National signing day has come and gone and according to rivals.com Notre Dame had the 10th best recruiting class in the nation with a total of 23 prospects signed to play for the Irish. These 23 high school players come from 14 different states around the country. Ohio is the leading state with four recruits followed by California with three. Four different states have two players from each and one player from eight different states. In this group we have six defensive linemen, four defensive backs, four linebackers, three offensive linemen, two wide receivers, one quarterback, one running back, one tight end, and a kicker/punter.
As you can see through this breakdown the Irish coaching staff put a heavy emphasis on recruiting to the defensive side of the ball. As a fan who saw the Irish give away countless leads, along with not getting big stops when needed, and struggling to get off the field on third down, I could not be more pleased to see this many recruits coming in together at the same time. This should allow these youngsters to learn the scheme and grow together as a unit as time goes on, and with this recruiting class, the defense has potential in the years to come for the Irish.Five of the recruits were early high school graduates and have already enrolled in classes for this spring semester and will be in spring practice. Kyle Brindza (K), Brad Carrico (DL), Everett Golson (QB), Aaron Lynch (DL), and Ishaq Williams (LB) are the five that are already on campus. The other 18 have officially signed their letters of intent.
Two of the recruits are 5 star prospects and both are on the defensive side. Stephon Tuitt is 6’5” 260lbs and could be a force to reckon with starting early in his career. Physically he appears to look like an experienced college player rather than someone who is only a recruit. He is big enough to the point where his future may be at defensive tackle, but for his size his speed is impeccable. He uses his weight extremely well and has great feet and it should allow him to cause match up issues against some of the best offensive linemen in college football. His versatility is key to being a big contributor for the Irish during his time in South Bend. If he goes along with what is best for the team and willing to possibly learn a different position, he could see playing time almost immediately and could begin making strong impacts on the defensive side of the ball.
Ishaq Williams also could find himself at defensive end if he bulks up a little bit as he could use some more strength and weight training will be very important for him to get stronger because that is about the only area he could use some improvement. He has great speed, athleticism, and his intensity is unmatched for someone at his age. His speed is what could make him dangerous at linebacker as he has the ability to run down the quickest of backs and also has the determination to fight through blocks and never quit on a play. Williams is the total package and it will be interesting to see where he ultimately ends up on the defense for the Irish, but whether it be linebacker or defensive end, this kid has the potential to be a very special player. Overall we are pleased with the recruiting class Coach Kelly and his staff have been able to bring in this season and we only see it continuing to get better as time goes on. GO IRISH!