Notre Dame Football Moves on at Running Back, Expands Its Board

According to Pete Sampson of The Athletic, part of the recruiting pitch to Will Shipley was he was their only option at running back. They didn’t have much of a board beyond him. Which is nice, except if that option decides his time in college will be spent on another campus. Common sense said Shipley wasn’t going to be their only option forever; they still need a back in the class and even with them making Donovan Edwards their main priority, they needed some other options at the position.

Notre Dame moved very quickly, putting out offers to three star running backs Logan Diggs out of Louisiana, and Alton McCaskill out of Texas. Notre Dame had initially put out some feelers on these two prior to today, but things picked up steam with Shipley committing to Clemson and Notre Dame’s situation changing.

To be clear about something up front, this isn’t a situation where Notre Dame made an offer to a three star player and they instantly jumped into the lead. Notre Dame is Logan Diggs’ 25th offer. They are McCaskill’s 28th. These are two highly sought after players, despite their three star ranking. So, this is going to take some work and relationship building from the coaching staff. This is not going to be a quick fix.

I would also expect more offers to go out in the coming days. They don’t appear to be in great position with Edwards at the moment, and the duo of Diggs and McCaskill are new recruits. They need to spread their wings wide at the position at this point, because missing now would be unacceptable.

That being said, there is a lot to be excited about with these two athletes and would be good additions to the class and compliments to last seasons big running back pick up, Chris Tyree.

Logan Diggs

6-0, 195, Archbishop Rummel High School, Louisiana, #477 overall

Other offers: Arizona State, Michigan State, Arkansas, USC, Nebraska, Ole Miss

Diggs plays for one of the premiere high school programs in the state of Louisiana, Archbishop Rummel High School, and is one of the stars on his team that won a state championship last season. Something you’ll notice about both of these athletes is how big they are. I don’t mean big as in bulky, I mean tall. I’ve been so accustomed to backs the size of Kyren Williams and Chris Tyree, it’s almost jarring seeing running backs with such height.

Last season Diggs ran the ball 165 times for 924 yards and five touchdowns to go along with 26 receptions, 186 yards, and four scores. His team used Diggs as a wildcat quarterback at times with good success and they run a spread offense.

A couple notable things about his highlight tape is they actually show him in pass protection, which I don’t recall ever seeing on a running backs highlight tape. There will often be blocking, but never in pass protection, and Diggs does pretty well there. (Obviously. They won’t show him getting the quarterback lit up. But notable nevertheless.) Diggs is also a fairly violent player, who seeks out contact and will deliver a blow. And I just don’t mean a blow, I mean a shellacking. There is a mean streak to Diggs game that is very exciting.

Diggs is also a hurdler on the track team, and that athleticism shows itself in his tape. He leaps over a defender at one point, and he’s very sudden with his moves, a lot like Theo Riddick was. He has a lot of wiggle in his upper body and makes sharp cuts with a plant and juke. I’ve noticed a lack of make you miss ability in the open field with Notre Dame’s running backs last season, and Diggs would put a stop to that. He is a nightmare when he can size you up in the open field. Also showed comfort catching the ball out of the backfield, basically a must in today’s game.

Alton McCaskill

6-1, 195, Oak Ridge High School, Texas, #515 overall

Other offers: Auburn, Oklahoma State, Florida State, Penn State

I challenge anyone to watch this film and not instantly think McCaskill runs like Ricky Watters. Within the first couple of clips, the resemblance is striking. Which tells you for someone who is 6-1, he runs pretty tall, and that’s always something of a concern for a running back. But, since he’s reminiscent of Watters, who was great at Notre Dame, lets pass it off as no big deal.

Like Diggs, McCaskill is also a track athlete, and has a track time of 10.91 posted from early in March. For a player of his size, a 10.91 time is very good and shows the kind of athlete that he is. As a junior he carried the ball 121 times for 845 yards and ten touchdowns. This gives a bit of an idea as to why McCaskill and Diggs are rated as three stars. It’s hard to get up there in the rankings if you haven’t posted big numbers for your high school team. Obviously, I’m not hip the inner workings of their programs as to why it is they don’t get more touches, but it doesn’t really matter, the film shows what they can do.

I wouldn’t necessarily call McCaskill explosive, but as his 100 meter time indicates, he has pretty good burst through the hole and importantly, the long speed to pull away once he’s in the clear. He doesn’t have the same knack for contact the way Diggs does, but he’s a pretty big kid who is not easy to bring down. The film also shows some nice catches out of the backfield and on screens, and his high school offense is also involved in the spread. It should also be pointed out that his highlight tape appears to be from his sophomore season, so it’s likely his speed has improved since then. Which would likely make him an even more exciting prospect.

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5 Comments

    1. Was a miracle they got Tyree. This sorry recruiting at RB can be attributed to just flat out not enough effort to run the ball, which is baffling considering the linemen they recruit

  1. Please stop with minimizing the miss on Shipley. Neither of those second choices were the same caliber of athlete, including the background “fit,” so call it what it was: a huge strikeout which likely will further delay our (ever?) being able to compete with the elite.

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