The month of January is usually packed with drama as the recruiting cycle comes to a close. After an impressive undefeated regular season and an appearance in the College Football Playoff, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish coaching staff was able to wrap up most of the 2019 class during the early signing period. OFD ranks each of the 22 commits and takes a look at who could have an early impact.
22. Linebacker Jack Kiser
The only in state prospect in the 2019 class is Jack Kiser. It may take some time for the Indiana product to adjust to the college game considering the level of competition he played in high school and he didn’t play linebacker full time in high school.
21. Wide receiver Cam Hart
The Maryland native has the ideal frame you covet in a wideout, but some think he could have more upside in the defensive backfield. Notre Dame could use playmakers at the wide receiver position, so the hope is he can step into that roll and make plays.
20. Linebacker JD Bertrand
Many believe size is what kept Bertrand from staying home and playing for the bulldogs. Georgia’s depth chart could have also played a role, but either way, it was a big pick up for Notre Dame. Bertrand is a physical player that will throw his body around and this could help him find a role on special teams early and his career.
19. Defensive Lineman Howard Cross lll
This east coast product has a good frame that could be molded once he gets in a college strength and conditioning program. Watching his film you can see that he’s improved every year and football is in his bloodlines. A lot of potential here but it could be a year or two away.
18. Quarterback Brandon Clark
I believe it’s important to take a quarterback in each cycle to keep the depth chart stocked. This is especially important when you consider how many quarterbacks end up transferring. Clark is a solid prospect that fits what the Notre Dame coaching staff is looking for. Although when you consider who’s in front of him, it’s hard to see him getting on the field anytime soon, barring a series of catastrophic injuries.
17. Offensive lineman John Olmstead
Olmstead vastly improved from his junior to senior year. More improvement is needed if he’s going to crack the rotation in years to come, but at the very least he brings solid depth to what has been the strongest position within the program.
16. Wide receiver Kendall Abdur-Rahman
The athleticism is definitely there for Abdur-Rahman to be a dynamic wide receiver, but he played quarterback throughout his high school career. If he can adapt to the receiver position, the potential is there. This will be a fun one to watch develop.
15. Cornerback KJ Wallace
Some may question his size but you can’t question his heart. Wallace plays with an edge and that’s exactly what you look for in a cornerback. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him on special teams as a freshman and finding his way into the defensive back rotation shortly after that.
14. Punter Jay Bramblett
The one player in this class that will undoubtedly be a starter next fall against Louisville. There are big shoes to fill replacing Tyler Newsome, but the coaching staff has done a good job of finding excellent specialists during the Brian Kelly era. I’m confident this young man will have an excellent career in South Bend.
13. Linebacker Osita Ekwonu
This is a player that can get down hill and drive through the ball carrier. Ekwonu loves contact and his days as a running back in high school will serve him well at linebacker. He hits the gap fast and decisively and is another special teams candidate this fall.
12. Running back Kyren Williams
When you look at the depth chart it’s not hard to see a path for Williams to get on the field early in his Notre Dame career. He may not have the breakaway speed that Dexter Williams possessed, but he’s just a good all-around running back. His ability to catch the ball out of the backfield could be a major weapon help him get on the field early.
11. Safety Litchfield Ajavon
Ajavon may not be the tallest or fastest player at the safety position but a good knowledge of the game and solid fundamentals help make up for that. The Virginia native is rarely caught out of position or taking bad angles. You can tell by watching his film that he loves to play the game.
10. Defensive lineman Hunter Spears
Injuries have been a setback for Spears but the upside is obvious. He could be a big-time contributor on the edge or the interior. Strength and conditioning will be very important here for not only coming back from the injuries, but reshaping his body as well. If he can do that, Notre Dame found a good one.
9. Linebacker Marist Liufau
A very underrated prospect, who burst on the scene late in the process. Everyone has heard the comparisons to Alohi Gilman and they’re justified. I truly believe he is just scratching the surface of his potential. A surefire four star prospect.
8. Cornerback Isaiah Rutherford
This was a recruitment that Notre Dame appeared to be out of during the summer but the coaching staff was able to work their way back in with this California native. Rutherford possesses great size and length, he also has that edge you want in a corner. It probably won’t be this year, but it won’t be long before this kid is starting.
7. Defensive lineman Nana Osafo-Mensah
This was a big win for the Notre Dame coaching staff and it’s very possible he’ll be utilized next fall in third-down situations because of his tremendous pass rush ability. If I had to make a comparison to a current player on the roster it would be Julian Okwara, due to his ability to rush the passer and drop back into coverage.
6. Offensive lineman Quinn Carroll
This kid just looks like a Notre Dame offensive lineman. He had offers from nearly every major program in the country. I would classify Carroll as a road grader and I think he’ll have a tremendous career in South Bend as an interior lineman.
5. Defensive lineman Jacob Lacey
The first player to commit in the 2019 class and he never wavered. As a senior, Lacey was an absolute force. A kid with a good head on his shoulders, who I expect to be in the rotation next year and a multi-year starter after that.
4. Defensive lineman Isaiah Foskey
The last addition to Notre Dame’s 2019 class was a good one. An explosive player off the edge, Foskey adds a lot to an already talented defensive line class. He does a great job of getting off the snap and should have a very productive career at Notre Dame.
3. Offensive lineman Andrew Kristofic
An argument could be made that he has the most upside of any player in the 2019 class. I think he could be next in a long line of terrific left tackles we’ve seen at Notre Dame in the last decade.
2. Offensive lineman Zeke Correll
I absolutely love the way this kid plays. Correll has a mean streak in him and it shows on the field. While it’s possible he could play any of the three interior positions, it’s safe to assume that Center is where he’ll land.
1. Safety Kyle Hamilton
Hamilton is the one player in this class that I would truly categorize as a five-star prospect. I believe Hamilton will be a star and the sky is the limit for him. The great news is you can tell he’s a Notre Dame kid when you hear him speak. A lot of potential in the classroom and on the field for this young man.