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Notre Dame Football 2014 Recruiting – National Signing Day Class Overview

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Coach Brian Kelly and his staff welcome the 2014 recruiting class after months of work to get them on board.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports


With another national signing day in the books, Coach Brian Kelly and his staff finished with a consensus Top 10 class (based on 247's composite rankings). With 23 signees, the staff focused on Power (Offensive/Defensive Line) and Big Skill (Tight End/Linebackers) and delivered on their goal.

While many might be disappointed in this class-due to both missing out on some high profile targets late in the game and not measuring up to the 2013 class-this class will provide depth and talent that will pay dividends for the next four or five seasons.

Here are Coach Brian Kelly's thoughts on this class from yesterday's presser:

Coach Kelly On WatchND Signing Day Show (via WatchND)

The GIF-off to express your feelings on this class can now commence.

This class features two early-entries in WR Justin Brent and DE Andrew Trumbetti.


Recruiting Class Rankings:

ESPN: 11th (10 - ESPN 300; 15 - 4 star, 8 - 3 star)

Scout: 6th (4 - Top 100; 1 - 5 star, 15 - 4 star, 7 - 3 star)

Rivals: 11th (4 - Top 100; 1 - 5 star, 10 - 4 star, 12 - 3 star)

247Sports: 10th (11 - Top 247, 16 - 4 star, 7 - 3 star)

Recruit Map:

OFD Grades:

Now, on to the class.

We are continuing our super-scientific grading system for the Notre Dame recruiting class. Our judging panel includes Eric, 4pointshooter, alstein, pburns2010 and myself. As a sneak peak, here are the averages handed out by each member of the staff:

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

Eric Murtaugh








Jim Miesle


Overall Average




Irish Offense Signees
Score Player City/State Ht/Wt. Position 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.907 DeShone Kizer Toledo, OH 6-5/207 Quarterback
.953 Justin Brent Speedway, IN 6-3/190 Wideout
.923 Corey Holmes Ft. Lauderdale, FL 6-2/175 Wideout
.903 Nic Weishar Chicago, IL 6-5/223 Tight End
.894 Tyler Luatua La Mirada, CA 6-4/230 Tight End
.892 Jimmy Byrne Cleveland, OH 6-4/290 Offensive Line
.912 Sam Mustipher Olney, MD 6-3/285 Offensive Line
.967 Quenton Nelson Red Bank, NJ 6-5/295 Offensive Line
.947 Alex Bars Nashville, TN 6-6/309 Offensive Line


DeShone Kizer (Toledo, OH - Central Catholic) - 6'5"/207: 85


Justin Brent (Speedway, IN - Speedway) - 6'3"/190: 93

Corey Holmes (Ft. Lauderdale, FL - St. Thomas Aquinas): 88


Nic Weishar (Midlothian, IL - Marist) - 6'5"/215: 91

Tyler Luatua (La Mirada, CA - La Mirada) - 6'4"/230: 88


Jimmy Byrne (Cleveland, OH - St. Ignatius) - 6'4"/275/5.10: 85

Sam Mustipher (Olney, MD - Our Lady of Good Councel) - 6'4"/285/5.10: 87

Quenton Nelson (Red Bank, NJ - Red Bank Catholic) - 6'5"/295: 94

Alex Bars (Nashville, TN - Montgomery Bell Academy) - 6'6"/287: 91



Irish Defense Signees
Score Player State Ht/Wt. Position 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.898 Grant Blakenship The Colony, TX 6-6/252 Defensive End
.860 Jonathan Bonner Chesterfield, MO 6-4/250 Defensive End
.853 Kolin Hill Schertz, TX 6-2/220 Defensive End
.934 Andrew Trumbetti Demarest, NJ 6-5/250 Defensive End
.840 Jhonathon Williams Berrien Springs, MI 6-6/237 Defensive End
.906 Jay Hayes Brooklyn, NY 6-5/260 Defensive Tackle
.837 Pete Mokwuah Staten Island, NY 6-5/305 Defensive Tackle
.892 Daniel Cage Cincinnati, OH 6-3/295 Defensive Tackle
.972 Nyles Morgan Crete, IL 6-1/225 Linebacker
.883 Greer Martini Woodberry Forest, VA 6-3/232 Linebacker
.872 Nile Sykes Lombard, IL 6-2/223 Linebacker
.926 Nick Watkins Dallas, TX 6-1/185 Cornerback
.896 Drue Tranquill Ft. Wayne, IN 6-2/210 Safety
.805 Tyler Newsome Carrollton, GA 6-3/190 Punter


