This week, we wrote about Notre Dame’s 2018-2019 recruiting classes, breaking down each position group, composite ratings and top 200 players. The key takeaways are the offensive line was met by the defensive line and linebacker in terms of composite rating, but not in raw talent, as the offensive line brought in three top 200 players this cycle. And safety, blew all position groups out of the water with the highest composite rating on the team, and three top 150 players in five signees.
Notre Dame entered the year 10th overall in team talent, according to 247 sports, with a composite of .8973, which is around a borderline 4 star/3 star player. Was Notre Dame was able to bring more composite talent into their roster the last two cycles relative to the team? Let’s find out.
- Signees: 49
- Overall Composite Rating: .9033
- Top 200: 13 (6 offensive, 7 defense)
- 5 stars:0
- 4 stars: 30
- 3 stars: 19
By composite rating, 2019 is the best class the staff has signed since the 2013 Jaylon year, and the best two year run since 2012-2013. The contrast between the two cycles is the star power in the earlier years, and the balance these last two seasons. 2012 only signed 16 players, and the top two–Gunner Kiel and Davonte Neal–ended up transferring. Jaylon obviously spurred the 2013 class, which also featured five star Max Redfield and top 50 running back Greg Bryant (RIP). That 2013 class featured 12 top 200 players by itself, and as you, these last two cycles only brought in 13.
Notre Dame lacks the star power in these last two seasons, but has gained in roster depth, with 30 four star players in a two year span, with a lot of that talent coming along the offensive line and defensive front seven. All three of those groups come in at .9080 and above, which includes 24 players. That’s a lot of four star talent in the front seven, which I’ve said many times, is exactly where Notre Dame needs to be good to win. They’ll likely never match other top teams at the skill positions in terms of raw talent, so they need to make up for it somewhere else, and the lines are it.
Ranking The Units
- 2018 Signed- Derrik Allen, Houston Griffith, Paul Moala
- 2019 Signed- Kyle Hamilton, Litchfield Ajavon
- Average Composite Rating- .9309
- Top 200- 3
A very good haul here and a good chance that Hamilton and Griffith both see significant minutes on the field next season. Also a huge spring coming up for Allen, who will fight to see the field as well. Moala has already inserted himself as a special teams player, so we’ll at least see him there. Ajavon could fall into the same boat this season.
- 2018 Signed: Phil Jurkovec
- 2019 Signed: Brendon Clark
- Average composite rating: .9195
- Top 200: 1 (Jurkovec)
Obviously, Jurkovec bumps this ranking up, but as many have said, don’t sleep on Clark. Really, no one can overlook the so called bridge quarterback after what Book has done this year. Notre Dame in good shape here, especially with Drew Pyne committed for 2020.
- 2018 Signed- Shayne Simon, Bo Bauer, Jack Lamb, Ovie Oghoufo
- 2019 Signed- Jack Kiser, Osita Ekwonu, JD Bertrand, Marist Liufau
- Average Composite Rating: .9086
- Top 200: 2
A huge year coming up for this group with the departures of Drue Tranquill and Te’Von Coney in the middle. Simon, Baur, and Lamb figure to be major players and the coaching staff will be hoping at least one of those guys, if not two, earn starting roles.
4.) Offensive Line
- 2018 Signed: Jarrett Patterson, John Dirksen, Cole Mabry, Luke Jones
- 2019 Signed: Zeke Correll, Quinn Carroll, Andrew Kristofic, John Olmstead
- Average Composite Rating: .9084
- Top 200: 4 (Correll, Carroll, Kristofic, Olmstead)
This group is bolstered by the 2019 class, with all of their top 200 coming from them. Most think the only player who could possibly play this season is Zeke Correll at center. He comes in ranked 82nd in the nation and has enrolled early. But, he’s competing with 5th year senior Trevor Ruhland. Steep hill to climb at that position.
5.) Defensive Line
- 2018 Signed- Jayson Ademilola, Ja’Mion Franklin, Justin Ademilola
- 2019 Signed- Jacob Lacy, Hunter Spears, Nana Osafa-Mensah, Howard Cross
- Likely 2019- Isaiah Foskey
- Average Composite Rating: .9080
- Top 200: 2
I’m keeping Foskey as likely, this is written before his commitment, but he’s in fold. Both Ademilola’s played last season and it’s likely Lacy, who is already on campus, sees the field as well. Getting nine players of this quality on the defensive line is incredible important for the team, it’s been a sore spot in the past.
6.) Wide Receiver
- 2018 Signed: Kevin Austin, Braden Lenzy, Lawrence Keys, Micah Jones, Joe Wilkins
- 2019 Signed: Kendall Abdur-Rahman, Cam Hart
- Average Composite Rating: .8972
- Top 200: 1 (Austin)
This group could be in flux a bit. Wilkins could move back to corner and Abdur Rahman could move to running back. Either way, like the linebackers, a huge season is upcoming for the 2018 group. Austin, Lenzy, and Keys could all be counted on to help the team win games in the fall, after having small to no roles last season. The spotlight is especially on Austin, the 70th ranked player in his class and was a bit player last season.
- 2018 Signed: Noah Boykin, DJ Brown, TaRiq Bracy
- 2019 Signed- Isaiah Rutherford, KJ Wallace
- Average Composite Rating- .8961
- Top 200- 0
Again, this group could add Wilkins back to the mix, which would only hurt their composite rating, but would add another body, which is important. Julian Love is gone and the staff needs one of these guys, especially from the 2018 group to step up and take his place either at field corner, or boundry. Bracy played some last year, well against Pittsburgh, not so well in the other contests.
8.) Tight End
- 2018 Signed: George Takacs, Tommy Tremble
- 2019 Signed: None
- Average Composite Rating: .8914
- Top 200: 0
Notre Dame decided to take a pass on tight end this year due to the 2017 group and the 2018 compliment they got from Takacs and Tremble, plus they have the top two tight ends in 2020 committed. With the departures of Alize Mack and Nic Weishar, there is playing time for the taking for the 2018 guys.
9.) Running Back
- 2018 Signed: Jahmir Smith, C’Bo Flemister
- 2019 Signed: Kyren Williams
- Average Composite Rating: .8698
- Top 200: 0
So look, poor rankings don’t ultimately mean anything, and Williams saw a nice little bump in his rankings to end the 2019 cycle anyway. They are on the team and need to perform. The coaches are reportedly encouraged by what they’ve seen from Flemister, and Williams has the perfect skill set for this offense, with a highlight film that leaves the mouth agape. We saw a little bit of Smith last season, so he isn’t completely green. Williams is on campus and will compete right away.