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Notre Dame Football Recruiting 2012: Deciphering Defensive Backs, Part 2

Welcome to the fifth 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.

The grades for DBs, Part 1 can be found here.

This installment focuses on the remaining defensive backs: S Elijah Shumate, S C.J. Prosise and S/ATH Nicky Baratti.

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

S Elijah Shumate

Ramsey, NJ - Don Bosco -- 6'1"/185/4.50

OFD Average: 89

Elijah Shumate Don Bosco - NJ (via MrGordon550)

More after the jump.

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

Out of Don Bosco Prep in New Jersey, Elijah Shumate. Here is a young man who played on the best high school team, well coached, Coach Toal does an incredible job of teaching and demanding excellence from his kids on a day to day basis, and that's why this was an immediate thing for us, because he's been down that road, excellence in the classroom and on the football field he's already heard that story, so this isn't anything new to Elijah Shumate.

He's a young man that played running back, returned kicks, played safety position. He's got great versatility, can play off the hash, close to the ball, excited about having Elijah with us. He's a young man and his family understood and recognized what Notre Dame could do for him, and we're excited about Elijah Shumate being part of our program.

Whiskey: 90

Shumate is the best specimen of all the safety recruits. He could crack the two deep quickly and turn into a contributor as early as this fall.

Eric: 89

Brawny recruit with great strength and tackling ability. Perfect sized safety with the toughness to play the hybrid outside linebacker role. Good football speed with good instincts. Without elite speed and coverage skills he's just under the elite recruits in the class. Likely the long-term answer at safety.

Burger: 90

Very physical. He looks like a player who likes to play up near the line of scrimmage. With Motta and Slaughter both gone after this season, the Irish need Shumate and the other safety prospects to be ready to play in 2013. It wouldn't surprise me to see him to get more and more live reps as the season goes on to get him ready for the 2013 season, kind of like Bennett Jackson last year.

Jim: 88

Primarily played OLB his senior year of high school and brings a LB mentality to the S position. Probably will be utilized in a very similar fashion to the way Jamoris Slaughter was towards the end of 2011 and has a comparable style. I think he makes an immediate impact on special teams and won't be surprised if he breaks the two-deep at strong safety this fall.

S C.J. Prosise

Woodberry Forest, VA - Woodberry Forest -- 6'2"/190

OFD Average: 84


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

Out of Woodberry Forest, C.J. Prosise, First Team All State and, again, when you talk about and I'm being redundant with each of these young men, but when you talk about the defensive backfield, we wanted versatility back there, because he can return punts, kick offs, and when you're talking about our defense he is somebody that can play half the field. He has to be a great tackler at times, he will be asked to play close to the line of scrimmage, he has the size and the athletic ability and, again, coming from Woodberry Forest, an excellent academic institution, there was a great connection right out of the starting box for us with C.J.

Whiskey: 82

CJ is a great athlete but very raw. He will need some development time but could turn into a solid contributor a couple of years down the road.

Eric: 84

One of the better athletes in the class. Coverage ability and instincts are top-notch. A little bit stiff as a runner and more of a glider. Shows great ball skills and will be a good centerfield-type safety. Needs to get thicker and more physical. Starter potential but likely a couple years away.

Burger: 84

Good size, good speed, and good athleticism. He'll probably play early on special teams, as a gunner on kickoffs and punts and maybe as a returner. He's about the same size as Slaughter, so he should be physically ready to play, but of course will need to a season or two to learn the defense. Look for him to be in the hunt for one of the safety position in 2013.

Jim: 85

I think he will pay immediate dividends on special teams in both kick coverage and as a gunner on the punting unit. Flew a little under the radar because he didn't hit the combine circuit. He has phenomenal ball-skills and doesn't shy away from contact. I think BK and staff found a tremendous talent at free safety and I expect him to be a multi-year starter, beginning as soon as 2013.

S/ATH Nicky Baratti

Spring, TX - Klein Oak -- 6'2"/215/4.46

OFD Average: 83

Nick Baratti - 2012 Notre Dame Football Signee (via NotreDameAthletics)

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

We will start with Nick Baratti. He was named All State in Texas, which is certainly not a feat that is easy to accomplish. He's an extremely versatile athlete. This year he played tight end, he has played quarterback, we see him fitting well in at the safety position for us, an outstanding athlete, great young man and somebody we're excited about here at the University of Notre Dame. Nick Baratti.

Whiskey: 82

Baratti was a Texas HS QB and has great measurables. I still don't buy his 4.46 40 time, but if that's legit he will be a factor on the defense soon. In some ways he kind of reminds me of Hayseed. I just hope he has a similar motor. He has said that the staff wants him to fill that hybrid OLB/S role which could get him on the field quicker.

Eric: 83

If the speed numbers hold up, potentially a game changing athlete. Projected to be a hybrid safety/linebacker and could grow into a great drop ‘backer. The biggest enigma of the class. Scary combination of size and speed. Potential might not be as high as others in the class, but could play before most.

Burger: 83

Another player with a surprising amount of athleticism who might make a mark on special teams early on. He's projected as a safety, but I think there's a decent chance he'll fill out and could be pushed down to linebacker.

Jim: 83

I am beginning to think if you look up "football player" in the dictionary, it might include a picture of Baratti. He played everywhere in high school-QB, TE, RB, WR, S and even punter. And that was in a single game. I don't know where he ends up (hence the ATH tag), but I am sure that he will make an impact on one side of the ball or the other. Did I mention that he had better 10- and 20-yd splits that Ronald Darby in the 40 yd dash?