Grant Blankenship (The Colony, TX - The Colony) - 6'5"/235/4.75: 84

Jonathan Bonner (Chesterfield, MO - Parkway Central) - 6'4"/250/4.80: 85

Kolin Hill (Schertz, TX - Samuel Clemens) - 6'2"/220: 87

Andrew Trumbetti (Demarest, NJ - Demarest) - 6'5"/250: 93

Jhonathon Williams (Berrien Springs, MI - Berrien Springs) - 6'6"/237: 85


Jay Hayes (Brooklyn, NY - Poly Prep) - 6'5"/270: 91

Pete Mokwuah (Staten Island, NY - St. Joseph by the Sea) - 6'5"/305: 85

Daniel Cage (Cincinnati, OH - Winton Woods) - 6'3"/290: 86


Nyles Morgan (Crete, IL - Crete-Monee) - 6'1"/225: 96

Greer Martini (Woodberry Forest, VA - Woodberry Forest) - 6'3"/232: 83

Nile Sykes (Lombard, IL - Montini) - 6'2"/223: 88


Nick Watkins (Dallas, TX - Bishop Dunne) - 6'1"/185/4.50: 91

Drue Tranquill (Ft. Wayne, IN - Carroll) - 6'2"/210/4.50: 85


Tyler Newsome (Carrollton, GA - Carrollton) - 6'3"/190: 87


Overall Comments:

If I were to describe this class in one word, it would be: Upside. So many players signed in this class have an enormous amount of potential. It will be up to the coaching staff to develop these young men and help them realize that potential.

I can understand some of the undercurrents of disappointment voiced by fans. To have a class with a primary focus away from skill position players (and focused on "Power" and "Big Skill"). There is an old adage in football that states you win the game in the trenches. This recruiting class goes a long way in adding key depth along both lines.

Addressing Needs: A

Throughout this recruiting cycle, the lack of depth along the defensive front seven was discussed time and time again. Adding 4 offensive linemen and 11 guys combined between the defensive line and linebackers, the staff did a phenomenal job here.

Home Run Factor: C+

The staff was in it late with several high profile prospects (among the 150+ offers put out this year), including top quarterback Kyle Allen and signing day announcers Juju Smith, Michiah Quick and Braden Smith. Missing out on this group of high 4 star and 5 star athletes will tend to leave fans wanting a bit more. Most of the highest rated recruits in this class (Nelson, Brent, Trumbetti) were early commits that rose through the rankings as summer camps and senior seasons wore on-which speaks volumes as to the ability to identify talent.

Immediate Impact: B

There isn't a huge need for freshman to step in and contribute right away in 2014. In the positions of need (LB, DL) there are plenty of options available for the staff. From this class, I can see Brent play on offense and Cage, Trumbetti, Hayes, Morgan and Watkins on defense.

Most likely to be a Household Name by October: Andrew Trumbetti

Since Trumbetti is an early enrollee, he has the benefit of spring practice and 8 months of adding weight and conditioning under the supervision of Paul Longo. He should have every opportunity to earn a spot in the DE rotation as a freshman. I can see him getting 15+ snaps a game, especially on passing downs where his only responsibility will be to rush the passer.

Biggest Sleepers: Jhonny Williams and Kolin Hill

No surprise that I picked two late additions to the 2014 class as the biggest sleepers in the class. Jhonny Williams is the definition of a raw prospect. He has phenomenal size and speed, with plenty of room to add weight. He didn't play against great competition in high school and being relatively new to the game still needs plenty of work on fundamentals and technique. He has a similar frame to current OLB/DE hybrid players Ishaq Williams and Romeo Okwara. Given the development of those two players, I think he can have a similar career trajectory.

Kolin Hill burst on the scene late thanks to a great senior year. I think he is an ideal fit for a pass rushing outside linebacker who can also play in space. Being a bit of a late bloomer may have hurt the number of offers he received and his recruiting rankings, but may give him a bit of a chip on his shoulder to prove the doubters wrong. I am really looking forward to seeing him in action, and it will be interesting to see how he is utilized in new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder's system.