clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2016 Football Recruiting: Notre Dame Signing Day In Review

NSD grades today before positional breakdowns and comments for each unit.

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame finished off the 2016 recruiting cycle today by securing the 15th-rated class, according to the 247 Composite rankings, down from 13th last year; the class fares slightly better by average recruit rating, ranking 13th by that measure. The Irish staff is confident that they found some significantly underrated talent; if they hit on those projections at any kind of decent rate this class will look much better in a couple of years. If they don't...

The elephant in the room here is the decision of Georgia athlete Demetris Robertson, #14 overall in the 247 Composite and owner of a very good chance to be a Day 1 contributor - or even starter - at wide receiver for Notre Dame. He didn't sign with anyone yesterday; every indication is that the Irish are still firmly in front for his services, but his recruitment has been full of misdirection and muddy water, so it's hard to know what to think at this point. He won't change the rankings picture that dramatically all by himself - if he does sign with Notre Dame, the class will move all the way up to 14th - but he would change the perception of this class and he would be the kind of gamebreaker we don't see too often in South Bend. Let's hope.

Among the guys who did sign today, Notre Dame today picked up a group of 23 recruits that run the gamut from developmental prospects to game-ready five-star talent, with the class balanced very carefully across nearly every position.

The Robertson saga, as well as the inability to draw Ben Davis and Jeff McCulloch away from the hometown teams or break the Heaven's Gate pipeline Fresno-to-Norman pipeline for Caleb Kelly, overshadowed the fact that for the second straight year the Notre Dame staff put together and extraordinarily drama-free class. Not even a hint of a decommitment along the way.

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

Coach Kelly On WatchND Signing Day Show (via WatchND)

In the grand OneFootDown tradition, we implore you to share your feelings on this class via a clever, insightful, and preferably hilarious - we'll allow darkly hilarious, if that's your bent - GIF in the comment thread. Like this:

Probably having more fun than I should.

There were five early enrollees in this class who didn't need to fax in letters of intent because, you know, they're already here: Daelin Hayes, Khalid Kareem, Spencer Perry, Kevin Stepherson, and Devin Studstill.


Recruiting Class Rankings:

Click the class ranking to see the overall class ranks for that service, and click the breakdown in parentheses to see that service's list of Notre Dame signees.

ESPN: 16th (6 ESPN 300 players; 0 5 star, 9 4 star, 13 3 star, 1 2 star)

Scout: 13th (10 Top 300 players; 0 5 star, 11 4 star, 12 3 star)

Rivals: 12th (6 Rivals 250 players; 1 5 star, 12 4 star, 10 3 star)

247: 12th (7 Top 247 players; 1 5 star, 10 4 star, 12 3 star)

247 Composite: 15th (7 Top 247 players; 0 5 star, 10 4 star, 13 3 star)

OFD Grades:

Now, on to the class grades. We'll use the LEGEN... wait for it... DARY OneFootDown grading scale.

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 Heights/Weights as listed on

Our judging panel includes Eric, Jamie, and yours truly. We'll break things down one position group at a time over the next week, but as a sneak peak, here are the class averages handed out by each member of the staff:

Staff Offense Grade Defense Grade Overall Grade
Eric 87.5 86.2 86.8
Jamie 89.4 87.2 88.2
Brendan 89.3 87.6 88.3
Overall 88.7 87.0 87.8


Offense Grades

Irish Offense Signees
247C Score Player City/State Ht/Wt. Position 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.982 Tommy Kraemer Cincinnati, OH 6-5/309 Offensive Line
.960 Liam Eichenberg Cleveland, OH 6-6/290 Offensive Line
.947 Javon McKinley Corona, CA 6-2/194 Wide Receiver
.926 Chase Claypool Abbotsford, BC 6-5/205 Wide Receiver
.893 Tony Jones Jr. Bradenton, FL 5-11/216 Running Back
.880 Parker Boudreaux Orlando, FL 6-4/287 Offensive Line
.868 Ian Book El Dorado Hills, CA 6-1/200 Quaterback
.862 Kevin Stepherson Jacksonville, FL 5-11/171 Wide Receiver
.853 Deon McIntosh Fort Lauderdale, FL 5-11/175 Running Back
.815 John Shannon Wilmette, IL 6-2/218 Long Snapper


