Notre Dame Picks Up 3 Commitments

The 81st Blue-Gold game was as productive off the field as it was on the field with Notre Dame adding three members to the recruiting class of 2011 – Tony Springmann (DE), Conor Hanratty (OL), and Garrett Grace (LB).  All three of which are 4-star recruits according to

The name that should jump out the most of the group is Conor Hanratty.  It should jump out because he is the son of former Notre Dame quarterback Terry Hanratty.  The younger Hanratty will spend his Notre Dame protecting the players handling his father’s former position as an interior offensive lineman for the Irish.   Before committing to Notre Dame, Hanratty held scholarship offers from Boston College, Iowa, Stanford, Wisconsin, West Virginia,and Syracuse among others.

Hanratty was one of the first prospects to be offered a scholarship by the previous coaching staff last fall and then again once the new staff was in place.  Despite his bloodlines, he did visit multiple other schools before deciding that Notre Dame was the best place for him just as it was his father who won a national championship in 1966.  Now that he’s on board, he’s the first interior offensive lineman added this year’s class by Kelly and staff.

In the video below you’ll see that Hanratty (6-4, 305) plays in a spread style offense at New Canaan High School in Connecticut.  You’ll also notice that he can get out in space and move pretty well for a big lineman.

Tony Springmann (6-6, 257, 4.8) is listed as an offensive lineman on most recruiting websites but was recruiting a four technique defensive tackle which is the defensive end in Notre Dame’s 3-4 alignment.  He selected the Irish over Boston College, Michigan State, Purdue, and Stanford.  Like Hanratty, he was being recruited by the previous coaching staff as well although he had not received an offer from the Irish until recently.  Springmann joins Brad Carrico as defensive ends in this year’s class.

Springmann is a local product from nearby Bishop DeWenger in Fort Wayne, Indiana – a program that produced current wide receiver John Goodman and tight end Tyler Eifert.

Here is some video of Springmann on the defensive side of the ball.

And here is another video of Springmann, this time of him speaking at the Blue Gold game about his decision to attend Notre Dame.

The third commitment Notre Dame picked up came from Cincinnati native Jarrett Grace.  Grace (6-4, 235, 4.7) projects as an inside linebacker in Notre Dame’s 3-4 alignment.  He picked the Irish over Boston College, Cincinnati, Stanford, West Virginia, and Wisconsin among others.   Kelly was recruiting the Cincy native last year when he was the head coach for Cincinnati and continued recruiting the talented linebacker prospect after taking over at Notre Dame.

Grace is the first linebacker in this year’s class and the fourth recruit on the defensive side of the ball joining Springmann, Brad Carrico, and Mathias Farley.

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    holy crap coach kelly!

    jordan prestwood, connor hanratty, tony springmann, and now matt hegarty!

    welcome to the family guys!

    i bet coach kelly can’t compete with the big boys for recruits, HA!

    keep up the great work coach and assistants!!!!

  2. anyone notice all of the love that espn is giving us lately? i heard that weis pissed off some people at espn and that was part of the reason for the bias, but now it seems like nothing but love. i even heard mark may pay coach kelly a compliment the other day!

    1. I most certainly noticed. Weis kept a tight leash on his players. Who could talk to the media,who couldn’t, and what they were allowed to say.(The company line mostly)
      Kelly has given more freedom Not only of himself, but the players and the University as well. And I think that it has had a positive affect.
      Just remember, this is still only April.
      When the season starts, and one of our players makes a mistake during a game,that’s when ESPN jumps all over him and unloades a ton of blame on the poor kid. Then it will probably all change back.
      Because that’s what ESPN does!
      They circle like vultures over our program waiting for something negitive to happen so they can rip us apart.
      We’ve been down that road before.
      I still don’t know how that Jacobson skank kept her job after her drunken tirade agianst Charlie Weis.
      I can only assume that Charlie took the high road and just let it go.

