Brian Kelly addressed the media on Wednesday to review the banner recruiting class that he and his staff signed this year. Here are some choice excerpts from what he had to say about each of the members of the class the Irish brought in on defense.
Devin obviously at the cornerback position is a need that we have within our program. With injuries last year and graduation the year before, we were thin obviously this year, and we were able to find a way to get it done back there. Now we can add some depth to the cornerback position. He’s an exciting player that’s going to come in and compete immediately.
He brings an energy to everything he does. When he walks in that locker room, it’s time to play football, and if you’re not locked in, he’s going to make sure he says something to you. We love his energy, we love the way he plays the game, and obviously from our standpoint feel like he’s a guy that can come in and obviously compete for us.
We think it’s an untapped resource for us in that we’re only going to get him better and better physically, and he has the speed, he has the ability to play the ball. We think he’s going to fit well at the cornerback position for us. He was somebody that we identified early in this process and felt like he would be a great addition to this class. We love the fact that he’s really embraced coming to Notre Dame.
When we talk about the depth across the board here, we’ve talked about Butler and Kinlaw, and now Cole Luke, another cornerback. You know, again, a state title. This guy plays on a championship football team. When you go around the high school and you go around the program, you can sense it and feel it. We’ve got a great relationship with Coach Belles, a former Notre Dame player here, and just a great fit.
Our target is to play him on the defensive side of the ball. He’s going to physically get bigger and stronger. We just like his work ethic. We’re really excited about him as a person. He’s going to fit in well here at Notre Dame, and another young man that really adds to the depth that we’re looking for in our program.
Dual athlete, excellent lacrosse player, played basketball, can do a number of different things. He’s somebody that’s long at 6’3″, very versatile, can stand up or put his hand down, he gives us that kind of flexibility at that position. Great student, great family.
Bob Johnson is his coach, and Bob has done an incredible job over the years of turning out elite players, and we think Max is an elite player. He’s a young man that has a specific skill set that could see him play offense, he could play defense, he’s going to play in that safety position for us, and we think he’s a young man that can come in and compete. He’s got all the athletic ability, and he’s a very smart young man.
I think Isaac is a guy that didn’t play in lot of the postseason games and didn’t get a ton of exposure. He’s a fine football player. I mean, we’re really excited as a staff to have Isaac Rochell. He’s going to play on the defensive line, and he’s going to impact this program. I think he’s got a huge upside, and we’re really excited about getting a player of this caliber here to Notre Dame.
We could list all of these things, but the thing that’s most impressive is the character of this young man and his energy. He just has it. When he walks into a room, the room kind of lightens up, and that’s the kind of personality that he is, and he is one tough football player, as well. He’s got all the things that you’re looking for, that quickness, that ability to strike. He can play any position really. Great running back, as well. He’ll play on the defensive side of the ball, and he’s somebody that has great versatility. But he’s also going to be a great leader here, and I see great things for Jaylon Smith.
He is the kind of player that can play a number of different spots on the defensive line for us. He’s played linebacker in high school. Strong, physical at the point of attack. He’s rated as a 5-star player. We don’t put a lot of stock into the stars, but we can tell you this, by our evaluation he is one of the finest defensive players in the country.