Breaking Down Notre Dame Football’s Two Year Recruiting Haul: Offense

Recruiting classes are very often analyzed and gauged in two year increments. No class is targeted in a vacuum; the current seasons recruiting class is often influenced by the season before it. For example, in 2017 Notre Dame signed zero corners. The year after, they signed five.

Breaking down the last two classes will show where Notre Dame is talent wise at each position group, how the numbers look, and where the Irish are likely to go heavy in 2020.

Quarterback

  • 2018 Signed: Phil Jurkovec
  • 2019 Signed: Brendon Clark
  • Average composite rating: .9195
  • Top 200: 1 (Jurkovec)

Notre Dame always wants to take one per season, and they usually stagger them with a highly rated quarterback and something of a bridge or program quarterback. Jurkovec is a top 100 player, Clark is a three star prospect. Obviously, Clark is not to be taken lightly, as the 2018 season showed when three star player Ian Book took over for top 50 recruit Brandon Wimbush.

Notre Dame has a top 150 quarterback already committed in the 2020 class, Drew Pyne. This position is right where the coaching staff wants it.

Running Back

  • 2018 Signed: Jahmir Smith, C’Bo Flemister
  • 2019 Signed: Kyren Williams 
  • Average Composite Rating: .8698
  • Top 200: 0

The number of backs isn’t a huge problem, but the quality is what is lacking. Williams is already on campus and recently achieved four star status. He possesses a very diverse skill set out of the back field and is extremely elusive in the open field. Smith and Flemister saw light work in 2018 and will have the chance in the spring to prove themselves and earn their way into the rotation.

This position is in serious need of a talent upgrade and is a major priority for the staff. They are in on some very highly rated 2020 players and new running backs coach Lance Taylor couldn’t be coming at a better time.

Wide Receiver

  • 2018 Signed: Kevin Austin, Braden Lenzy, Lawrence Keys, Micah Jones, Joe Wilkins
  • 2019 Signed: Kendall Abdur-Rahman, Cam Hart
  • Average Composite Rating: .8972
  • Top 200: 1 (Austin) 

This is a good indication of the previous years class affecting the other. Notre Dame went heavy in 2018, light in 2019.

Long on numbers with seven players signed in the last two classes, short on star power. This group does have a lot of potential, however. Austin is the headliner, Lenzy, Keys, and Wilkins are the speed players, Jones and Hart the possession guys, and Abdur-Rahman the wild card. He was a quarterback in high school and was very elusive in the open field as a runner and showed really good burst. Not a lot to evaluate as a receiver, but he was a handful with the ball in his hands.

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The group is still hovering around four star status when put together, not terrible, but an upgrade can be had here. With seven guys signed, they really should have more than one composite top 200 player. Like running back, Notre Dame has some very good options in 2020 and will be a priority for them.

Tight End

  • 2018 Signed: George Takacs, Tommy Tremble
  • 2019 Signed: None
  • Average Composite Rating: .8914
  • Top 200: 0 

Kind of a unique situation here. In 2017 Notre Dame signed two of the top tight ends in the nation in Brock Wright and Cole Kmet, then followed that up with Takacs and Tremble. They decided to punt on the position in 2019 with two of the top tight ends already committed in 2020, Michael Mayer and Kevin Bauman.

Tremble and Takacs both redshirted last season, Tremble was coming off of a knee injury, and Kmet and Wright will be featured prominently on the 2019 team. They’ll enter the season with four and it’ll be six in 2020 should everyone be around. They are taking a risk counting on the 2020 guys so early. Should one of them change their mind, they’d be a little bit exposed numbers wise. Should make clear there is no indication either committed player isn’t solid, and committing early generally indicates a solid pledge, especially when they are already high profile.

Offensive Line

  • 2018 Signed: Jarrett Patterson, John Dirksen, Cole Mabry, Luke Jones
  • 2019 Signed: Zeke Correll, Quinn Carroll, Andrew Kristofic, John Olmstead
  • Average Composite Rating: .9084
  • Top 200: 4 (Correll, Carroll, Kristofic, Olmstead)

Notre Dame made up for an unfavorable board in 2018 with a home run in 2019. I guess Jeff Quinn can recruit. They brought in four top 200 players, two in the top 150, and one of those in the top 100. All are on campus as early enrollees. As you may have noticed, this is the most talent rich position on the offense, both in terms of average rating and top ranked players, which is exactly what Notre Dame needs to win. They will likely never match the top teams in terms of skill players, so they need to be better up front. It’s been the formula since the beginning of time.

Notre Dame is in hot pursuit of top targets in 2020, but with eight signed in the last two cycles, and a slew of upperclassmen with multiple years of eligibility remaining, this position unit is in very good shape.

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9 comments

  1. Sean 2 weeks ago

    Not impressed at all with this class at skill positions. Finishing out of the top five or ten in recruiting Rankings, just is not getting it done, as the Clemson game showed.

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  2. Stanley 3 weeks ago

    The WR position was and still one of the top hauls in 2018. With academic requirements (15 plus hours of real classes), Physical readiness expected by Kelly, MUST have the ability to block,
    NFL Playbook and concepts, and competition level. It will be hard to find talent at the HS level that can walk in and play immediately. The WR’s at ND typically get
    developed first. Maybe that should have played the young WR’s more. ND has blend of different type of WR which is needed to compete against teams on their schedule.

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  3. Dustin Poole 3 weeks ago

    Great article – for some reason I felt like Notre Dame recruiting had slowed down the past couple years but as highlighted here repeatedly, what we lack in star power is made up in quality depth.

    Good to hear that “Jeff Quinn can recruit.” But I cannot find any commentary on how good a coach he is when it comes to player development. Despite losing Nelson, McGlinchey, and then Bars, I still felt like the offensive line underperformed its talent level.

    Next year, with some continuity, will be the true test but I would love to see an assessment of Quinn in the meantime from someone who knows football better than I do.

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  4. Bruce Gregory Curme 3 weeks ago

    I’d like to see at least one of the running backs develop into a devastating pass blocker…not just a guy who gets in the way of a DE or a LB…a guy who takes them OUT…a guy who LIKES that job. We used to have those critters around the Dome – but it’s been awhile.

    BGC ’77 ’82

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    1. Patrick 3 weeks ago

      Been a long time

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    2. david 3 weeks ago

      Shouldn’t be a problem. Anyone willing to play running back at Kelly’s ND shouldn’t be too concerned about a pro career.

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      1. Ron Burgundy 3 weeks ago

        Josh Adams, Theo Riddick and CJ Prosise unavailable for comment.

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      2. Antoine Porche-Rideaux 2 weeks ago

        So I guess Dexter Williams will be drafted in the 3rd to 4th round like scouts say he will and I guess Josh Adams as a rookie free agent didn’t lead the eagles in rushing yards this yr ?

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    3. Bruce Gregory Curme 3 weeks ago

      David,
      We used to call those guys ERASERS. It’s good to have an Eraser on offense and on defense. Gillman is close to being an ERASER on defense, but it seems like we’ve been missing that guy on “O”. I saw our “O” line make a lot of mistakes in the Ball State game against that 3-4 defense, and a lot of mistakes against Clemson’s front, but it was scramble time immediately – no ERASER to be found. As for a pro career…well, if you are outstanding at what you do, you’ll find work – just like in any other field.

      BGC ’77 ’82

      BGC

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