Notre Dame welcomes the latest crop of early enrollees to campus on Monday – a group that includes five recruits at five different positions from five different states. A group that also features five potential future stars for the Fighting Irish.
Once a practice that was new to Notre Dame, the Irish have now had seven years of early enrollees with great results both on and off the field. Early enrollment has allowed some recruits to see the field early in their careers – see Jimmy Clausen, Armando Allen, and TJ Jones – while it has allowed others like Everett Golson to settle into college and adapt to the academic rigors at Notre Dame.
This year’s group was set to include a sixth member until Alex Anzalone pulled an 11th hour switch and enrolled at Florida last week. Even with the loss of Anzalone, this year’s class of early enrollees is an extremely talented group of incoming freshman all of whom have the ability to have great college careers wearing the blue and gold for Notre Dame.
So, without further ado, here is the 2013 crop of early enrollees for the Fighting Irish.
Steve Elmer – OL – 6’6″, 305 lbs
Elmer was the first recruit to commit to this year’s class, doing so in September 2011 at the start of his junior year of high school. Along the way, Elmer has picked up accolades and awards and never wavered in his decision to join the Fighting Irish. Monday, he becomes one of the first recruits to start his Notre Dame career along with the other four early enrollees. Elmer is a big, talented kid and a consensus 4-star recruit.
Elmer likely projects as an offensive tackle for the Irish and could be called upon to provide some depth at tackle for Notre Dame in the fall already depending on what kind of work he puts in with Paul Longo in the Notre Dame weight room this winter. As with most Notre Dame offensive line recruits, however, Elmer has some versatility and could play other positions along the line as well.
It is never an ideal situation to count on freshmen for playing time along either the offensive or defensive line, but when they enroll early and get a full off-season conditioning and spring practice under their belts before the rest of the freshmen sets foot on campus in the summer, you have a much better scenario. Even if Elmer lives in the weight room between now and the summer though, it would be ideal to have the luxury of red-shirting (or the Notre Dame equivalent of red-shirting) all offensive linemen. The depth up front on the offensive line, however, has taken a hit with some transfers and injuries so the Irish just aren’t quite there yet.
Notre Dame will have two open spots on along the line and a number of players coming back from injury in 2013. Injuries mounted up so much for the Irish up front that they were limited with what they could do practice wise leading up to the BCS Championship – a situation that didn’t help matters last Monday night.
Click next to keep reading about the other four members of this year’s early enrollment class.