Troy Niklas Adds to DL Haul

The rich got richer among Notre Dame’s position groups in this year’s class on Wednesday when California native and LA Times Lineman of the Year Troy Niklas committed to Notre Dame over rival USC.

Troy Niklas - Notre Dame DL/TE
Troy Niklas was the final addition to Notre Dame's recruiting class of 2011 after selecting Notre Dame over USC. (Photo - Icon SMI)

Niklas, a four star recruit from Servite High School, adds even more versatility to a group of recruits already capable of playing multiple positions.  Notre Dame listed Niklas as a TE/DL on the official release today, but he has the size to grow into an offensive tackle as well if he moves to the offensive side of the line.

Niklas’s addition was a bit of a surprise on Wednesday as most felt USC would end up adding Niklas to their already strong recruiting class.  After visiting Notre Dame this weekend, however, Niklas decided South Bend was where he wanted to continue his career.

Like many of the recruits in this year’s class, Niklas is a versatile athlete who can play multiple positions.  USC was recruiting him as an OT, Stanford as a TE, and Notre Dame as a DE.

With Niklas on board, Notre Dame has six players capable of playing along the defensive line in this class along with Aaron Lynch, Stephon Tuitt, Chase Hounshell, Brad Carrico, and Tony Springmann.  Of the group, the only sure bets to stay on defense at this point are Lynch and Tuitt, but Notre Dame coaches strongly indicated Wednesday they also recruited Hounshell to play defense.

Considering Notre Dame only signed three true offensive linemen in this class, the excess at defensive end could end up making the offensive line class much stronger than it appears as of now.

Niklas also gives Notre Dame three recruits out of California this year joining the Atkinson twins.


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  1. Pay Day is coming very soon. Opponents will soon rue the day as the Irish defense is reawakened. And best of all- Mark ‘The Oneonta Oaf’ will just die when Coach Holtz delivers Irish victory news after Irish victory news!

  2. Although we may have to wait another year or two to see to see the results, kudos to Kelly for finding the bricks for a bigger, stronger, faster defense. When these kids have a year or two of strength and conditioning it could be scary. We already look better late in the fourth quarter and late in the season, I for one can’t wait to see what will happen when you add these athletes and some experience to that mix.

    It’s no secret to any ND fan that for the last ten years ND’s defensive line got bullied alot, and the corners were routinely outmatched by big athletic receivers and physical tight ends. Kelly got bigger kids with wide frames that will not be intimidated at the point of attack, outmuscled for a reception, or have to run around lead blockers and hope for the best. While the four and five stars might not mean much in a year from today the extra speed they bring over the average power recruit does.

    Add the position flexibility these athletes bring to the roster and you have to like the direction of this program – this is not your daddy’s Rich Rodriguez.

    I graduated Notre Dame in 1981 in the day when no one wanted to play against Notre Dame’s defense. I for one will welcome the return of that day. My hat’s off to Kelly and his staff for what looks to be fine work.

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