Notre Dame Picks Up Four

It might be the dog days of July, but Brian Kelly and staff are recruiting like its the first week of February with National Signing Day right around the corner. Within a 24 hour period this weekend, Notre Dame secured verbal commitments from Justice Hayes (RB), Aaron Lunch (DE), Anthony Rabasa (DE), and Jalen Brown (CB).

The headliner of the group is Aaron Lynch (6’6″, 245 lbs, 4.66).  The talented defensive end’s offer list reads like a Who’s Who of elite college programs.  Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Ohio State, and Penn State all offered the 4-star recruit.  Lynch is on just about every top 100 list you can find and is a perfect fit for the defensive end spot in Notre Dame’s 3-4 defense.

On paper, Lynch’s commitment is huge for Notre Dame, but it might be even bigger for what it says about where Brian Kelly has the program headed.  Kelly and staff were able to pull one of the nation’s elite defenders out of Florida over in-state and SEC powers.  That speaks volumes for Kelly’s recruiting prowess and how recruits are viewing the Notre Dame program in the early stages of the Kelly era.

With Lynch on board, Notre Dame now has three defensive ends with Brad Carico and Tony Springmann being the other two.  Ben Council and Clay Burton are also listed as defensive ends on some websites, but both are slated to play outside linebacker for the Irish.

The other three recruits who joined Lynch in committing to Notre Dame this weekend are no slouches either.  Anthony Rabasa (6’3″, 230), like Lynch, hails from the Sunshine State and held offers from the state’s big three.  Along the way he also picked up offers from the likes of Nebraska and LSU as well.  He is listed as a defensive end by some services, but he projects as an outside linebacker in Notre Dame’s 3-4 alignment.

Rabasa would be a tweener in a 4-3 defense, but in a 3-4 alignment like Notre Dame he fits in very well.  He’s a high-motor player who is very athletic.  He finished his junior season with 85 tackles and 13 sacks.  Rabasa is a 3-star prospect on Socut and Rivas, but has a 4-star rating from ESPN and is their #98 overall recruit.

Rabasa joins Council and Burton at outside linebacker in this year’s class.

Sticking on the defensive side of the ball, cornerback Jalen Brown (6’0″, 180, 4.4) comes to Notre Dame out of Texas.  Brown is a little raw at this point, but possess the profile Kelly looks for in a cornerback – he’s got good size, athleticism, and has a lot of upside.   Some will be concerned that Brown did not pick up an offer from in-state power Texas, but he was one of Notre Dame’s earliest offers at cornerback.  That should give anyone an indicator of how the staff views Brown.

Brown joins Mathias Farlye and Eilar Hardy in the defensive backfield in this class.  All three have the ability to play corner, but all could potentially play safety as well.  Notre Dame had a major need in the secondary for the class of 2011 and the trio already committed is an outstanding start.

Rounding out the weekend’s commitments is Justice Hayes (5’10”, 175, 4.4).  The Michigan native picked Notre Dame over Michigan, Michigan State, and Tennessee and is a perfect fit for the spread offense Notre Dame will be running under Kelly.  He is actually very similar is stature and skill-set as sophomore Theo Riddick.

Hayes is the first running back in this year’s class and could be the only one in the class if the staff can’t secure a commitment from Savon Huggins.

Not a bad haul for a weekend in July huh?  Those questions about Kelly’s recruiting abilities should be hardly a whisper by now – especially after this staff was able to go into Florida and pull out two defensive recruits with offers from the state’s big three before ever coaching a game for Notre Dame.

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  1. So far so good, but I want ND to crush inferior teams and to compete and actually win against upper tier programs. I was raised on Holtz teams, I KNOW what ND football should be.

  2. i am well beyond the time of getting excited about recruits. The last 3 coaches should have taught us all a valuable lesson. I will get pumped up when the wins roll in

  3. Does anyone think that the recent rash of NCAA investegations of schools like USC, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and North Carolina, has improved ND’s appeal and recruiting?
    The NCAA has had a busy few weeks here lately. Now all of a sudden 4 studs come out of nowhere to pledge ND. Coinsidence? Hard work? Both?

  4. Coach Kelley is doing a wonderful job recruiting. I am from Texas and was excited that a lone star state kid is on board. I wish we could recruit Texas more. TONS of talent in this state.

  5. Great stuff boys. BK is proving he can recruit with the top guns of college football. He is addressing problems Weis neglected too. He is loading up on the line of scrimmage, and getting the best players for the offensvie and defensive lines. Football games are won in the trenches boys, we finally got the right guy with the right attitude to lead this fooball team back to dominance. GO IRISH

  6. The Big Daddy is on board for the Brian Kelly Express after this weekend’s score!!!! Lynch is going to be a monster. Imagine Lynch, Rabassa and Nix up front with Teo leading up the LB’s. Scary stuff!!! Bring on Florida boys. I can wait until our boys give that turn coat Urban a good old fashion midwestern whooping.

  7. 2 from Florida, 1 from Texas and a Michigan top fiver….wow….If Kelly ball is as exciting as his “RKG” recruiting I think we will all be very happy. Can’t wait for September…GO IRISH

  8. After reading a book on Ara’s 1st season over Christmas I can’t help but notice some amazing parallels between his 1st year at the helm and Kelly’s so far. Hopefully they continue well into the season.

  9. Things are looking good! But, please, don’t let Brian Kelly start writing books at the end of this coming season. Wait five years.

  10. Well, it would be a deeply flawed assumption to assume that Kelly does not know what to do. It is very exciting that we have a real college head football coach at this juncture in time. I cant’t help it, I don’t care….I am thrilled, things are moving in the right direction for success. I am now 100% on Board with the BK-Xpress!


  11. The services ranking of the class will suffer because ND will not bring in a big class as others routinely do (letting attrition and broken promises take care of the extras). Regardless the emphasis on the line is a HUGE plus. As long as the quality of folks we bring in is top tier and we address our needs I don’t care what the “experts” say. Very impressive Coach Kelly, I look forward to the on field portion of the show.

  12. Kelly is on a roll. I love what I am seeing. He is addressing the O and D line. I expect them to end with a top 5-10 class.

  13. 2 from Florida, 1 from Texas, and a Michigan kid. Brian Kelly and his staff are doing some pretty amazing things right now. Imagine what it will be like when ND starts winning.

    I posted earlier that my gut tells me that ND is going to have another steller season from a 1st year head coach and not a 1 or 2 season wonder. The reason for my optimism is that Kelly has a proven system that shows he can win anywhere and Charlie left some pretty good talent for Kelly to work with. I think ND is doing a good job of re-stocking the shelves, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

    Time will tell if Kelly can lead ND back to the nation’s elite, but I like what I’m seeing so far.

    Go Irish

  14. I am just pumped about the D-line recruits. One position that Weis never really could snag anyone at, and one that has hurt the Irish D. GO IRISH!

    1. Weis was a great q-back coach, but he was a rotten head coach.

      He hired lousy assistant coaches. The players were out of shape and it showed near the end of the season.

      I think coach Brian Kelly will be what we have been waiting for, a great coach.

  15. Tom Lemming’s- “I have never seen anything like this.”
    It’s funny to think that recruiting was one of the major concerns in the hiring of Brian Kelly.

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