A lot has happened in the world of Notre Dame recruiting over the last 10 days. Unfortunately I picked a really bad time to get pretty busy and we’ve fallen behind here a bit so here’s a quick recap of the comings and goings in recruiting from the last week and a half.
Bubba Starling committed to Nebraska
For a while it looked like Starling was going to be the quarterback for Notre Dame in this year’s class. Then Notre Dame head baseball coach Dave Schrage was fired. Starling, a highly touted baseball prospect as well, also plans on playing baseball in college. After a trip to Nebraska, Starling committed to the Cornhuskers.
Starling is a very good quarterback prospect, but his status as a baseball prospect looms large. It’s entirely possible that Starling gets drafted highly in next year’s amateur draft so while his commitment to Nebraska is a definite loss, it might not end up being as big of a loss as it appears to be now.
Look for Notre Dame to focus on Justin Worley or possibly Phillip Ely. There is also a good chance that Notre Dame passes on a quarterback this year with limited spots left and three freshman quarterbacks.
One of the more interesting plots twists of the recruiting year came last when Davaris Daniels was reportedly going to commit to Miami. Daniels ended up not committing – or at least not publicly announcing it. What made the situation even more interesting, however, was a back and forth between the Chicago Sun Times’s Taylor Bell and Daniels’s father – NFL linebacker Phillip Daniels – over the younger Daniels’ academic situation.
There had been speculation for a while that Daniels needed to do some work in the classroom before being able to qualify for Notre Dame so a postponement in his decision can only be good for Notre Dame’s chances. It looks like we’ll have to wait this one out.
Clay Burton committed to Notre Dame
Notre Dame picked a commitment from Burton last week. The 3-star defensive end/outside linebacker held offers from Boston College, Clemson, Florida State, LSU, Pitt, Stanford, and Tennessee among others. If Notre Dame were still using a 4-3 defense, Burton would probably be a defensive end, but in a 3-4 defense, he’ll likely stick at outside linebacker.
Burton is a skilled pass rusher who will need to adapt to dropping back into coverage as an OLB on the college level. He plays defensive end in high school and is strong against both the run and pass from the position. With his frame and skillset though, he projects very well as an OLB for the Irish.
Burton’s first assignment for Notre Dame will be to recruit his friend and fellow defensive end from the Sunshine state, Aaron Lynch, to join him in South Bend.
Eilar Hardy committed to Notre Dame
The Irish bolstered the secondary with the commitment of Hardy – a big, hard-hitting safety out of Ohio. Hardy, a 4-star recruit, had offers from Arizona, Iowa, Michigan State, and Wisconsin among others. He doesn’t have blazing speed and as a result he projects as more of a strong safety for the Irish.
Hardy excels against the run despite lacking huge size. At 6’0”, 170 lbs he has some filling out to do, but Paul Longo should be able to help out with that.
Hardy is yet another recruit out of Ohio to join the Irish since Brian Kelly was hired. He was, however, only the first defensive back to join this year’s class. The latter is a trend that will have to change in a hurry given Notre Dame’s need in the secondary this year. (Edit: Matthias Farley is also slated to play corner, but could also play offense.)
Ben Councell committed to Notre Dame
The latest commitment for the Irish came from Councell – the second OLB to join this year’s class. Councell is the prototypical OLB and can really fly. He held offers from Auburn, Clemson, Georgia Tech, and North Carolina. Not an overwhelming list of suitors, but his profile likely scared off most teams employing a 4-3 defense. In a traditional 4-3 defense, Councell is more a tweener. In a 3-4 defense, however, Councell fits in perfectly as an OLB.
He is listed with 4.4 speed by most recruiting services. While that might be a bit generous since we see every year how few linebackers actually have that kind of speed at the scouting combine – it’s safe to say that Councell can move.
When Brian Kelly talks about recruiting a profile – this is the kind of recruit he is talking about. Councell might only be a 3-star recruit on Rivals and Scout, but he fits in perfectly with the system Bob Diaco is installing.
With Councell and Burton on board look for Notre Dame to only focus on truly elite OLB’s for this class.
I’ll have more on these latest recruits later in the week as I catch up after being a little MIA for the last week or so.