It’s not even August yet but Notre Dame has pretty much secured their entire 2020 recruiting class. With 17 commitments in the class of 2020 Notre Dame is currently 5th in the 24/7 team rankings. Building off last season’s playoff appearance the Notre Dame staff will be looking to upgrade the talent and be selective for a 2020 class that at max will be 20-22 signees.
Let’s take a position-by-position breakdown of how the Irish are expected to proceed for the class of 2020.
Committed: 1 (Drew Pyne)
Projected Take: 1
Comments: The only offer Brian Kelly and his staff made at the QB position was to Drew Pyne and he was the first to jump aboard the 2020 class. The 4-star QB from Connecticut is as solid of a commitment as they come growing up as a huge Notre Dame and Brady Quinn fan. Pyne is a top 100 prospect who despite his short stature (6’0) is well built and extremely accurate but doesn’t have the incredible arm strength as some of the taller QBs in his class. Pyne will be an early enrollee in January and has been one of ND’s best recruiters especially on the offensive side of the ball.
Committed: 1 (Chris Tyree)
Projected Take: 1-2
Comments: Notre Dame finally under the help of new RB coach Lance Taylor landed their #1 target at a position they have struggled for years to recruit at an elite level. Tyree is the #1 rated all-purpose back in the nation. He recently ran the fastest 40 at The Opening with a scorching 4.37. He’s extremely athletic, agile and his elite speed gives ND a home run back they covet.
Right now it looks like Tyree will be the only RB in this class even though they only signed one in 2019 (Kyren Williams) and both Jafar Armstrong and Tony Jones could be playing their final season depending on circumstances.
If Notre Dame decides to take another RB look for them to flip current Purdue commit Tirek Murphy out of New York. Murphy made multiple visits to ND and the staff loves him but couldn’t offer him a spot yet with minimal scholarships currently available.
Committed: 3 (Jordan Johnson, Jay Brunelle, Xavier Watts)
Projected Take: 3-4
Comments: This is becoming repetitive but it bears noting Notre Dame again landed it’s #1 WR target in 5-star Jordan Johnson out of St. Louis back in early April. Underrated 3-star WR prospects Jay Brunelle out of Massachusetts and Xavier Watts out of Nebraska joined him in early July after their other targets Jalen McMillan chose Washington and AJ Henning chose Michigan.
Johnson would be the first 5-star WR to pick ND since Michael Floyd and like Floyd could be a day one starter as a freshman. The coaches including WR coach Delvaughn Alexander will continue to recruit McMillan despite his verbal pledge to the Huskies and the fact he’s from the dreaded Fresno, CA area where ND notoriously strikes out in the luck department for recruits.
Right now you couldn’t ask for a much better class of receivers in Johnson, Brunelle and Watts who all compliment each other and have the talent and fit to start multiple seasons.
Committed: 2 (Kevin Bauman, Michael Mayer)
Projected Take: 2
Comments: The Irish landed their top 2 tight end targets last summer in Kevin Bauman and Michael Mayer. Mayer recently earned the nickname “Baby Gronk” after his exceptional performance and resemblance to All-Pro TE Rob Gronkowski at The Opening. Currently both recruits are 4-stars but it would be shocking if Mayer doesn’t get bumped up to 5-stars after his dominating The Opening performance.
Committed: 2 (Tosh Baker, Michael Carmody)
Projected Take: 2-3
Comments: Tosh Baker was the top priority for Notre Dame at the offensive tackle position and OL coach Jeff Quinn did an excellent job securing his commitment in early May. Baker reminds me a lot of another massive, agile tackle prospect who came from the desert in Ronnie Stanley. With a dominating senior season Baker will be bumped up to 5-star status as he currently sits at #51 overall in the nation.
4-star prospect Michael Carmody, the younger brother of ND basketball player Robby Carmody, joined the class in mid June after flirting with Ohio State and Penn State.
