Nyles Morgan Commits to Notre Dame!

Nyles Morgan - Notre Dame LB Commit
U.S Army All-American Bowl West Team linebacker Nyles Morgan (6) during a practice by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl West Team at Comalander Stadium in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo: John Albright / IconSMI)

Notre Dame’s #GoldenArmy14 picked up a huge addition on Saturday at the US Army All-American Bowl when inside linebacker Nyles Morgan committed to Notre Dame over Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, and Florida.

Nyles, 6’1″, 225 lbs, from Crete, Illinois – a Chicago area suburb – is the 23rd member of Notre Dame’s 2014 recruiting class and third inside linebackers as Notre Dame solidifies one of their biggest positions of need in this year’s class.  Morgan joins fellow Chicago area native Nile Sykes and Greer Martini as inside backers in the #GoldenArmy14.

Morgan was arguably the most important recruit left on the board for Notre Dame this recruiting cycle given their need at inside linebacker – especially when you consider that both Jarrett Grace and Doug Randolph will not be partaking in any contact drills this spring.  Notre Dame is going to be dangerously thin at inside linebacker heading into fall camp which could open the door for some playing time for Morgan as a freshman.

Morgan participated in Nike’s The Opening over the summer and was a starting linebacker for the West Team in this year’s Army All-American Bowl.   His recruiting rankings are reflective of his accolades as well.  247 Sports ranks Morgan as the #3 ILB in the entire country and #88 overall prospect.  Rivals has Morgan just a little lower at ILB at e #5 but ranks Morgan a tad higher overall at #75 overall.  ESPN has Morgan the highest overall at #66 and comes in right between Rivals and 247 at his position as the #4 ILB.  Scout gives Morgan the highest praise as the only service ranking him as a 5-star prospect as their #35 overall rated recruit.

Unless every single recruiting service is dead wrong, Notre Dame just got themselves their best inside linebacker recruit since Manti Te’o shocked the recruiting world by selecting Notre Dame over USC on Signing Day 2008.  Morgan also held offers from Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, UCLA, and USC among many others.

The timing of adding their top inside backer in five years couldn’t have been any better for Notre Dame.  Carlo Calabrese and Dan fox are both out of eligibility and with Grace and Randolph out for the spring, Michael Deeb is the only scholarship inside backer guaranteed to be on the roster for spring practice.  Kendall Moore and Joe Schmidt could be back as well but that will likely be determined by how many additional scholarships the Irish hand use up over the final month of recruiting.

The Notre Dame staff did an excellent job in adding Morgan to an already stout front seven class this year.  Back in the spring it looked like Notre Dame was an after thought for Morgan, but even after both his primary recruiter, Chuck Martin, and his position coach and coordinator, Bob Diaco, left for head coaching jobs of their own, the Irish were able to secure a commitment from the consensus top 100 recruit and top 5 inside linebacker.  Notre Dame pulled out all of the stops though including sending Morgan a 477 piece of mail, aka a #PotOfGold, in December, and were persistent in their pursuit of Morgan.

That persistence paid off.

With 23 commitments lined up for the class of 2014, it’ll be interesting to see if Notre Dame adds any more members to the #GoldenArmy14.  Notre Dame is still being mentioned by several elite recruits such as Braden Smith, Terrence Alexander, Michaih Quick, JuJu Smith, and are still waiting on the academic situation for Isaiah McKenzie to be cleared up but are also start to bump up against the 85 scholarship limit now as well.

Regardless of who else the Irish add, if anyone, the addition of Morgan was a huge piece of what is one of the deepest and most versatile groups of front seven athletes to come in to Notre Dame in a long time.

Nyles Morgan Highlights

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  1. Irish eyes, Deeb had a good pre-Fall and Fall. Randolph was held out of contact becuase of his surgery, just as John Montelus was. But Deeb will get PLENTY of snaps this Spring. One other tangential nugget about Deeb: he is from American Heritage. He was one of the early advocated of Isaiah McKenzie, also of American Heritage to the Notre Dame staff. On one interview, he commented about having played against a lot of speed in the Florida prep ranks, but said he never encountered a more elusive player than McKenzie.

    This will be a fun area to watch. Kelly knows what he has and doesn’t have at ILB. Van Gorder will know what he has and doesn’t have. The 2014 ILB crew could be like the 2012 secondary. A lot of coaching, some young dudes overperforming (Shumate, Russell and Yeah, Farley (who somehow had a good 2012)) and some guys outperforming their experience level and knowledge base. Arrogance and complacency will not be problems.

  2. Duranko,

    I think you’re spot on with your prediction of Grace and Moore starting at ILB next year. Given their situation at ILB, I think it is a given that Moore is offered a 5th year. They will be thin at that position, so I do think that Morgan will have every opportunity to see playing time early – perhaps taking over for Moore as the starter at some point during the season. I am curious if anyone has any information on Deeb and Randolph. Will they be ready to play by next season? If they are then perhaps the situation at ILB is better than we think. Has anyone heard anything about Deeb and Randolph and their progress this season while redshirting?

  3. jeff, it is an area of concern, but don’t forget Deeb.

    If Grace is not ready to go in the Fall, (which I doubt, it was a fibula that was broken, not an ACL) then I would guess that Deeb and Moore would start, with Randolph, Grace, Schmidt and Morgan ready to go. If it’s a worse situation, I would expect Councell to move inside as a last gasp. The other “desperate” moves would be to drop Shumate down (he’s 6′, 211)
    or even move someone else over. My guess is that Grace and Moore will start the season, but that Moore would give way to Deeb or Morgan by early Octover. Funny thing is, it’s a one year problem. In 2015, we will have Grace, Morgan,Deeb, Schmidt, Martini, Randolph, and maybe Hill on the inside.

  4. The thought of having Kendall Moore and Joe Schmidt as our starting MLBs to start the year is scary and i dont mean in a good way. It appears that Grace, Randolph, councell, and Springman will miss all contact drills in the spring which makes me wonder at what point in the 2014 season will they be 100%.

    I like this recruiting class of 2014 as far as adding quality depth to the trenches but not sure there are any immeadiate impact players in this class. There is also the possibility that one or two recruits change there mind at the nth hour like weve seen in the past.

  5. Irish eyes, I agree with you, and am intrigued by the four remaining targets. We have an outstanding 23, but each of the foursome of Isaiah McKenzie, Braden Smith, John Smith and Michiah Quick, are great athletes.
    They are the type that people mispronounce as Ath-uh-leets. They are each the kind of player that can make a difference against the FSU’s, the USC’s the Stanford’s and the Texas’ on our 2014 and future schedules.

    We could go 0-4, but this staff has shown that it typically closes strong.
    We shall see. I am, for one, glad that John Smith has delayed his announcement. I expect that Brian Van Gorder will really turn on the jets in his in-home visit with Smith.

    as for jerseymick, good call. Of course, he will be coached in tackling technique, but he brings it already. He, next to Grace would be a nasty duo.

  6. Really excited about the addition of Nyles Morgan! Physically, he looks like he may be ready to play from day 1. He was probably the most important recruit left on the board based on the fact that ILB is certainly a position of need for the Irish. This is really shaping up to be a great, great class! I would love to see them pick a couple of more – maybe Braden Smith and JuJu Smith.

    2014 looks promising, particularly if Tuitt stays and they get some guys healthy – Grace, Springmann, Baratti, Councell, Randolph, etc

  7. Frank, thanks for the update!

    This was a great case of persistent recruiting, as Morgan was considered
    “gone” for Mississippi or Vandy. But they were doggedly persistent.

    FWIW, I think Moore getting a fifth year is a no-brainer.

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