The 2019 recruiting cycle is finally in the books. The two months after the early signing period make the process seem to drag on forever, especially true this season with Notre Dame having 10 players enrolling early and 21 of the 22 inked in December (It was actually all 22, but Foskey decided to keep his signing a secret till the February period.)
Folks have largely moved on from the 2019 cycle and onto 2020, which is off to a roaring start with five commitments for the Irish and tons of offers going out. This was a big benefit of Notre Dame’s effort in 2019. Usually our staff does a predictions article on each class, but it got pushed back because of the nature of the cycle. A couple weeks after the 2019 class was set in stone, I decided what the heck let’s make some prognostications.
Kyle Hamilton, Safety
Notre Dame’s highest rated player is also the most likely to turn into a star. First, he is dripping with talent. He’s 6-3, 215, has sideline to sideline range, tremendous ball skills, an aggressive tackler, and has quick enough feet to cover receivers one on one. Second, it’s the last two points there that can get him onto the field early next season. Notre Dame needs an answer at nickel back, and may be reluctant to put Shaun Crawford there because of the needs at corner. Hamilton has the skill set to play inside and is physically ready enough to do it. He’s like a more aggressive Bobby Taylor.
Kendall Abdur-Rahman, Receiver
Abdur-Rahman is a mid three star prospect who was recruited to play a position that he didn’t play in high school. He was his teams quarterback, and therefore doesn’t have any film of him catching passes or running routes. What his film does show is someone extremely dynamic in the open field as a runner. And we aren’t talking about broken play scrambles here. He was exceptional at designed runs, both inside and outside, and shows tremendous burst once in the open field. There is some talk that he will start his career at running back, and he has the body type and game to do it. I think he will prove to be a very important recruit for the 2019 class.
The Safest Bet
Zeke Correll, Offensive Line
If I had to wager on which player from the 2019 class would start the most games, it’d be Correll. He’s not just playing on the offensive line, he’s being groomed for center. Center is one of those spots where once you have a guy, you stick with him. Correll was the composite 82nd ranked player in the 2019 class, so he brings tons of talent, and looked really good in the Under Armour All Star game in the off season. To top it off, he is already on campus as an early enrollee. There is an outside chance he could start this season.
The Most Important Signing
Kyren Williams, Running Back
Notre Dame only signed one running back this cycle, after struggling last cycle, and landed a really good one in Williams. He has a lot on his shoulders as the only one in his class, joining a green backfield with the exception of Tony Jones Jr. Williams has an all in one skill set as someone who can run in between the tackles, take the ball outside, and lineup at receiver and beat a safety in coverage. There are some questions about his top end speed, although he scored something like 500 touchdowns in high school, a great many from long distance. It wasn’t a problem for him then, but I guess you never know. It also wouldn’t stun me if this guy made his way onto special teams, he was a monster at safety this past season.
Jay Bramblett, Punter
Notre Dame lost their punter. Notre Dame needed a punter. They got a punter. You don’t often see punters with three star ratings from the services, but that’s where Bramblett was rated by 247’s composite. He was also a very good quarterback for his high school team, something the Irish can keep in their back pocket should they get a crazy idea or two. This is a very important signing that no one really talks about, including me, but no more. Punters are people too.
Kyle Hamilton, Zeke Correll, Kyren Williams, Jacob Lacy (defensive tackle)
I think these four players burn their eligibility this season, with Jacob Lacy and Hamilton getting the most snaps. Lacy is an underrated athlete on the defensive line; he led his high school baseball team in stolen bases last season. Like Williams and Correll, he is also on campus at the moment. He’s got the size, he’s already in the Irish weight program, and he’s already working with the Irish coaches. And there is opportunity with the departures of Jerry Tillery and Jonathan Bonner.
I think Correll eventually overtakes Trevor Ruhland at center, and Hamilton is the type of guy who will only be on campus for three seasons so you better get the most out of him while he’s here. Williams has the skill set to carve out a niche and get onto the field.