If today were Signing Day, Notre Dame’s #GoldenArmy14 would have four members in the final Rivals 100 for this year’s class released on Monday – offensive linemen Quenton Neslon and Alex Bars, wide receiver and early enrollee Justin Brent, and inside linebacker Nyles Morgan.
That of course can change positively and negatively as Signing Day approaches as we’ve seen over the years, but even if the Irish don’t add and keep all current commitments, landing four top 100 athletes is a pretty good haul.
- Quenton Nelson (5-star, #29 overall) – dropped a few spots from the previous rankings but maintained his 5th star and still ranks as the headler in this year’s class according to Rivals. Nelson more than held his own at the Army All-American Bowl solidifying his spot as one of the best OT in this year’s class.
- Nyles Morgan (4-star, #72 overall) – Moved up a few spots from his last ranking after a good showing in San Antonio at the All-American Bowl. Morgan is going to be counted on early on most likely as the star of the linebacker class that is ranked among the nation’s best.
- Justin Brent (4-star, #84 overall) – Brent probably could have moved up higher in the rankings if he played the camp circuit more and didn’t commit as early as he did because every camp he was at, he was impressive at – especially at the Opening. Brent enrolled early at Notre Dame last week and will challenge for playing time as a freshman.
- Alex Bars (4-star, #98 overall) – Saw his stock drop quite a bit after a rough start to the practice week at the Under Armour Bowl. By all accounts Bars rebounded nicely, but since that was his first showing against elite competition it unfortunately hurt his rankings quite a bit.
Notre Dame has the potential to add to their haul of top 100 prospects with two more high profile targets in the Rivals 100. Safety JuJu Smith ranks in at #24 with 5-stars and wide receiver Michiah Quick at #76 with 4-stars. Notre Dame is not considered the favorite for either of these California recruits at this time although the Irish do figure to at least be part of their consideration until the end and the Irish staff will be working tirelessly to pull off a surprise or two on Signing Day.
None of Notre Dame’s 2013 opponents have more top 100 recruits than Notre Dame at this time although with 20 of the top 100 still uncommitted, that could certainly change between now and Signing Day. Florida State, fresh off of their national championship, currently has three commits in the top 100, Stanford and Michigan both have two, and USC has just one.
Last year’s Notre Dame recruiting class featured an impressive six members in the top 100 although one never did enroll. Jaylon Smith, Greg Bryant, Max Redfield, Steve Elmer, John Montelus, and Edie Vanderdoes made the final Rivals 100 last year. Of the five remaining top 100 recruits, three are expected to starter next year – Smith, Elmer, and Redfield – while Bryant is expected to challenge Tarean Folston and CamMcDaniel for the top spot at running back and Montelus projects to be a starter in 2015 at the latest.
Notre Dame 2014 haul is however, looking much more impressive than its Class of 2012 Rivals 100 members – Gunner Kiel and Tee Shepard. Kiel transfered after redshirting as a freshman and Shepard never made it to his first spring practice before leaving the University in the spring of 2012.