Steve Elmer, TE Mike Heuerman, WR James Onwualu and WR Corey Robinson.
Recruiting Class Rankings:
ESPN: 4th (10 - ESPN 150; 13 - ESPN 300; 2 - 5 star, 18 - 4 star, 4 - 3 star)
Scout: 4th (7 - Top 100; 2 - 5 star, 18 - 4 star, 4 - 3 star)
Rivals: 3rd (4 - 5 star, 14 - 4 star, 6 - 3 star)
247Sports: 3rd (3 - 5 star, 17 - 4 star, 4 - 3 star)
Now on to the class. This year, we are unveiling a super scientific grading system for the Notre Dame recruiting class. Our judging panel includes Whiskey, Eric, 4pointshooter, alstein and myself. The rest of the staff couldn't be bothered with such nonsense, frivolities or shenanigans.
As a sneak peak, here are the averages handed out by each member of the staff:
Whiskey OFD - 88.0
Eric Murtaugh - 87.9
4pointshooter - 88.6
alstein - 89.1
Jim Miesle - 89.3
Overall Average - 88.6
Official OFD Recruit Grading Scale:
95-100: Elite impact freshman with All-American potential
90-94: Multi-year starter with All-conference level 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
Malik Zaire (Dayton, OH - Archbishop Alter) - 6'1"/185: 90
Greg Bryant (Delray Beach, FL - American Heritage Boca/Delray) - 5'11"/196/4.48: 95
Tarean Folston (Cocoa, FL - Cocoa) - 5'9"/185/4.40: 91
James Onwualu (St. Paul, MN - Cretin-Derham Hall) - 6'1.75"/205/4.53: 88
Corey Robinson (San Antonio, TX - San Antonio Christian) - 6'4"/205/4.65: 82
Will Fuller (Philadelphia, PA - Roman Catholic) - 6'0"/165/4.52: 85
Torii Hunter, Jr (Prosper, TX - Prosper) - 6'1"/172/4.57: 86
Mike Heuerman (Naples, FL - Barron Collier) - 6'4"/215: 88
Durham Smythe (Belton, TX - Belton) - 6'5"/233/4.75: 88
Steve Elmer (Midland, MI - Midland) - 6'6"/315/5.04: 92
Colin McGovern (New Lenox, IL - Lincoln Way West) - 6'6"/295: 83
Hunter Bivin (Owensboro, KY - Apollo) - 6'7"/290: 91
Mike McGlinchey (Philadelphia, PA - William Penn Charter) - 6'9"/275: 83
John Montelus (Everett, MA - Everett) - 6'5"/305: 92
Jacob Matuska (Columbus, OH - Bishop Hartley) - 6'5"/240/4.70: 81
Isaac Rochell (Mcdonough, GA - Eagle's Landing) - 6'5"/260: 91
Eddie Vanderdoes (Auburn, CA - Placer) - 6'2"/310: 95
Jaylon Smith (Fort Wayne, IN - Bishop Luers) - 6'3"/218/4.44: 97
Michael Deeb (Ft. Lauderdale, FL - American Heritage) - 6'2"/237: 88
Doug Randolph (Woodberry Forest, VA - Woodberry Forest) - 6'3"/220/4.65: 88
Rashad Kinlaw (Absecon, NJ - Absegami) - 6'1"/175/4.40: 84
Devin Butler (Washington, DC - Gonzaga) - 6'1"/180/4.54: 82
Cole Luke (Chandler, AZ - Hamilton) - 6'0"/170: 91
Max Redfield (Mission Viejo, CA - Mission Viejo) - 6'3"/195: 95
This is the best overall (and deepest) class in recent memory and fans would probably have to go back to the Holtz era to find a class that rivals this one. Charlie Weis signed a few classes ('06 and '08) that come close to rivaling, but they were definitely thin on the defensive side of the ball and were elevated mainly by the offensive skill positions.
The staff did something with this class that is pretty rare-the signed an entire offense. In fact, they were one linebacker short of signing an entire defense as well. On offense, they addressed a few key needs-namely offensive line, wide receiver and tight end. On the defensive side of the ball, they added depth along the line and in the secondary. They also brought in a very talented group of linebackers, but may have come up one short on inside ‘backers.
Finally, there are two players that I think fit the mold of sleepers in this class. Whether or not they make a huge impact in the future remains to be seen, but for now I like their upside relative to where the recruiting sites ranked them.
Deeb appears to be criminally underrated by the major services, likely due to playing at a smaller school and not really impressing scouts until his senior season. He has the potential to be a multi-year starter at the Will LB spot. He reminds me a bit of Carlo Calabrese, but with better pass coverage skills. One of the experts said it succinctly-Deeb just looks like a linebacker.
Kinlaw was ranked higher by a few of the services over the summer, but tumbled a bit after breaking his leg for the second time in as many seasons. He returned about halfway through his team's season, and made his presence felt immediately by scoring a TD on his first carry of the year. He is a versatile athlete and will first get a look at corner, but could move to offense if needed.