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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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