Notre Dame’s #GoldenArmy14 picked up a huge addition on Saturday at the US Army All-American Bowl when inside linebacker Nyles Morgan committed to Notre Dame over Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, and Florida.
Nyles, 6’1″, 225 lbs, from Crete, Illinois – a Chicago area suburb – is the 23rd member of Notre Dame’s 2014 recruiting class and third inside linebackers as Notre Dame solidifies one of their biggest positions of need in this year’s class. Morgan joins fellow Chicago area native Nile Sykes and Greer Martini as inside backers in the #GoldenArmy14.
Morgan was arguably the most important recruit left on the board for Notre Dame this recruiting cycle given their need at inside linebacker – especially when you consider that both Jarrett Grace and Doug Randolph will not be partaking in any contact drills this spring. Notre Dame is going to be dangerously thin at inside linebacker heading into fall camp which could open the door for some playing time for Morgan as a freshman.
Morgan participated in Nike’s The Opening over the summer and was a starting linebacker for the West Team in this year’s Army All-American Bowl. His recruiting rankings are reflective of his accolades as well. 247 Sports ranks Morgan as the #3 ILB in the entire country and #88 overall prospect. Rivals has Morgan just a little lower at ILB at e #5 but ranks Morgan a tad higher overall at #75 overall. ESPN has Morgan the highest overall at #66 and comes in right between Rivals and 247 at his position as the #4 ILB. Scout gives Morgan the highest praise as the only service ranking him as a 5-star prospect as their #35 overall rated recruit.
Unless every single recruiting service is dead wrong, Notre Dame just got themselves their best inside linebacker recruit since Manti Te’o shocked the recruiting world by selecting Notre Dame over USC on Signing Day 2008. Morgan also held offers from Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, UCLA, and USC among many others.
The timing of adding their top inside backer in five years couldn’t have been any better for Notre Dame. Carlo Calabrese and Dan fox are both out of eligibility and with Grace and Randolph out for the spring, Michael Deeb is the only scholarship inside backer guaranteed to be on the roster for spring practice. Kendall Moore and Joe Schmidt could be back as well but that will likely be determined by how many additional scholarships the Irish hand use up over the final month of recruiting.
The Notre Dame staff did an excellent job in adding Morgan to an already stout front seven class this year. Back in the spring it looked like Notre Dame was an after thought for Morgan, but even after both his primary recruiter, Chuck Martin, and his position coach and coordinator, Bob Diaco, left for head coaching jobs of their own, the Irish were able to secure a commitment from the consensus top 100 recruit and top 5 inside linebacker. Notre Dame pulled out all of the stops though including sending Morgan a 477 piece of mail, aka a #PotOfGold, in December, and were persistent in their pursuit of Morgan.
That persistence paid off.
With 23 commitments lined up for the class of 2014, it’ll be interesting to see if Notre Dame adds any more members to the #GoldenArmy14. Notre Dame is still being mentioned by several elite recruits such as Braden Smith, Terrence Alexander, Michaih Quick, JuJu Smith, and are still waiting on the academic situation for Isaiah McKenzie to be cleared up but are also start to bump up against the 85 scholarship limit now as well.
Regardless of who else the Irish add, if anyone, the addition of Morgan was a huge piece of what is one of the deepest and most versatile groups of front seven athletes to come in to Notre Dame in a long time.