February 4, 2010 // Notre Dame Recruiting

Class of 2010 Cliff’s Notes Edition

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matt-james

OT Matt James is one of the headliner recruits in Notre Dame's Class of 2010. (Photo - IconSMI)

Notre Dame officially signed 23 recruits on Wednesday including the five early enrollees that started their Notre Dame careers last month. Here is a quick review of each of the 23 along with their official heights and weights from the University release.

Offense

  • Austin Collinsworth – WR/DB (6-1, 195 – Fort Thomas, KY – Highlands HS)
    The son of former NFL wide receiver and current NBC Sunday Night Football announcer Chris Collinsworth.  He beings some versatility to the class as he could end up on defense down the road if wide receiver doesn’t work out.  He should also be a very strong special teams player very early on.
  • Andrew Hendrix – QB – (6-3, 226 – Cincinnati, OH – Moeller HS)
    The first of three QBs to commit to Notre Dame this year.  Hendrix wavered a little bit in January and visited Florida, but ended up sticking with ND.  He has the best arm of the three quarterbacks Notre Dame signed, but is probably the least familiar with the spread offense that Notre Dame will be using.
  • Bennett Jackson -WR (6-1, 170 – Hazlet, NJ – Raritan HS)
    A quick wide receiver who is very good in the open field with the ball in his hands.  He isn’t overly big, but he is a very good fit for the spread offense.  Jackson was one of the early commitments in this class and stuck with ND during the coaching change.
  • Matt James – OT (6-6, 291 – Cincinnati, OH –St. Xavier HS)
    Notre Dame’s biggest win on Signing Day outside of Manti Te’o in a couple years.  James is a massive tackle prospect that moves around very well for a big man.  He played a little guard in high school and has the ability to pull, but will play tackle at the college level.  James was a four star recruit from both Rivals and Scout and was a First Team USA Today All American.
  • Tai-ler Jones – WR (6-0, 183 – Gainesville, GA – Gainesville HS)
    One of the most exciting prospects in the Class of 2010 for Notre Dame.  Jones has pretty good speed and excels in the open field.  His game fits into the spread offense very well because he has the ability to take quick passes the distance with his ability in the open field.  Jones was one Notre Dame’s 5 early enrollees and is also the son of former Notre Dame linebacker Andre Jones.   Jones was at one time a Stanford commitment, but ended up selecting Notre Dame during the season.
  • Christian Lombard – OT (6-5, 293 – Inverness, IL –Fremd HS)
    One of the first commitments of the class, Lombard was invited to the Army All American Bowl and opened up a lot of eyes down in San Antonio.  Lombard projects as a guard at the college level and could team with James to give Notre Dame a hell of a tackle/guard combo on the left side of the line in the future.   Lombard is a four star recruit on both Rivals and Scout and was a USA First Team All American.
  • Luke Massa –QB (6-5, 205 – Cincinnati, OH – St. Xavier HS)
    Massa was the third QB to join this class.  He originally committed to Brian Kelly while he was at Cincinnati, but ended up following Kelly to Notre Dame after a visit last weekend.  Massa might have the most upside of the three quarterbacks in this class because he is still very raw.
  • Tate Nichols –OT (6-7, 291 – Walton, KY – Ryle HS)
    Nichols played tight end in high school, but will be an offensive tackle in college because of his size.  Having tight end athleticism in a tackle’s body though gives Nichols a lot of potential.   A one time Stanford commit, Nichols switched his commitment to Notre Dame in January.  He will need some time in the weight room and the practice field as he learns the offensive tackle position, but he has solid potential down the road.  He is the exact type of recruit that Stanford and Boston College normally gets that ends up being a royal pain for Notre Dame 2-3 years down the road.
  • Tommy Rees – QB (6-3, 192 – Lake Forest, IL – Lake Forest HS)
    The last quarterback in the class is actually the first to enroll.  Rees is already enrolled at Notre Dame and will participate in spring ball.  His familiarity with the offense and his head start in practice is going to give him a major edge for the backup quarterback position behind Dayne Crist heading into the fall, but he’ll end up battling with Massa and Hendrix down the road for position on the depth chart once they catch up.
  • Cameron Roberson – RB (6-1, 220 – Newburry Park, CA – Newburry HS)
    A big running back that has some second level speed once in the open field.  While he is a big back, he isn’t just a power runner – he has some moves and can make defenders miss.  Kelly raved about Roberson during his Signing Day press conference Wednesday.  He’s also shown he has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield – a must in the spread offense.
  • Daniel Smith – WR (6-4, 215 – South Bend, IN – Clay HS)
    The local product is the biggest wide receiver in the class and will be one of the biggest on the team at 6-4 making him a prime red zone weapon at some point.  He shows an ability to use his size to his advantage in shielding defenders from the ball already.
  • Alex Welch – TE (6-5, 225 – Cincinnati, OH – Elder HS)
    A versatile tight end who lined up in the slot from time to time in high school.  Welch hails from the same high school that produced current Notre Dame star tight end Kyle Rudolph.  He has the ability to work the middle of the field.

