Notre Dame’s 2014 Early Enrollees Begin Careers

Andrew Trumbetti - Notre Dame DE
Team Nitro (Green) DE Andrew Trumbetti (23) during the 2014 Under Armour All-America Game between Team Highlight (Red) and Team Nitro (Green) at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL.

Notre Dame officially welcomes the first two members of the #GoldenArmy14 on campus today with wide receiver Justin Brent and defensive end Andrew Trumbetti enrolling for the spring semester and starting their collegiate careers early.

This year’s duo is just the second time that Notre Dame will only welcome two early enrollees at the mid year after approving the practice eight years ago and the first time in six years that the Irish are bringing in less than three early enrollees.  While the group may lack quantity, it has a whole lot of quality with both BRent and Trumbetti ranked in the top 75 of 247 Sports’ Top 247.

Justin Brent, one of the first members of this year’s class, saw his stock rise over the course of the last year thanks to an impressive tour of camps including making the Dream Team at Nike’s The Opening over the summer.  Brent is a physical wide receiver who got high praise for his route running at the Opening.  At 6’1″, 195 lbs Brent has the size to play as a true freshman.  With Davaris Daniels out for the spring semester for academics reasons, there will be a lot of reps to go around for Brent and the crop of young wide receivers Notre Dame brought in last year.

247 Sports’ Steve Wiltfong recently told the South Bend Tribune, that Brent has the ability to come in and compete for playing time from day one.

“He’s going to walk in ready to play,” said national recruiting writer Steve Wiltfong. “I think Notre Dame has a lot of guys at the receiver position that can contribute next year … but I think Justin Brent’s going to come in and challenge right away.”

Defensive end Andrew Trumbetti was an Under Armour All-American earlier this month and showed the skills that earned him an early offer from Notre Dame as well.  Given the depth issues Notre Dame has along the defensive line next year, it is very possible that Trumbetti will see the field next falls – especially since he will have a full off-season working with Paul Longo to pack on some more weight to the 6’5″, 250 lbs frame he reports to Notre Dame with today.

Wiltfong told the Tribune that Trumbetti has NFL potential in the same article linked above.  It would be very easy to forget about Trumbetti since he has been a member of the #GoldenArmy14 for so long and never once wavered in his commitment, but he is an elite recruit for Notre Dame at a major position of need for next year.

Just because both Brent and Trumbetti will benefit from the off-season strength and conditioning program and a full spring practice before the rest of the freshmen report to campus though, history has shown us that it’s not a lock that both will see the field in 2014.  In fact, early enrollment has been a mixed bag of results for Notre Dame since it started accepting mid-year enrollees.

Notre Dame has brought in a total of 26 early enrollees over the first seven years of accepting them.  Of those 29, only 11 have become long term, impact starters to this point although that number could change depending on what last year’s crop of early enrollees ends up doing with their careers.

Here’s a quick look at all 29 previous early enrollees.

  • 2006: James Aldridge, Chris Stewart, George West
  • 2007: Jimmy Clausen, Armando Allen, Gary Gray
  • 2008: Sean Cywnar, Trevor Robinson
  • 2009: Zeke Motta, Tyler Stockton, EJ Banks
  • 2010: Tommy Rees, TJ Jones, Lo Wood, Spencey Boyd, Chris Badger
  • 2011: Aaron Lynch, Ishaq Williams, Everett Golson, Brad Carrico, Kyle Brindza
  • 2012: Gunner Keil, Sheldon Day, Tee Shepard
  • 2013: Steve Elmer, Corey Robinson, James Onwaulu, Mike Heuerman, and Malik Zaire

Of those players, Stewart, Clausen, Allen, Gray, Robinson, Motta, Rees, Jones, Golson, Day, and Brindza have been regular starters for Notre Dame at various points of their careers.  Among the other 18, six didn’t even finish their careers at Notre Dame – Lynch, Badger, Boyd, Kiel, Shepard, and Banks.

Brent would be wise to chat with TJ Jones since Jones has been the most successful early enrollee at wide receiver.  Jones started as a true freshmen, improved every season in South Bend, and closed out his Notre Dame career with 70 catches, 1,108 yards, and 9 touchdowns this fall all of which were career highs.  Last year Corey Robinson enrolled early and saw some playing time as a true freshmen, but Robinson was also still very much learning the game after starting to play football a bit late.

For Trumbetti, the most successful early enrollees along the defensive line were Aaron Lynch and Sheldon Day.  Lynch wasn’t a regular starter as a freshman in 2011, but he was a pass rushing specialist very early on and looked like he was headed for an All-American career before he transferred the following spring.  Day saw the field sparingly as a freshmen, but assumed a starting role in 2013.

It would have been great for Notre Dame if the Irish could have had a few more early enrollees this year – especially at linebacker where freshmen will likely be called upon early in 2014 – but Notre Dame fans should be very excited about both of the early enrollees reporting today.

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  1. And, for 2015, all three of our commits, Blake Barnett, Jerry Tillery and Tristen Hoge will enroll early. The 2015 group appears to have a great esprit corps. The present is bright. We will have a full deep roster and depth chart for 2014. Even where there is youth, like ILB and DL, there will be numbers. But the future may be even brighter!!

  2. Pretty good decisions by Trumbetti and Brent.

    There is plenty of opportunity for Trumbetti on the DL depth chart.

    He is in good shape, as evidenced by his victory in the Under-Armour
    skills competition, but bulking up with Paul Longo will be a key
    factor in his 2014 playing time. Still over 8 months until Rice, over 9 months until Stanford shows up (their OL will NOT have a big dropoff).

    Brent’s opportunity for good reps just increased with Davaris Daniels’
    academic travail. Brent really muscled up since the time he committed to the Irish when he was also playing a lot of basketball. His physique is as ready this year as Onwualu’s was last year.

    1. Duranko

      I agree with you that Brent appears to be the real deal and DDs screw up will provide opportunity and quality reps for someone but I doubt it will be Brent. We are so deep at WR that I wouldnt be surprised if Brent sees the field at all his 1st year.

  3. another lost opportunity, Alabama has hired former USC coach Lane Kiffin as its offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, the Crimson Tide announced Friday. lets goget those geniuses from cental michigan or grand valley state. ugh

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