5 Instant Impact Freshman for Notre Dame in ’13

U.S. Army All-American Bowl East Team RB Greg Bryant (1) from American Heritage/American Academy School in Delray Beach, FL during a U.S. Army All-American Bowl East Team practice at Heroes Stadium in San Antonio Texas. The 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl will be played Saturday January 5, 2013 in the Alamodome. (Photo – John Albright / Icon SMI)

Notre Dame reaped the benefits of a 12-1 season and trip to the national championship with an impressive recruiting class. Following a disappointing class last season the Irish loaded up on elite prospects and filled many positions of need in the 2013 recruiting cycle. With the Irish losing some key pieces from their roster the following players will step up and make an impact as freshman:

Greg Bryant – RB

A highly coveted talent out of Florida, Greg Bryant is an S.E.C. caliber running back that you don’t often see at Notre Dame. Bryant has all the tools, size, speed, elusiveness; you name it, which will result in him pushing George Atkinson III and Amir Carlisle for the starting running back job from day one. Bryant will only become more of a specimen under the supervision of the Notre Dame strength and conditioning coach and the rest of the Irish staff. Bryant is too talented to keep off the field, so expect the number two ranked running back in the 2013 class to be receiving the bulk of the carries for the Irish by the second quarter of the season.

Jaylon Smith – LB

The crown jewel of the Irish recruiting class, Jaylon Smith, will continue the tradition of great linebackers at Notre Dame. The in-state linebacker is regarded as one of the best prospects in the entire 2013 class. Smith, a consensus five star, will look to step right into the void left by previous elite recruit and Irish legend Manti Te’o. Smith won four state titles in as many years at Bishop Luers and should have little difficulty translating his game to the next level. Smith is a rare combination of speed, toughness, coverage ability, and intelligence, and will likely make his presence felt from the opening game, possibly becoming the best Irish linebacker by mid-season.

Max Redfield – S

Redfield, the highest rated defensive back by Rivals to ever commit to Notre Dame, will likely start from day one for the Irish. The California native excelled at multiple sports in high school due to his combination of athleticism and size. He will fit right into the hole left by Zeke Motta, and has the tools to be an immediate upgrade over the graduating safety. Redfield was formerly committed to USC, but as a member of the Irish he will see more playing time as a freshman than any other member of Notre Dame’s 2013 class.

Mike Heuerman – TE

Notre Dame early enrolee Mike Heuerman will have an opportunity to play early on at the tight-end position with the departure of Tyler Eifert to the NFL. Heuerman, a Florida native, played in an option offense in high school, resulting in a lack of jaw-dropping stats. However, don’t be fooled by the lack of numbers, Heuerman is a prototypical tight-end at 6’4’’, 220 pounds, as well as 4.7 speed. With Eifert’s departure and the struggles of Ben Koyack, Heuerman will battle to receive significant playing time due to his skills as a blocker and receiver.

Eddie Vanderdoes – DT

The second five star from California the Irish signed put an stamp on a brilliant class. The 6’3’’ 310-pound Vanderdoes can play either end or tackle for the Irish and will factor into the defensive line rotation immediately. Vanderdoes, who looked outstanding during Army All-American week, will battle Sheldon Day for the vacant defensive end spot formerly occupied by Kapron Lewis-Moore. Vanderdoes is also a big upgrade over the players on the second unit of Irish defensive lineman, which along with his versatility is the formula for a lot of playing time in order to keep Louis Nix III well rested.


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  1. HURLS 7 years ago

    I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU ALL ARE TREATING THESE GENTLEMEN AS PIECES OF MEAT! Or wait a sec… No. Go ahead. Fightin’ Irish are student-athletes. Not just students. (annually the smartest collegiate athletes) Not just athletes. (like most of our competition) Ass-kicking smarty-pantses. GEAUX IRISH!

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  2. Joezee 7 years ago

    Just a reminder not to refer to football players as warriors.

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  3. st. pat 7 years ago

    Cam is not a freshman, so he cant be an impact freshman.Hear Monteus has a shoulder issue that will limit him. Eddie,Bryant,Jaylon will all have the opportunity to see the field. Max is a talent, but we bring back a lot in the secondary. If Redfield makes an impact it will be very impressive. He has to out play Farley,and Shumate. That will be hard to do. Shumate needs to play more than just in nickle situations, love this kids game. Hear he might be tried at corner, but i see him as a safety who can play in the box. A little jersey bias here though.

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  4. duranko 7 years ago

    The term “instant impact” is a bit of a reach. Most freshmen, and go back and take a look at specimens like Marcus Dupree and Hershel Walker, are not ready to play serious minutes in the September opener.

