Position By Position Break Down Of The Notre Dame Early Signing Class

Notre Dame officially welcomed 20 players to the 2018 recruiting class today. They currently sit at #7 in the 247 class rankings with a couple players left to decide this week.

Here is a position by position break down of who signed and who is still out there.


Signed: 1

Remaining spots: 0 

Phil Jurkovec, Pine-Richland, PA 6’5, 215

247: 66th nationally, #5 quarterback, .9663 rating, four star

Key offers: Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson (you get the picture)

Finalist for Gatorade National Player of the Year, he led his team to a state championship in Pennsylvania while putting up monster numbers. Also an accomplished basketball player, he’s a dual threat quarterback who isn’t as dynamic a runner as Wimbush, but probably better than Kizer or Golson. A huge get from the Pennsylvania area, who had to have gotten lots of pressure throughout the past year to flip his commitment.

Running Back

Signed: 1

Remaining spots: 0

Jahmir Smith, Sanford, NC 6’0, 205

247: 583rd, 26th running back, .8721 rating, three star

Key offers: USC, North Carolina, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Tennessee

A bruising, down hill runner who is similar in style to Frank Gore, will be the only running back in the Notre Dame class. He is very comfortable running inside and shows good patience waiting for holes to develop. Doesn’t possess breakaway speed, but doesn’t show a tendency to bounce runs early, and has an ability to shed tacklers who don’t get clean shots.

Wide Receiver

Signed: 2

Remaining spots: 2-3 (Amon-Ra St. Brown, Lawrence Keys, Braden Lenzy)

Kevin Austin, Pompono Beach, FL 6’3, 200

247: 73rd, #14 receiver, .9626, four star

Key offers: Miami, Tennessee, Clemson

A star in the making, who Brian Kelly compared to Golden Tate. A great candidate to see the field as a freshman, he has excellent hands, shifty in the open field, and possesses a fifth gear with the ball in the air. He has everything you want a receiver to have.

Micah Jones, Gurnee, IL 6’5, 206

247: 355th, #63 receiver, .8919, four star

Has a little Maurice Stovall to his game. Uses his body well, excellent with the ball in the air. He lacks the top end speed and ability to separate deep, but Stovall also didn’t display that kind of ability till late in his career. Jones will enroll early and get a jump start on his college career.

Tight End

Signed: 2

Remaining spots: 0

George Takacs, Naples, FL 6’7, 242

247: 245th, #12 tight end, .9101, four star

Key offers: Auburn, Georgia, Florida State, Florida, Miami, Ohio State

Made The Opening finals in Oregon as part of the offseason camp circuit, very similar in style and ability to Durham Smythe, current starter at tight end. As an inline player he’ll need time to develop in the weight room, but Notre Dame has the bodies at tight end to allow him to do that, and with Chip Long around you know multiple tight ends are in the mix at all times.

Tommy Tremble, Norcross, GA 6’4, 225

247: 475th, #20 tight end, .8797, three star

Key offers: Michigan, Georgia, UCLA, Auburn

Here’s the thing about Tremble: he’s not an extremely highly rated player. But he’s a guy from Georgia who was offered by Georgia, the year they are a playoff team, and Notre Dame battled them, Michigan, and UCLA with new coach Chip Kelly for his services late in the process. His ranking could have been hurt by a knee injury he suffered early in his senior season, but good teams with good coaches put the press on to land this guy late and Notre Dame won the fight. Watching his film, I love his game. He’s a smooth runner, catches the ball well, and competes as a blocker. He’ll get bigger and then watch out. Early sleeper candidate for me.

Offensive Line

Signed: 2

Remaining Spots: 1-2 (Luke Jones, Nicholas Petit-Frere)

John Dirksen, Marla Stein, OH, 6’5, 305

247: 500th, #38 tackle, .8776, three star

Key offers: Michigan State, Northwestern, Iowa State

When you sign a bunch of highly rated prospects over multiple years, it affords coaches the opportunity to pick and choose developmental guys to fill out the roster. Both Dirksen and Cole Mabry fit the mold of lesser known linemen who turned out to be really good at Notre Dame (the Martin Brothers immediately come to mind). He’s got size and he’s got athleticism, two things we know Harry Hiestand wants to work with.

Cole Mabry, Brentwood, TN, 6’6, 275

247: 691st nationally, #55 tackle, .8655 rating, three star

Key offers: LSU, Arkansas, Memphis

Along the same lines as Dirksen, not going to come in a compete for time in his first couple of season. Good athlete, good with his hands, and high motor (did I get all the cliches in?) who will have time to develop his body and his game.