      1. Shazamrock,
        You just reminded me of that incident. I think from now on I will be boycotting ESPN all together. I may even delete ESPN channels from my programming on the TV.
        Fox Sports is where I’ll get my info for now. I just wish ESPN didn’t have such a monopoly. But I’ll deal. If they want to degrade Notre Dame, Roman Catholicism, and finally God Himself, then they don’t deserve my patronage.

    2. they are just sittning there in the shadows looking for a weakness to attack. their favorite target is gone now(weis). kelly is very personable and they must hate that. now they are just waiting for us to fail so they can say its the administration and the fact that we are independent. seriously, how does being in a conference make us or anybody any better or “relevant”? where is their arguement there? can any haters out there explain that one to me.

  3. This team might struggle. This team might come out looking very good. some of that will be due just to the change in coaching staff. The one thing I will be looking for is how the team finishes games in the second half of the season. The last two years of that was due to poor conditioning and poor mental preparation. Weis never figured out the collegiate mind’s immaturity. Kelly’s leadership and coaching prowess is proven. But his ability to take this team all the way in the future will depend on his ability to have them finishing games in November just as solidly as in early September.

    1. c-dog & shaz: my favorite quote this whole spring from one of the players was how easy the spring game was as compared to the practices. this can only be a good sign of the coaching they are getting now. whenever you can rip off 88 plays in one half and say that was easy compared to practice…well i think we will finish games this year. 88 plays, one half. that is more than all the plays ran in last years spring game.

  4. Is it me or does everything seem like it’s falling into place? I know that ND hasn’t played a game under BK yet, but I can’t help but feel like we are about to experience something at ND that hasn’t been there in a long time.

    The attitude is changing for the current players, the staff is recruiting some pretty good players at areas of need, and Kelly has turned ND back into a college program, not a younger version of an NFL team. I like Kelly’s pitch that he can’t flash a Super Bowl ring, but he can take teams to BCS Bowl Games.

    Weis talked about being “Nasty”, but I think Kelly’s team will be a machine. He is going to push the pedal to the floor and will not let up until the game is over. This team has a long way to go, but I do believe they will be competetive in every game and when they get a lead, they will not blow it in the 4th quarter.

    I know there is always high expectations with a new coach, but again, this one feels different. This year is going to be fun, I can’t wait.

    1. I see where you’re coming from, but I am trying to hold off my judgement on BK until after his 2nd season. It is hard for me to do, because I want to jump on the bandwagon, but I was a victim of that with CW.

      I think BK will have the team looking REALLY good this season, but let’s face it, we looked pathetic the last 3 seasons. As fans, many of us will be happy no matter what this year because it would be hard NOT to improve upon what we are use to seeing.

      I hope BK can keep the momentum going in all 4 aspects of Notre Dame Football: Academics, Recruting, Player Development, and Results on Gameday….. in no particular order of course.

      GO IRISH!

  5. ESPN reporting elite TE prospect Ben Koyack picks ND over Ohio St. Great get for BK and his staff. Keep the recruiting momentum going. That’s 2 ESPN Top 150 in the last few days. Told you they start to come!

  6. Diaco’s base defense is a 3-4 but he walks an outside LB up at d-end alot to give a 4-3 look. The 3-4 allows you to between a 4-3 and a 3-4 depending what you do with the strong side backer. Corwin Brown did that alot the year before and it worked well.

  7. the 4-3 is an underrated defense great for protecting against both the run and pass. The outside linebackers can stunt and give different looks to mess up the offensive reads. I’m a big fan of it.

  8. irishspartan,

    I didn’t notice exactly, but I bet we were in nickel a lot of the time, which would put us at 3-3 most likely. The Outside linebacker was probably lined up on the line of scrimmage to aid in getting a pass rush. If we weren’t in nickel, the other OLB would have been dropping into coverage anyway. The thing with the 3-4 alignment is it offers a lot of flexibility with the OLBs standing up or putting a hand down.

  9. Little off topic, but was I crazy or were the irish running ONLY a 4-3 on saturday??? What happened to the 3-4?

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