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Notre Dame Football Recruiting 2012: Deciphering Defensive Backs, Part 1

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Welcome to the fourth of a five six* part, in-depth series on the 2012 Notre Dame football recruiting class. I unveiled the OFD average grades for the newest members of the Fighting Irish family on the day after NSD.

*with five DBs in the class, one post became a bit too large to completely digest

The grades for QB and RB can be found here.

The grades for OL and LS can be found here.

The grades for DL and LB can be found here.

This installment focuses on the defensive backs (Part 1): CB Tee Shepard and CB/S John Turner.

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 Tee Shepard

(Fresno, CA – Washington Union) -- 6’0"/170/4.60

OFD Average: 95


Tee Shepard 2010 Highlights (via tshepard08)

More after the jump.

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

Tee Shepard out of Fresno, California. Tee is here, an early enrollee and, you know, I think it's been well chronicled, he did not play his senior season but that did not change our feelings about Tee and what he stood for. He's always wanted to be at Notre Dame, he knew that coming here would set him up for the rest of his life. It was great to see him, again, this morning with a smile on his face, excited about being here at Notre Dame and we believe he is the best corner back in the country, and he can come in and compete right away just like all of our freshmen, and he's excited about the challenge, about coming in here now and getting an opportunity to compete as a freshman, Tee Shepard.

Whiskey: 94

An elite corner that will likely start right out of the gate. Tee has been the cornerstone of this class and being an EE will only accelerate his development. I can't wait to watch this kid play for the next few years.

Eric: 97

Incredibly polished corner with phenomenal footwork and ball skills. Heart and soul of the 2012 class. Needs to work on strength and tackling, but has shut-down corner and four-year starting potential. Adept turnover creator who may challenge school interception records.

Burger: 95

Probably the most importamt player in this class. Notre Dame needs impact corners badly, and Tee might have to step in and contribute early. With the loss of Darby, Notre Dame desperately needs Shepard to live up to the recruiting hype. Everything I've seen from him says he will, but you just never know.

Jim: 92

Played mainly field-side corner in high school and will likely stay there in college. He has all the traits that Bob Diaco wants in a corner for his system-physical, sure tackler, solid coverage. Add to that tremendous ball skills and there is no reason not to think that he gets in the CB rotation from day one, if not cementing one of the starting positions by mid-season.


CB/S John Turner

(Indianapolis, IN - Cathedral) -- 6'2"/205/4.50

OFD Average: 78

John Turner - 2010 Highlights (via jdougie3)

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

Out of Cathedral high school the state champs in 2011 in Indianapolis, John Turner. John is a young man that comes from a very, very successful high school football program. Well coached, very disciplined. The high school demands excellence on a day to day basis so if there is a current theme in terms of the kids and what we're looking for, for them to be the right fit here at Notre Dame, John is certainly that. Now there is more to it than that, you have to be a really good football player, too, and we got a chance to spend time with John. He was here on campus, we really loved him in person and in personal workouts, and he carried that on to the field.

He's a young man that's continually getting better and, again, when you talk about the secondary, has the versatility at that position that we really, really like. John Turner.

Whiskey: 78

Turner has good natural ability, he is football smart and he works hard. He also has the ability to play corner if needed. His versatility there makes him a very valuable addition to the class.

Eric: 75

Really good size and decent speed. A bit of a stiff athlete that lack explosiveness. Will be in a dog fight for playing time at safety. Closest thing to a reach in this 2012 class.

Burger: 79

He may not be as talented as the other defensive backs in this class, but if the reports about his speed are true, he could be a very good special teams player who provides solid depth in the secondary. If he gets a shot at starting, it probably won't be until he's an upperclassman, but he could be a guy that surprises everyone and develops into a very good player.

Jim: 79

The offer sheet (Minnesota, Indiana, MAC Schools) won't blow you away and is a bit of an enigma to most fans. He camped at ND over the summer and was told that he would get an offer if he ran a 4.5. He did and the rest is history. He is more of a corner in a safeties' body, which may have hurt his evaluation. He has all the traits-speed, physicality, ball skills-but probably needs some time to develop them. Expect at minimum solid special teams contribution in 2013, but I wouldn't sleep on this kid too much, as I think he could be a very pleasant surprise in a few years.