Ian Book - 86


Tony Jones - 89

Deon McIntosh - 81


Chase Claypool - 90

Javon McKinley - 92

Kevin Stepherson - 84


Parker Boudreaux - 91

Liam Eichenberg - 93

Tommy Kraemer - 96

John Shannon (LS) - 85


Defense Grades

Irish Defense Signees
247C Score Player State Ht/Wt. Position 1* 2* 3* 4* 5*
.937 Daelin Hayes Ann Arbor, MI 6-4/249 DE/LB
.921 Khalid Kareem Farmington, MI 6-4/260 Defensive End
.909 Troy Pride Greer, SC 6-0/175 Cornerback
.898 Julian Okwara Charlotte, NC 6-4/220 Defensive End
.895 Donte Vaughn Memphis, TN 6-3/192 Cornerback
.875 Jonathan Jones Orlando, FL 6-0/225 Linebacker
.872 Jalen Elliott Chesterfield, VA 6-1/175 Cornerback
.871 Devin Studstill Palm Beach Gardens, FL 6-1/180 Safety
.871 Julian Love La Grange Park, IL 5-11/175 Cornerback
.871 DJ Morgan Bellflower, CA 6-3/205 Safety
.867 Spencer Perry Bradenton, FL 6-3/202 Safety
.859 Ade Ogundeji Walled Lake, MI 6-5/225 LB/DE
.842 Jamir Jones Rochester, NY 6-3/231 Linebacker


Khalid Kareem - 92

Julian Okwara -  90

Ade Ogundeji - 83


Daelin Hayes - 91

Jamir Jones - 87

Jonathan Jones - 85


Jalen Elliott - 87

Julian Love - 88

Troy Pride - 89

Donte Vaughn - 86


DJ Morgan - 78

Spencer Perry - 83

Devin Studstill - 92


Overall Comments:

How concerned should we be that there are no defensive tackle or tight end recruits in this class?

Not everyone will agree with me here, but I'll say not very on either count. Even with Luatua transferring out, the tight end position is stocked and we have solid commitments from the #1 and #4 tight ends in the 2017 class. Probably no position on the team should engender less concern right now. At defensive tackle, the staff was determined to only take an immediate impact kid, like Rashan Gary or Dexter Lawrence, and otherwise stand on what they already have. I understand the fans who say you should take one or two tackles every year regardless, but I don't think it was a necessity in this class - we have eight scholarship defensive tackles with multiple years of eligibility. Next year, expect Notre Dame to cast a broader net at this position, but this year I think we're fine.

Why can't Kelly close?

Kelly can close perfectly well - he just closed the majority of his guys from April through January.

OK, fine, but why can't Kelly close more five stars?

I don't know. That's a good question; my first hunch is that it has something to do with the on-field product not being consistently excellent - hopefully a strong 2016 season will fix that - and it has something to do with a much smaller pool of talent to pick from, filled with guys who don't want or can't be a fit for Notre Dame. And there could very well be something systemic about our recruiting approach too, but I don't know how much harder the staff could've worked in this cycle. Bottom line: If you win them, they will come.

Addressing Needs: A

This class was a fantastic way to address needs on the roster. Even the guys we were waiting on and ultimately lost yesterday - Davis, Kelly, and McCulloch - were more of a luxury than a need. I almost marked this an A- because I personally would've liked to see one or two more highly-rated secondary guys, but then again the staff believes they got those guys in Studstill and Pride and I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt here.

Home Run Factor: B+

Kraemer, Eichenberg, McKinley, Hayes, and Kareem are all really big gets. Kraemer and Hayes are our two five-stars, and Eichenberg, McKinley, and Kareem are elite four-stars. All play a position of need as well; offensive tackle is always a need, defensive end is always a need, and McKinley replenishes a receiving corps that lost Will Fuller, Chris Brown, and Jalen Guyton.

If we get Robertson, I'll upgrade this to an A-.

Immediate Impact: B-

Kareem and Studstill are guys I feel pretty confident will make an early impact; that's helpful with both, of course, but doubly so with Studstill as he plays a position of dire and immediate need. Kraemer has a chance to make the two deep. That's about it for immediate impact, probably, which is more a testament of how our overall roster health has improved than anything else. Probably.

Most Likely to Cause a Brawl in the OFD Conference Room: Jonathan Jones

I won't say who's who yet - you'll have to stay tuned for our position group discussion for linebackers, probably next week. But there was an eight-point range in the rankings for Jones, which is pretty substantial. The plot thickens...

Most Likely to Be a Household Name by October: Devin Studstill

I think Studstill has a chance to grab a starting spot during 2016. Things will have to come together pretty quickly for him and he'll have to beat out Mykelti Williams, but there's a chance. He is just such a complete player already, and he's at such a position of need, that I can't imagine him staying off the field for too long.

Biggest Sleepers: Ian Book and Julian Love

Ian Book is not your typical three star - he's a guy that Mike Sanford has wanted badly for two years because he saw something in this kid. He tore up some excellent competition in California. Given how good his game looks right now, it wouldn't surprise me at all if he ultimately goes on to contribute significantly and, hey, maybe even start a few games. I think we'll all be pleasantly surprised when we see him in action.

On defense, I'd pick Julian Love. There are lots of guys in this class with potential and upside who could be labeled as "sleepers," but I just feel like our fans devalue him too much because of his rankings. This kid can play, and will turn some heads when he gets to the field. STONE.