I don’t expect ND to take any more linemen since they signed 4 elite prospects last cycle. Notre Dame has already turned down prospects like Reece Atteberry and Zak Zinter who both signed with their backup school in Michigan. Plus the 2021 class is loaded with outstanding offensive linemen and Notre Dame has already secured 2 in the class.
Committed: 2 (Alexander Ehrensberger, Jordan Botelho)
Projected Take: 2-3
Comments: In my 40 years of fandom I can’t recall Notre Dame ever recruiting a prospect from Germany but they landed one in Alexander Ehrensberger in January. The 6’7 German has incredible length and size but he’s obviously very raw having played his entire prep career overseas. DL coach Mike Elston will look to mold Ehrensberger into the next Margus Hunt.
The more finished player is Hawaii’s Jordan Botelho who will play drop end. Botelho is a 4-star player who committed back in April and is the #1 player out of Hawaii. Out of all the commits I think Botelho will be the hardest to secure on signing day as currently Oregon, Washington and USC among others are making a heavy push to get him to visit this summer and fall.
Notre Dame could still add another defensive end but it would have to be an unexpected flip since their other targets have already verballed elsewhere.
Committed: 2 (Rylie Mills, Aidan Keanaaina)
Projected Take: 2
Comments: Gone are the days when Notre Dame would struggle to sign any much less elite defensive linemen. The Irish landed two of the best interior defensive tackles in the nation in 4-star prospects Aidan Keanaaina and Rylie Mills.
Elston again deserves recruiting credit for securing 4 defensive linemen with enormous potential this early in the cycle. Notre Dame will be more than content with what they currently have in commits but if they have another playoff run they will find a way to add more bodies if a top 50 prospect wants to explore his options in South Bend.
Projected Take: 0
Comments: Right now it looks like Notre Dame will pass on the linebacker position after signing eight the past two cycles. Cody Simon, the younger brother of LB Shayne Simon, appeared to be a perfect fit for ND but the coaching staff decided to pass on the 4-star prospect. Cody has since verballed to Ohio State.
Committed: 3 (Clarence Lewis, Landen Bartleson, Caleb Offord)
Projected Take: 3
Comments: Currently it looks like the defensive secondary is the only position Notre Dame will be looking to fill for the 2020 class. 3-star commits Clarence Lewis, Landen Bartleson and Caleb Offord all fit what defensive back coaches Todd Lyght and Terry Joseph look for: size, length, fluid hips, and speed. Bartleson and Offord are southern recruits who have great length and in Bartleson’s case elite track speed. Both are versatile enough to switch to safety if need be.
One other target at the cornerback position could be 4-star prospect Christian Gonzalez out of Texas. He visited Notre Dame in June and is looking to make his decision by the end of summer. Alabama looks to be his top contender for his services.
Oklahoma commit Ryan Watts is a guy Notre Dame coaches would love to flip. Watts is also a safety prospect at the collegiate level. Notre Dame will look to get Watts to visit this season.
Earlier this week it was reported Notre Dame has offered CB Collin Gamble out of Texas.
Texas cornerback Collin Gamble was already on #NotreDame's radar due to his excellent junior film.
Then he went out and ran a blazing 40-yard dash time. Everything changed. The staff quickly extended offered.
— Tom Loy (@TomLoy247) July 17, 2019
Projected Take: 1-2
Comments: Notre Dame lost out on it’s top safety target earlier this week when Lathan Ransom committed to Ohio State. The Irish will look to regroup I think by targeting 4-star prospect Malcolm Greene out of Virginia. Greene is good friends with RB commit Chris Tyree who is scheduled to visit Notre Dame on October 12th for the USC game. Hopefully for ND’s sake both visit together in what should be a HUGE recruiting weekend.
Another safety prospect is RJ Moten out of New Jersey. Moten will be a tough pull since he’s considered a heavy Michigan lean.
Georgia commit Justin Robinson could be a flip candidate although it’s a long shot at this time. Notre Dame coaches are doing their due diligence on him and his preference is to play WR at the collegiate level.
4-star safety Jerrin Thompson is another name to keep an eye out. He’s wanted to visit ND for months now but the Irish seem to have higher priorities than him.