February 8, 2014 // Recruiting

Notre Dame’s 2015 Recruiting Class off to Early Start

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(Photo: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports)

(Photo: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports)

Notre Dame just wrapped up a top 10 recruiting class last week by signing 23 new recruits on Wednesday.  The class of 2015, however, is off to the kind of start that could see Notre Dame celebrating an even higher rated class a year from now.

[Related: Meet Notre Dame's 2014 offensive recruits]

Just a few days following the official close to the class of 2014, Brian Kelly and the Notre Dame coaching staff already have three elite level recruits committed to the class of 2015 – a group that has taken on the moniker of the #ShamrockSoldiers15.   At this rate, the Shamrock Soldiers are going to fortify the troops of the #GoldenArmy with what could be a loaded class.

[Related: Meet Notre Dame's 2014 offensive recruits]

It is still early, but all three commitments for 2015 are ranked in the early Rivals Top 250 rankings.

  • Blake Barnett (QB) – #2 dual-threat QB, #61 overall – Barnett has seen his stock rise over the last couple months since committing to Notre Dame and earning his spot in the Elite 11 finals this summer.  With a great senior season and a strong showing in the Elite 11 competition, Barnett is on a steady course for a 5th star before all is said and done.   Right now 247 Sports doesn’t have Barnett ranked in the top 100 yet, but ESPN does.
  • Jerry Tillery (OT) – #11 OT, #109 overallNotre Dame’s first commitment for the class of 2015, Tillery is a long long Notre Dame fan from Louisiana would couldn’t wait to commit to Notre Dame once offered a scholarship by Brian Kelly.
  • Tristen Hoge (OG) – #7 OG, #129 overall – It takes a lot to get noticed by recruiting services this early in the process when you hail from Idaho, but Hoge is widely considered one of the best guards in the country heading into his senior season already.  Hoge committed to Notre Dame in December over a lot of other elite offers.  ESPN and 247 both have Hoge ranked even higher actually with both ranking him inside the top 100.

What makes the trio above even better for Notre Dame is that all three plan on graduating high school in December 2014 and enrolling early at Notre Dame next January like Justin Brent and Andrew Trumbetti did last month for the class of 2014.

The trio Notre Dame has committed already is one of the best starts the Irish have had in recent history in terms of the quality of the recruits already committed.  Notre Dame has its sights set on a couple local area recruits from programs Notre Dame has success with in the past that could really set this class up for being special.

Jashon Cornell, the #1 ranked overall prospect in the country by ESPN, plays for Cretin Derham in Minnesota – the same program that produced Notre Dame’s most prolific wide receiver in school history, Michael Floyd, as well as former Irish offensive lineman Ryan Harris and fullback Rashon Powers-Neal.   While Notre Dame has had some great luck at Cretin Derham, Notre Dame most recently was unable to get Sentreal Henderson, the nation’s #1 overall recruit by some services, in 2010.

In addition to Cornell, Justin Hilliard, an elite inside linebacker from St. Xavier HS in Cincinnati, Ohio is high on Notre Dame’s board.   Luke Massa and Matt James both played for St. Xavier where Brian Kelly has great ties from his years at Cincinnati.

For Notre Dame to capitalize on this momentum though, the Irish will need to will need to back things up on the field in 2014.  Last year Notre Dame got off to a fast start on the heels of their run to the national championship game, but momentum stalled just as the Notre Dame offense did many times in the red-zone during the 2013 season.  Had Notre Dame finished better than 9-4 and fully capitalized on the momentum they had, maybe some of the signing day decisions that didn’t land in their favor would have.

There is a lot of time between now and Signing Day 2015 so a lot can change.  Heck, a lot can change in the final week alone of a recruiting cycle, but Notre Dame has set itself up to have a special class this year if they back it up on the field.

Comments to this Article

  • Hank the Tank commented on February 9th, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    ND is low on his list. Jashon Cornell is recruited by just about every elite program. I would think that the chances are slim of landing him.

    [Reply]

    LargeOilRig replied on February 10th, 2014 at 11:44 am

    247 has him 74% Irish, so…

    [Reply]

    Ron Burgundy replied on February 10th, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    60% of the time! it works every time.

    Stay classy!

    [Reply]

    LargeOilRig replied on February 11th, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Thanks, Tits McGee.

  • dudeacow commented on February 9th, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    The reason Rivals has Hoge so low is because they project him as a guard. He starts at center and is the consensus #1 center in the nation. He attended the army all American bowl combine and was rated as one of the top five most athletic players–out of every recruit that attended, not just linemen. His redshirt freshman year comes the year after Martin’s final season, so he has good timing.

    [Reply]

  • duranko commented on February 9th, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    This may be the best first three early recruits we’ve ever gotten, but it is significant that they each are highly personable, have bonded, and
    have agreed to arrive early. They will be aggressive ambassadors and recruiting officers for the Shamrock Soldiers.

    Barnett is enthralling on film. He has a chance to be special.

    [Reply]

  • HURLS commented on February 10th, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    C’mon, men! (my cracka-variation) These kids are kids. They’re Juniors. Pigeon-holing them now could really stunt their development into more complete football players – the RKG Kelly initially sought. (remember 4-y/ago?) True, we lacked a leader this past year and that could have served us better. Golson was caught cheating and ND stepped-up to its own laudable standards. Awesome. But the athletic consequences of ND’s responsibility? A travesty. Of course, things could have always been worse and/or OUR Irish could have REALLY s&%t-the-bed. But we are Notre Dame. We have Pride. “Life gave us lemons”… and we gave ‘em right back. RKG’s developed into studs. We haven’t seen results yet but I BELIEVE IN BK. Recalling his recent successes, only a fool wouldn’t. Let the Juniors develop-into the players they’re capable of rather than what we need. DEVELOPMENT SHALL CONTINUE.

    GO IRISH!

    [Reply]

  • duranko commented on April 1st, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    With Guyton and McKinney now in the field, we have five, but, more remarkable, four of them are from the “speed” states:

    Tillery from Louisiana
    Barnett from California
    And Guyton and McKinney from two prominent Texas programs. Allen is newer, but South Oak Cliff is rich in tradition.

    And then there is Hoge from Idaho. The last guy I remember from Idaho was Ernie Hughes, last spotted on the Texas fairgrounds knocking the tar, arrogance and Outland Trophy out of Brad Shearer.

    [Reply]

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