Defense

  • Chris Badger – DB (6-1, 192 – Provo, UT – Timpview HS)
    One of the five early enrollees, Badger is a rangy safety who can deliver the big hit.  He also has good ball skills and can adjust to the ball well while it is in the air.  Badger is the only pure safety in this class and like Nichols and Jones, he was originally a Stanford commitment before switching to Notre Dame over the summer.
  • Spencer Boyd – DB (5-10, 175 – Cape Coral, FL – Cape Coral HS)
    Another early enrollee, Boyd projects as a cornerback on the college level.  His high school film shows that he plays faster than his listed 40 time.  He is also a very sure tackler for a cornerback – something that should be music to Notre Dame fans’ ears.
  • Bruce Heggie – DL (6-6, 240 – Sorrento, FL – Mount Dora HS)
    One of the surprise recruits in this class since he didn’t have any Division 1A offers prior to Notre Dame offering, but Kelly was very excited about him Wednesday.  On the limited tape of him that exists he looks to have a decent burst off the line and decent athleticism for a player his size.  While he is listed as a defensive lineman for now, it wouldn’t surprise me if he ended up on the offensive line before too long.
  • Kendal Moore – LB (6-3, 235 – Cary, NC – Southeast Raleigh HS)
    A big linebacker would could play on the inside or the outside in Notre Dame’s 3-4 defense though he will most likely line up on the inside.  He possess solid coverage skills and has the size to be able to hold up in the middle of a 3-4 defense – something Notre Dame was lacking while running the 3-4 under Corwin Brown.
  • Louis Nix – DL (6-3, 315 – Jacksonville, FL – Raines HS)
    The most important recruit in the class of 2010 in my opinion.  Nix is a future nose tackle for Notre Dame and has the ability to be a very good one.  He is very quick off the line for a defensive tackle.  He has the size to be able to compete for playing time right away and could end up playing a role similar to what Ian Williams did in 2007.  For Notre Dame to be able to run an effective 3-4 defense, they will need to land a recruit like Nix every year.   He will also forever be a fan favorite for committing while Notre Dame didn’t even have a head coach.
  • Kona Schwenke – DL (6-4, 227 – Hauula, HA – Kahuku HS)
    The last addition to the class of 2010, Schwenke fills a big need as a potential defensive end.  He will need to do some filling out before he is ready to play end in a 3-4 defense on the college level, but he has the same type of frame as rising junior Kapron Lewis-Moore.  It wouldn’t be surprising to see him make similar gains in the weight room as KLM did early in his career.  A one time BYU commitment, but ended up at Notre Dame after the Cougars withdrew his scholarship offer just for visiting Notre Dame.
  • Prince Shembo – LB (6-2, 232 –Charlotte, NC – Ardrey Kell HS)
    Shembo could play either inside or outside at linebacker for Notre Dame, but might project more as an outside backer because of his pass rushing ability.  He can come off the edge and get to the quarterback very well.  He wavered a bit during the coaching transition, but ended up signing with Notre Dame.  Shembo missed five games as a senior because of an ankle injury.
  • Justin Utupo – LB (6-3, 250 – Lakewood, CA – Lakewood HS)
    Notre Dame got to Utupo right about the time he was really started to get noticed by other programs and luckily was able to to hold on to him.  The official release listed him as a linebacker, but he will likely grow out of the linebacker position quickly and will most likely project as a defensive end.   Was named Lineman of the Year by the LA Times in 2009.  He’s a very strong recruit who should excel in Paul Longo’s conditioning program.
  • Lo Wood – DB (5-11, 176 – Apopka, FL – Apopka HS)
    The last of the early enrollees for this year, Wood projects as a cornerback on the college level.  He is a physical corner and has made some gains in the weight room already according to Brian Kelly.

Athletes

  • Derek Roback – ATH (6-3, 225 – Waverly, OH – Waverly HS)
    One of later additions to this class, Roback could play a number of different positions.  He played quarterback this past season, but he most likely projects as a linebacker at the next level.  He has the type of speed that makes him a prime candidate for linebacker.  He was committed to Toledo at one point but got some interest late in the game and ended up at Notre Dame.
  • Danny Spond – ATH (6-3, 232 – Littleton, CO – Columbine HS)
    Like Roback, Spond played a lot of quarterback in high school, but is most likely headed for the defensive side of the ball as an outside linebacker.  He has good closing speed for a linebacker and has the size to be able to play on the outside on the college level.  Spond originally committed to Colorado very early in the process but opened up his recruiting in December.  Spond missed a lot of his senior year after suffering a major concussion, but is fully recovered now.

