Now that all of the troops in the #GoldenArmy14 have signed their letters of intent, we will be evaluating the class of 2014 position by position assessing who the Irish signed, who they missed, and how they addressed their needs.
Today we will start at the marquee position for every program – quarterback.
Who Notre Dame got: Notre Dame signed one quarterback in the class of 2014 – Deshone Kizer from Toledo, Ohio. Kizer is a tall, mobile, and has a big arm. Kizer is raw though. At the Elite 11 camp he flashed potential but also showed a lot of inconsistency according to the coaches at the event. Brian Kelly and Matt LeFleur are going to need to work a lot with Kizer on his mechanics and footwork, but Kizer has all of the tools to be a dominant college quarterback once he puts it all together.
Physical tools aside, Kizer also has the intangibles you want in a quarterback. He is showed that he is a winner on the field as a high school quarterback at Toledo Central Catholic. Kizer guided Central Catholic to a state championship in 2012 and the regional finals in 2013 before being upset in the Regional state finals in 2013.
Who Notre Dame missed: Notre Dame locked up Kizer pretty early but did have some offers out to other elite quarterbacks such as 5-star Kyle Allen and 4-star David Cornwell, but Kizer was one of the highest quarterbacks on their board so I wouldn’t say the Irish missed out on any one at quarterback this year.
How Notre Dame addressed their needs: Notre Dame wanted to sign one quarterback this year that fit the type of offense Brian Kelly wants Notre Dame to run. Mission accomplished. Kizer will need some coaching and development since he is still raw, but that is exactly what Notre Dame needed in this class. With two years of eligibility left for Everett Golson and four for Malik Zaire, Notre Dame didn’t need a quarterback who was capable of stepping foot on campus and challenging for a starting role from day one.
With Kizer, Notre Dame got a quarterback tailor-made for its offense who will need some time to develop that will round out the Notre Dame quarterback depth chart perfectly. There was some talk about taking two quarterbacks in this class at one point, but with Kizer rounding out the depth chart that would have just been overkill.
Early needs for class of 2015: Notre Dame will have two quarterbacks with at least three years of eligibility on their roster heading into the 2015 season with Zaire and Kizer. Additionally, Everett Golson will have the option of a 5th year in 2015 as well. Still, Brian Kelly made it a priority to add a quarterback for the class of 2015 and has already locked up a commitment from California native Blake Barnett.
Since committing to Notre Dame, Barnett has lit up the camp circuit and will compete in the Elite 11 competition over the summer just as Kizer did a year ago. By the time all is said and done, Barnett could end up with being a 5-star prospect with the way his stock has been on the rise the last few months. With Barnett on board, Notre Dame is all done recruiting at the position for 2015 already.
Position Grade (A) : I really don’t think Notre Dame could have done much better recruiting at quarterback this year than by adding Deshone Kizer. The Irish landed a quarterback that fits in perfectly with what they want to do on the field and embodies exactly what they are looking for in their student athletes off of it.