February 5, 2014 // Recruiting

Meet the 2014 Notre Dame Defensive Recruits

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Nyles Morgan - Notre Dame LB

(Photo: Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports)

As Notre Dame heads into Signing Day 2014 with the hopes of adding to it’s haul, the Irish are set to sign at least 12 defensive recruits today based on current commitments.  Notre Dame would love to add at least three more names to this list in the form of Terrence Alexander, JuJu Smith, and either Courtney Garnett or Daniel Cage, but as we wait for announcements from those recruits, here are recruiting capsules for the 12 defensive recruits already included in the #GoldenArmy14.

[See Also: Meet the 2014 Notre Dame offensive recruits]

Notre Dame has an impressive group of 12 commitments in the class of 2014 with as many as four more prospects on the board – Terrence Alexander, JuJu Smith, Daniel Cage, and Courtney Garnett all still deciding later today where they will be attending college.  Of the already committed prospects though, Notre Dame restocked the trenches with an impressive group of front seven recruits including one of the nation’s elite inside linebackers and a couple of mammoth defensive linemen from New York.  The Irish added an elite cornerback out of the Lone Star state and a versatile safety in the mold of Zeke Motta as well.

Versatility was the name of the game with the Irish defensive recruits in 2014 as you will soon see.  Notre Dame added a number of prospects who are athletically gifted that can help new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder and his defense in a lot of ways over the next 4-5 years.  Will the Irish add to this haul?  We will find out later today.

As you sip you morning coffee, read up on all 12 defensive recruits already expected to sign with Notre Dame later today, their rankings from the various recruiting services, and watch some highlights of them throughout their high school careers.

Grant Blankenship

Grant Blankenship comes to Notre Dame from the Lonestar State very much in the same mold as Troy Niklas did a few years ago.  He’s big, tall, lanky, and can play a lot of positions.   In Notre Dame’s defense, Blankenship will most likely start off as an outside linebacker (CAT), but has the size to grow into a defensive end as well.  In fact, Blankenship’s career path could end up following another lanky defensive end from Texas who came to Notre Dame recently – Kapron Lewis-Moore – if he is able to add on the necessary weight.

Blankenship most likely won’t see much playing time as a true freshmen except for possibly special teams as the coaching staff finds the best place for him.  They recruited him to be an outside linebacker/defensive end, but when Troy Niklas signed with Notre Dame three years ago, no one thought he would develop into the type of tight end that would be able to leave college early for the NFL.  Look for Blankenship to start off his Notre Dame career at the CAT position like Niklas.  From there, it’ll be up to the coaches and Paul Longo to see if he can pack on weight like KLM or if he’ll max out in the 250-260 range and stay at the CAT.


  • Height: 6-6
  • Weight:  250 lbs
  • Hometown/High School: The Colony, TX / The Colony HS
  • 40 Yard Dash: 4.6

Competition: Arkansas, Cal, Iowa, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Texas Tech, Texas, Washington

Rankings & Stars

  • Rivals – 3 star, #29 SDE
  • Scout – 4-star, #10 DE, #91 overall
  • 247 Sports – 3-star, #22 SDE
  • ESPN – 3-star, #43 DE
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