Coach Brian Kelly received his 9th verbal commitment for the 2015 class today from LB Josh Barajas (Merrillville, IN - Andrean). He is listed at 6'3"/210 lbs.
Barajas previously visited South Bend for Junior Day in early March where he picked up his offer from Brian Kelly and staff. He was previously committed to Penn State and chose Notre Dame over offers from Michigan, Wisconsin, Oregon and Tennessee.
Recruiting Service Rankings:
ESPN - 4 star (#9 ILB, #2 IN), 80 Grade (#283 Overall)
Rivals - 4 star (#14 OLB, #2 IN), 5.8 Grade (#206 Overall)
Scout - 4 star (#13 OLB), #113 Overall
247Sports - 4 star (#2 ILB, #1 IN), 93 Grade (#157 Overall)
247Sports Composite Score - 4 star (0.9244, #168 Overall (#4 ILB, #1 IN)
Barajas enters a suddenly crowded depth chart at inside linebacker for the Irish. Depending on his continued development and weight gain, he could easily find a spot on special teams as a true freshman. However, it is just as likely that he sits out a year while retaining eligibility in order to add weight and learn the defense.
Barajas is a very nice prospect from right in Notre Dame's back yard. His highlights show him as a very instinctual player at the prep level, having a knack for finding the ball carrier. One of his best assets is his ability to play inside out or in space without issues.
He plays in one of the smaller divisions in Indiana, which makes him a physical mismatch at the high school level, so we may not get a better idea on his true ceiling until he camps over the summer. He probably projects to the WILL linebacker spot in the old vernacular, but is athletic enough to play any of the spots in Brian VanGorder's retooled defense.
Welcome to Notre Dame Josh!