Defensive Line

Signed: 3

Remaining spots: 0

Jayson Ademilola, Jersey City, NJ 6’3, 290 

247: 159th, #14 defensive tackle, .9326, four star

Key offers: Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Ohio State, Michigan

A cream of the crop type of player for Notre Dame at a key position. He lacks a little bit of the athleticism that brings high rankings as a defensive tackle, but he’s as close to Sheldon Day as you can get. Good strength and excellent interior moves for a high school player, could compete for time if he develops physically.

Justin Ademilola, Jersey City, NJ, 6’3, 240

247: 605th, #33 defensive end, .8709, three star

Key offers: Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Ohio State, Michigan

The twin brother of Jayson, they boast the same offer list. A little bit smaller, and therefore plays on the ouside. Possesses similar athletic ability, but just in a smaller frame, which is why the ranking is lower. Like his brother, he possesses refined pass rushing skills for a young player. When he puts on weight, a Kapron Lewis-Moore type of career would make a lot of sense.

Ja’Mion Franklin, Ridgley, MD 6’1, 295

247: 549th, #42 defensive tackle, .8742, three star

Key offers: Virginia Tech, Florida State, Wisconsin, Michigan, Penn State

Short, stout, and nasty. Franklin has great strength, good burst at the snap and very good with his hands. Probably won’t play next year because the numbers are good, but he might have played for the 2017 team over Myron and Hinish. Very good three man class here.


Signed: 4

Spots left: 1 (Solomon Tuliaupupu)

Bo Baur, Erie, PA 6’2, 222

247: 281st, #15 inside linebacker, .9036 rating, four star

Key offers: Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Michigan State

An early enrollee, has a chance to play if he can add some weight and some things break wrong for Notre Dame as far as who goes and who stays. Huge hitter with great instincts and good athleticism. Similar in style to Nyles Morgan, with a better feel for the game.

Jack Lamb, Temecula, CA, 6’4, 220

247: 131st, #6 inside linebacker, .9439, four star

Key offers: Oklahoma, USC, Penn State, Washington

Excellent athlete with the ability to play sideline to sideline. More of a Buck than a Mike in the Elko defense, a more athletic version of Coney with a little less size. Very good in the passing game, seems to have good instincts on route concepts. One of the key pickups in the 2018 class.

Ovie Oghoufo, Farrington, MI 6-3, 215

247: 527th, 36th outside linebacker, .8755, three star

Key offers: Michigan, Michigan State, Iowa State, Boston College

Athletic player who needs to grow into his college position at linebacker. Could be a Buck, could be a Rover, isn’t ready to compete at his current size. Could grow into a Asmar Bilal type of body, and will likely have a couple of seasons to put on good weight and learn the position. Obviously, a guy with great athleticism has a ton of upside on defense, and especially with the way Mike Elko uses his linebackers.

Shayne Simon, Jersey City, NJ 6’3, 215

247: 132nd, #7 outside linebacker, .9426, four star

Key offers: Michigan, Ohio State, Stanford, Penn State

A teammate of the Ademilola twins, Simon was recruited specifically to play the Rover position, currently occupied by Drue Tranquill. Will be able to compete for the back up position immediately, which would put him on the field as Elko rotates his defenders no matter who they are. Played safety, linebacker, and receiver at St. Peters Prep, and is just the perfect type of player for the Rover position. Very key signing for Notre Dame.

Defensive Back

Signed: 5

Remaining spots: 2 (Kyler Gordon, Julius Irvin, Noah Boykin)

Derrik Allen, Marietta, GA 6’2, 211

247: 69th, #7 safety, .9649, four star

Key offers: Georgia, LSU, Alabama, Ohio State, pretty much all the teams

He’s a star, perhaps the best safety since Harrison Smith, and more highly regarded out of high school. Can play either safety spot, can cover, can hit, and he returned punts. If he was an early enrollee, I’d think a starting spot would be a great possibility from day one. That said, I still think he eventually starts games in 2018.

Tariq Bracy, Milpitas, CA 6’0, 170

247: 414th, #24 corner, .8843, three star

Key offers: Utah, Washington State, Cal

Very similar to Nick Coleman in terms of how he was used in high school (a lot of running back) and overall athletic ability. The difference between the two is Bracy displays a lot more football instincts than Coleman did on defense. So imagine Nick Coleman athleticism with the instincts of Julian Love and you’ve got Tariq Bracy.

