Notre Dame received its 24th commitment for the recruiting class of 2015 when California wideout Equanimeous St. Brown announced for Notre Dame today, justifying speculation of a silent commitment that has run rampant since mid-December. St. Brown is listed at 6'5" and 205 pounds; he reports a 4.44 40, a 315-pound bench press, and 445-pound squat. In the 247 Composite, he's ranked as the #160 overall player, the #19 receiver, and the #24 player in California. And as noted above, he has been appointed president of the Finer Things Club™ because, really, does a name get any better than Equanimeous Tristan Imhotep J St. Brown?
St. Brown is a fascinating kid outside of football - his father was a world-class bodybuilder and works out with his sons every week, and his mother is a German native who mandates that Equanimeous and his brothers speak German or French on the ride to school every day. And of course there's the name; he has two younger brothers who are also Division I prospects, Osiris (2017 WR) and Amon-Ra (2018 WR). He also has unquestionably elite physical ability - his combination of size, strength, and speed are extremely rare, and he dazzled at the Rivals Top100 camp last summer. So why isn't he rated higher, you ask? Well, the phrase you hear about him from analysts is the dreaded "if he wants to." Much like Tyler Luatua last year, St. Brown's stock dropped as analysts began to question how hot the fire burns in him.
Recruiting Service Rankings
Rivals - 4 star (5.9 rating), #144 overall, #15 position, #23 in California
247 - 3 star (88 rating), not ranked overall, #51 position, #56 in California
ESPN - 4 star (84 rating), #63 overall, #9 position, #8 in California
Scout - 4 star, #207 overall, #29 position, #28 in California
247 Composite - 4 star (0.9287 rating), #160 overall, #19 position, #24 in California
St. Brown seems to line up almost exclusively at the X spot, or split end, which makes sense given his physicality and speed - and it's also probably his best fit at the next level. He often dwarfs the defender across from him, and isn't shy about using his strength to shuck a press or to drive block on a running play. In fact he looks like he relishes the opportunity for contact without the ball, to go man-to-man in the Feats of Strength. He displays soft hands, consistently catching the ball away from his body, and has a long easy stride that gets up to speed quickly. It's easy to see why he had offers from USC, UCLA, Stanford, Arizona, Arizona State, LSU, Miami, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Utah, and many others.
On the other hand, you can also see a little bit of why he drew interest but no offer from Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Ole Miss, and Oregon, and why USC reportedly backed off over the course of his senior season. Even on this highlight reel you can see some routes where he gets a little sloppy with his cuts, and going through individual game highlights from his senior year it looks like his dedication to blocking kind of comes and goes within the game at times. Drawing another similarity to Luatua, I've seen some rumors that he was dinged up for most of his senior year and it affected his play; that might make sense, since I think his junior highlight reel looked better than his senior reel. No question that he has five-star ability - he'll just need to sharpen his focus to reach his full potential.
Will St. Brown see the field for Notre Dame as a true freshman? It's tough to say. The Irish have a ton of talent at receiver right now and even more coming in - Will Fuller and Corey Robinson are the clear #1's on the outside, and Prosise and Carlisle are 1A and 1B in the slot. After them, Justin Brent, Corey Holmes, and Torii Hunter are already on campus and CJ Sanders, Jalen Guyton, and Miles Boykin join St. Brown in the receiving corps for this recruiting class. On the other hand, the departure from Notre Dame of DaVaris Daniels, the one talent most physically similar - and perhaps mentally, but let's hope not - to St. Brown could open some wiggle room for him. If St. Brown comes in with a chip on his shoulder and the fire lit from day 1, I think he's good enough to earn time; more likely, though, he'll redshirt.
Long Term / Career
I think St. Brown's ceiling is Jeff Samardzjia 2.0. How's that for setting expectations high? He has the same size, sneaky speed (might even be faster), soft hands, everything he needs to be an impossible matchup. If he has Shark's attitude, watch out. Also, in the bigger picture - how much of a nightmare would it be for a defense to face Robinson, St. Brown, and Alize Jones in the red zone? It's just so hard to predict how thoroughly St. Brown will dedicate himself to his craft, and accordingly hard to predict his long-term prospects at Notre Dame. I'll go optimistic, though, and say that this physically and intellectually exceptional athlete will put it all together for the Irish and be a monster by 2017.