Last weekend five recruits from the 2017 recruiting class moved into their Notre Dame dorm rooms and began life as college students–offensive linemen Aaron Banks and Robert Hainsey, tight end Brock Wright, running back CJ Holmes, and athlete Isaiah Robertson. Since they took the time and effort to graduate from high school early and attend the university we all love and cheer for, and in doing so will likely get lost in the signing day excitement, they deserve to be highlighted, celebrated, and broken down by me, a guy with zero credentials as a talent evaluator except that I screamed from the roof tops in 2013 that Will Fuller would be a star so naturally everyone should listen to what I have to say.
I’ve watched all of their film and will offer my off the cuff thoughts, whether they can make an impact early, and what former Notre Dame player they are comparable with.
Here they are, in alphabetical order by last name.
Aaron Banks, Offensive Line
6-7, 315 El Cerrito, CA–247 composite: .9257 four star
His Notre Dame career got off to an unfortunate start, due to no fault of his own, because it kicked off a litany of “Notre Dame got a big commitment, and we mean literally BIG, hahaha” hot takes that got incredibly old the second the first person uttered it. It was a big commitment in the sense that it came following the abysmal 4-8 season and brought a little bit of momentum to an otherwise tumultuous couple of months in recruiting.
At first blush he doesn’t seem to be overly athletic, but he makes up for that in sheer girth and strength. He’s often just bullying guys whether it’s on offense or defense and he seems to revel in just tossing guys all over the place whenever he can. I can’t see him playing tackle just based off of the film that I’ve seen, but at 6-7 that would be a really big guard. I’m curious to see how good he can be as a zone blocker, because he excels on film in one on one match-ups. He was offered, however, by a number of spread teams such as Oregon, Utah and Arizona State, plus Michigan which is very much a power team. So colleges don’t necessarily see him as scheme specific. Watching his film he reminds me of former guard Jerry Wisne from the mid 90’s Lou Holtz teams, who also was a massive 6-7 and was a multiyear starter at guard who paved the way for Notre Dame all-time leading rusher and current Irish coach Autry Denson.
Almost no offensive linemen play early under Harry Hiestand, mostly due to the talent he has already brought in, and I expect Banks to spend a year developing his technique and building up his body.