Florida safety Devin Studstill became the 20th commitment in the 2016 Notre Dame football class today when he announced for the Irish. The 247 Composite has the criminally-underrated, 6'1"/185 pound prospect as the #475 overall player, #27 safety, and #69 player in Florida.
Studstill has long been rumored as a Notre Dame lean, but he's a West Virginia legacy and as a South Florida kid Miami obviously was a threat. He's a high-character kid who, like Tristen Hoge, was always going to keep his word and follow through on any visits he said he'd take, no matter how much he may have liked Notre Dame after visiting. Also like Hoge, Studstill will be an early enrollee, joining Daelin Hayes, Khalid Kareem, Spencer Perry, and Kevin Stepherson as exceptionally precocious neophytes in the 2016 class.
So... Why the weak rankings and the so-so cohort? Studstill is a different kind of kid. He didn't do the camp circuit, and he made it very clear to coaches who contacted him earlier in the process that he had a select few schools in mind and wouldn't waste his or their time if they weren't in that group. Don't let the rankings fool you - this kid can flat out play, which you'll see after about ten seconds, maybe less, of viewing his highlight reel. He was reportedly the top guy on Notre Dame's defensive board from the very beginning of this recruiting cycle.
Also, on a trivial note, Notre Dame's last three commitments have been Deon, Daelin, and Devin. I take this as incontrovertible proof that our next commitment will be composite five-star Demetris Robertson. STONE.
Recruiting Service Rankings
Rivals - 3 star (5.7 rating), NR overall, #45 position, #63 in Florida
247 - 4 star (90 rating), #308 overall, #13 position, #37 in Florida
ESPN - 3 star (77 rating), NR overall, #55 position, #116 in Florida
Scout - 3 star, NR overall, #82 position (CB), #104 in Florida
247 Composite - 3 star (0.8700 rating), #475 overall, #27 position, #69 in Florida
In addition to Notre Dame, Studstill holds offers from Louisville, Miami, Michigan State, Penn State, Pitt (Narduzzi liked him in East Lansing and liked him in Pittsburgh), Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, among others. Not every coach listened.
There's a lot to like on this tape. Right from the beginning, man, that closing speed. Whew. And he brings the lumber when he gets there. His pass coverage skills are excellent, his play recognition is really strong, he tackles well, he has plus speed and agility. He even fights off blocks well, as you can see towards the end of the reel. Like I said, it'll take you about ten seconds to figure out why the staff wanted this kid so badly.
About the only think I can think of to work on is that if he really does weigh around 180/185, he'll need to put on some weight to be a credible every-down college safety. But he's an early enrollee, so that could well be taken care of by the time fall practice opens.
With the depth chart situation at Notre Dame - seriously, it's Max Redfield and... - and his status as an early enrollee, I actually could see Studstill having a chance to play next fall. The physical skills are there, and it looks like some of the mental skills and technique are as well. At the very least he'll probably be a depth chart guy and a special teams regular in 2016.
Long Term / Career
Studstill has the potential to be a multi-year starter at safety. It actually wouldn't surprise me at all to see him take over for Redfield in 2017 and stay there. The kid's good.
Welcome to the family, Devin!