Houston Griffith, Bradenton, FL 6’1, 192

247: 63rd, #11 corner, .9673, four star

Key offers: Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, USC, and all the others

To this point, Notre Dame’s highest ranked player. He will enroll early and will look to see the field wherever they start him out, either safety or corner. Most think safety is his destiny, but the idea of a 6’1 corner sounds pretty good to me. Wherever it works out, I’m all in for it. Huge get, the kind of player that usually ends up at Ohio State, starts for three years and is picked 12th by the Titans or something.

Paul Moala, Mishawaka, IN 6’0, 200

247: #84 safety, .8478, three star

Key offers: Nebraska, Iowa, Vanderbilt

Notre Dame took a couple fliers in the secondary, and a local kid who made a ton of plays at his high school seems like the type of player you want to take a chance on. He’s a huge hitter, excellent with the ball in his hands, and plays with urgency all the time. Same type of build and playing style to Alohi Gilman, the transfer from Navy.

Joe Wilkins Jr., North Fort Myers, FL 6’2, 180

247: 713th, #60 corner, .8636, three star

Key offers: NC State, Michigan State, Louisville

Another flier from Notre Dame, reminds me a lot of Bennett Jackson out of high school, who turned into a two year starter and a captain. Good athlete with a solid size, needs to be put in a position and allowed to grow into it. Played lots of offense and was a huge playmaker for his team. Plays mostly on athleticism on defense, not a ton of technique, but there is a lot to work with.

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  2. What is monumentally significant is that one year ago not merely the recruiting class, but the entire recruiting operation was being held together by string and sealing wax and Mike Elston and Brian Kelly. It was on the brink.

    Not any more.

    The staff is in place.

    The addition of Bill Rees, which happened in midseason, went largely unnoticed, but was of massive significance. Rees knows personnel (think Vinny cerrato, but instead a guy who, though he has neither Cerrato’s charisma nor suntan, has a complete dossier as an NFL talent evaluator). The comfort of having worked with Elko and Lea at Wake Forest is merely the cherry on the holiday sundae.

    Elston smoothly passed the recruiting baton to Polian, and Mike, who appears egoless, is no less ardent about his recruiting efforts, particularly on the defensive line. Notre Dame has not been this far ahead of the DL recruiting cycle in all the years I have been following it.

    This cold reality has not changed: Notre Dame is not for everybody, academically and culturally. But there are plenty of Jimmies and Joes who can pass academic and behavioral muster to field an outstanding team.

    There are probably better recruiting staffs in the country. But probably not a better staff that combines effectiveness in recruiting with fundamental honesty and true concern for the well-being of the students and young men being recruited.

    Go Irish! The future is bright.

  3. BGC, let’s be realistic, this is an All to familiar scenario, upperclassman is the starter, ( QB) he gets totaled then the freshman takes over and never looks back.

    1. Greg (or anyone) – When was the last time we started a freshman at QB…just out of curiosity…and what was our final record that year?

      1. Or Clausen.
        It certainly worked for Georgia this year! Not so much for Florida State though.

        BGC ’77 ’82

  4. Great article Greg! Thank you for all the analysis. Spot on as always!!!! This is an awesome Class!!!! I am so excited about all of these signees, but I am extra giddy about these three:
    – Houston Griffith – As Maverick says in Top Gun – “I feel the need for speed!!!” This guy can flat out run!!!!!
    – Jack Lamb – His name may say Lamb but he plays like a ???. No running on this cowboy!!!!
    – Tommy Tremble – He is the Positive Pete Under the Radar Player in this class. He will make opposing defenses TREMBLE with fear?

    Go IRISH!!!! Now lets go get them Tigers of LSU!!!!!

    1. I’m very much hoping that we can use these athletes on our own terms as freshmen, or redshirt them, rather than needing them to fill holes at key positions as starters. I’d rather see sophomores, juniors and seniors on the field against Michigan wherever we can. It certainly helps that seven of them will be in the conditioning program starting in a few weeks, but remember guys, it’s rare when a freshman is the salvation of a program. And anyway, I’m confident in our upperclassmen. They are now “veterans” of the 2017 turnaround, and hopefully are ready to work hard in the offseason to carry it to the next level. The CITRUS bowl will tell us a lot.

      BGC ’77 ’82

  5. Here’s a toast that these new Notre Dame football players give Fightin’ Irish fans many thrills for years to come.

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