    Our second game is in Ann Arbor. The veteran running backs, linebackers and safeties will have to carry the load and bring Notre Dame to victory.

    After we play ASU in Dallas there is a week off; the freshmen who will contribute will see the vast majority of their minutes and contributions come after that week off.

    This is just the way the world works.

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    1. Michael the Archangel 7 years ago

      Agreed. And remember Bobby Howard was a throw-in to attract his teammate Randy Moss- and Bobby ended up being the captain and leading tackler his senior year. There’s always going to be a surprise – be it a Will Fuller or John Monteus – who surface and emerge (see:Farley and K.Russel). The depth BK is building is the key- who emerges and how soon will be exciting to watch.
      GO IRISH!

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  5. woody o hardy 7 years ago

    I love our new recruits, but like the other posts, what about Cam and Will?

    I think the author should be more respectful of our current warriors.


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  6. Ed 7 years ago

    Wondering how Redfield is considered the highest ranked defensive back recruit that notre dame has signed. Gerome Sapp was the number 2 ranked player overall in the country when he committed in 1999.

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    1. Michael the Archangel 7 years ago

      Don’t remember Gerome’s rating in ’99; but he turned out to be an excellent college DB. Redfield was rated the #2 athlete by ESPN because of him excelling at WR as well- but I suspect he will get first look at safety and special teams as well.

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  7. old school 7 years ago

    Why always a preoccupation with “instant” this and “immediate” that? The fellows you discuss appear to be excellent players who have the potential, with coaching and maturity, to hone their skills and become good players for the Irish.

    Anything more is possible but not necessarily realistic. Each of these guys will be a freshman starting next summer. Each of them is still in high school now. Instant impact against USC, Michigan at the Big House, and Stanford at Palo Alto? Whether any impact they have will be “instant” is, at best, uncertain. How much “impact” it will be is, happily, something we’ll have a chance to see for ourselves.

    Meanwhile, let’s let them, and us, breathe a little. Even very good things sometimes take time.

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    1. Rob 7 years ago

      In every class, there usually are a few guys that do become instant impact players and some that were thought to be but ended up playing very little or red shirting. Last season, I would say the instant impact players ended up being Russell, Day, and to some extent Brown and Shumate. But last year’s class was not loaded with the talent that this one is. I imagine if Tee had qualified, given that he was an EE, he probably would have been an instant impact. The year before, both Lynch and Tuitt were instant impacts and GAIII on kickoffs. I think the guys mentioned could be instant impact based simply on their talent alone but also because of the positions they play. We have a few bodies at RB but nobody proven and Bryant is the highest rated RB ND has had in a long time, if not ever. We are stocked at safety but nobody as talented as Redfield, though Shumate would be the closest if he moved back to safety. Vanderdoes is a beast and nobody on the 2nd team has the skills this kid has. Bottom line, some players are ready to play as freshmen and some aren’t and some may just have too much talent to keep off the field if their positions either lack talent or depth.

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      1. jeff 7 years ago

        Brown with two catches for 56 yards. Not much of an impact in my eyes. He did manage to get behind Oklahomas DBs for a 52 yard BIG catch but other than that he didnt do much.

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  8. Chi-town Copper 7 years ago

    Why no love for Cam McDaniel? You assume GA3 and Amir Carlisle (who didnt even play last year) will be the top 2

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    1. JC 7 years ago

      Amen, Chi-town Copper, Amen!!

      Dead on, I would definately love to see Cam on the field with his gritty-smash-mouth- north-south dynamic running capabilities!

      Furthermore, at the expense of being castigated again! Unfairly, I might add, especially, by one of our very own exclusively narcissistic uhnd resident poster. I remain the same, and I would definately like to see, 6-1 258 lbs. DE Justin Utupo leading the way for Cam as a FB conversion from special teams.

      No finesse here with this tandem RB-FB line-up, howbeit, would running ripshod over anyone on our schedule be scrumtrulescent?

      Yeah, suuuuuure, BK has zero appetite for bigger, faster, taller and stronger! Hahaha, absolutely delusional, hahaha!

      One must realize only Bama understands smash-mouth-football at this moment in time. Sometimers won’t cut it here!

      Before long, Bama will be having a yard-sell, selling a closet full of crystal footballs! Long before our resident nobel peace prize….Welllll, I certainly won’t infringe on freedom of speech for charlatan’s of this world. It would be, shall I dare say, un-American? Hahahaha!

      Here come our beloved Irish!

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