Notre Dame’s on the field success in 2012 continued to pay dividends on the recruiting trail on Sunday when Brian Kelly and the Fighting Irish secured a commitment from 5-star running back Greg Bryant filling a potentail void in the backfield for next season.
With Theo Riddick set to graduate after a fantastic senior season and whispers of Cierre Wood possibly heading to the NFL instead of returning for a 5th year, Notre Dame was in need of a running back in this year’s class like Bryant – especially with rumors of fellow Notre Dame commitment Jamel James leaning towards taking visits elsewhere right now.
Bryant, a 5’1’1″, 197 lbs back, has the ability to step in and compete for a starting role next year with Amir Carlisle, Cam McDaniel, and Will Mahone should Wood forgo a 5th season. Rivals lists the Florida native as a 5-star recruit and both Rivals and ESPN have Bryant as their #2 running back in the entire nation.
Notre Dame came on very strong late in the game for Bryant after he had originally committed to Oklahoma earlier this year. Just as they did in Norman back on Halloween weekend though, the Irish came out on top of Sooners in this recruiting battle after Bryant committed to the Irish following his official visit to Notre Dame this weekend.
Tony Alford was the primary recruiter for Bryant and just as he has done time and time again, Notre Dame’s running backs coaching/recruiting coordinator did a bang up job in securing Bryant’s commitment. Aflord, known for his success in Florida, continues to show why he is one of the most highly regarded recruiters in the country and why he is so valuable to Brian Kelly’s staff.
With Bryant in the fold, the Irish are in great shape at running back even if James does indeed end up elsewhere. Bryant is the kind of every down, combo back that Notre Dame has not had much of over the last decade. Listed with sub 4.5 speed, Bryant is built to be an every down back at the college level who can also bust the long run.
With the addition of Bryant, Notre Dame also continues to climb the ranks of the recruiting rankings and is now sitting at #2 behind only USC in Rivals’ list of top classes with several high profile recruits left on the board that could fall the Irish’s way.
Just as Notre Dame has climbed the actual rankings this year, they have done the same in the recruiting rankings in large part to their success on the field. Notre Dame has added four commitments since the season started and all four of them – Bryant, Cole Luke, Torii Hunter Jr, and Doug Randolph – are considered 4-star or better recruits by Rivals.
Notre Dame also remains in the mix for highly rated recruits such as Max Redfield, Al-Quadin Muhammad, Tarean Folston, and Eddie Vanderdoes. Securing a few more commitments from that cast of recruits could end up pushing the Irish past the Trojans in the recruiting rankings giving them the edge on the field and on the recruiting trail in the same year for the first time in a while.