Comments to this Article

  • DeltaIrish commented on February 4th, 2010 at 9:20 am

    Welcome to ND guys, you got the best university, best fans and an awesome coaching staff behind you. You’ve proven your intelligence by picking ND and you’ve proven your athletic ability by even being offered by ND. Now work hard and lets kick some Trojan ASS!!!!

    [Reply]

    nepachris replied on February 4th, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    that’s trogan ass according to markeith ambles!

    [Reply]

  • Shazamrock commented on February 4th, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Congradulations to Head Coach Brian Kelly and his entire staff!
    According to Scout.com, ND finished 19th in recruiting, finishing ahead of other noteable programs such as Ohio St, Georgia, Nebraska,& Wisconsin.
    You and your staff, with their hard work on the recruiting trail, give us all reason to be excited in the ND footbal program for this up coming year,
    and in the years to follow.
    Good luck, and keep up the good work.
    “The Proud, The Few, The Gold and Blue”

    [Reply]

    IrishChan replied on February 4th, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Yeah, it’s a pretty impressive showcase of Kellys work ethic and recruiting ability.

    I’m sure am excited to see first hand what he can do with the current roster and the incoming freshman.

    It’s a great time to be an Irish fan!

    [Reply]

  • Andy commented on February 4th, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Nice article. I like this format.

    I think Kelly mentioned in the press conference (or maybe it was Jack Nolan, who was jabbering away in the background of my desktop all day long) that ND might give Kendall Moore a look at tight end at some point.

    Anyone else hear this?

    [Reply]

    faithfulfan replied on February 4th, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    I did hear this. I just kinda figured he was running out of things to say, so I didn’t pay much attention to it.

    [Reply]

  • IrishFan commented on February 4th, 2010 at 10:43 am

    You guys know the Henderson never faxed in his letter of intent right? I know Frank touched on this but he hasn’t sent it in. And he doesn’t plan on sending it in until the sanctions come down on USC Feb 19-21st. I’m not saying he’s not going there but you never know….

    [Reply]

    Shazamrock replied on February 4th, 2010 at 11:30 am

    I know that if this kid changed his mind and decided on ND that we would welcome him in.
    But I would seriously question his intelect and decision making abilities after this episode.
    You’er The number one recruit.
    Why would you even want your name associated with a program with a black cloud hanging over it?
    There are dozens of fine coleges and football programs.
    He has his pick of any one.
    And he chooses USC?
    I just don’t get it.
    Got suckered by a snake charmed is the best that I can figure.

    [Reply]

    joey d replied on February 4th, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    He wants to be in the music business. Snoop Dog is a big USC fan, and recruited him to play there. That’s why he’s there. There are no chains hangin’ low on the ND sidelines!!

    [Reply]

  • Poz commented on February 4th, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Interesting recruiting cycle. I think they did a great job considering how much time they had but it is clear that BK could care less about recruiting sites and how many stars a guy has. He seems to look just for guys he thinks can get it done. It will be interesting to see if this holds out next year as well given that he will have a whole year and get start getting used to recruiting the best of the best. He has never had to that given where he has coached so it will be a learning curve to be sure.

    As a side note, it is refreshing to see our HC nicely polished and sitting up straight at a new conference for a change.

    [Reply]

    kellygreenforever replied on February 4th, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Even in the candid pictures from the Gug yesterday you could see all the coaches were in jacket and tie.

    It is a far cry different than the last 5 years.

    All comments that came out of the visitors from last week seemed positive as well about the current players response to the new coaching staff as well as the workouts.

    Of course we have all been burned way too many times since Lou left. So, I am curbing my enthusiasm until I see product on the field.

    But my expectations have been significantly raised!!

    [Reply]

    Joe replied on February 4th, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Difference is now we have a proven college head coach for the first time. Imagine that. It’s finally the dawn of a new era for our beloved ND football.

    [Reply]

    spiceyirish replied on February 4th, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    What was Willingham? Some bum off the street. He was proven. Won the Pac 10. I don’t want to hear this one year wonder crap. Everyone in ND nation was excited about him. He had great success in that first year because ND had a great defensive line.

