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.
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.