  • wisconsin snowman commented on February 4th, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Congratulations men….You made a choice you will be proud of forever! We’re all excited to welcome you as one of us……

    [Reply]

  • ted commented on February 4th, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    this is exciting. my expectations were low and have been exceeded with this class. An understated, quiet, top 20 recruiting class is all we could ask for. henderson would have been a bonus, but if he wants to play for kiffin (and his smokin hot wife), he is probably not an rkg. i definitely see nix playin early and often, he is the quintessential rkg in my book. let’s get them eating right, hitting the weights hard, going to class, and kicking ass in all 4 quarters of all 12 games!!

    [Reply]

  • Bill Meehan commented on February 4th, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Anyone pick up on BK’s enthusiasm for Crist? During Kelly’s ESPN interview yesterday he said “I think Dayne Crist is going to be able to lead our offense”. I was ‘working’ yesterday with that interview playing in the background and I had to stop it and listen to it again. I love ending the quarterback controversy before it can even start. As opposed to the Mangini mold of Not announcing your starting quarterback until the 3rd quarter. of the 4th game.

    I just thought it was interesting. I’m hoping these quarterbacks live up to their potential, but I was pumped to see that BK like’s what he has in Crist.

    [Reply]

  • spiceyirish commented on February 4th, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Lacks speed and certainly haven’t closed he gap with SC. Nix sounds like a nice player, but ND still lacks a pass rush.

    [Reply]

    Jack replied on February 4th, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    The recruiting class was the best he could have done considering the circumstances. I think we are in for a suprise with our defense. Look at the players he has:

    D-line: Ethan Johnson, KLM, Hafis Williams, Tyler Stockton, Nix, Newman,

    LB’s: Teo, Smith, Poz, Filer, Flemming, Neal, McDonald, Calabrese

    DB’s: Grey, Walls, Slaughter, Smith, McCarthey, Blanton

    I don’t think we are deviod of talent on Defense as everyone thinks.

    [Reply]

    spiceyirish replied on February 5th, 2010 at 12:46 am

    I do like the secondary and I think they have potential to lock down. The problem is they are forced into covering for extra time because there is no pressure on the QB.

    Ethan Johnson was pretty good last season, but apart from that, the dline was awful. Looking into next season, I do not see things getting better soon.

    If ND has a pass rush last year, they would of ran the table.

    [Reply]

    IrishChan replied on February 5th, 2010 at 8:25 am

    By design the 34 defence creates oppurtunities off the edge. So, lets hope that the new d-staff knows how to coach up and use 34 defence better than the guy he’s replacing.

    To me, it’s hard to judge last years d talent level. Was it poor coaching, poor scheming, poor execution?? A combination of all three?

    I really hope this new D-Staff can coach these kids to into a top 30 defense. He has to have better talent on that side of the ball than he did at Cinci.

    jack replied on February 5th, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Ethan Johnson played a lot better in the 34 scheme the year before than in the 4-3 scheme of Tenuta. I think we will see big seasons from Neal and Flemming.

  • Poz commented on February 5th, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Spicy Irish,
    I was somewhat excited about Willingham after starting 8-0, but he was quickly exposed. He was not some bum off the street but he is below .500 in his career as a coach and when he won the PAc-10 they were 8-4. Also, this was before Carroll and USC got going.

    BK has much better credentials than this. What it means for our future, who knows?

    [Reply]

    DublinOHIrish replied on February 8th, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Why are we talking about Willingham here?? Seriously??

    [Reply]

    Poz replied on February 8th, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    A question was posed regarding how proven BK is.

    [Reply]

  • dave commented on February 8th, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    I question Henderson’s choice also. Why U$C?, if it’s because of Snoop Dog recruiting has reached an all time low. To be that big of a sucker to think Snoop Dog will give you an album, is hilarious. Maybe U2 likes Notre Dame? He could have been the new Bono, and we would have a huge offensive tackle.
    Lemming obviously is trying to make Seantrel look and sound good because he went on his show. In reality the kid is choosing a school that could possibly be put on probation. Lemming can’t think that is a good choice. Noticed a question asked to him on the South Bend Tribune recruiting transcript, in which he is asked about Seantrel and his family being high maintence, and not being a Notre Dame guy. He seemed annoyed by the question and stood up for Seantrel and his family. Do you think he would have stood up for Seantrel if he didn’t do his show? No way in hell. Just shows you why Lemming sucks.

    [Reply]

  • IrishFan commented on February 8th, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    Let’s make sure we have viable sources when we post comments on here:

    People saying that Seantrel was going there so I could further my music career. They said I was talking with Snoop Dogg and stuff like that. There’s no truth to any of that.

    “I’ve never talked to Snoop Dogg and I don’t know Snoop Dogg. I’ve never had a conversation with anybody regarding any music related activities and Seantrel’s decision. That’s never been my intention and it’s completely false.”

    [Reply]

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