Notre Dame Bringing In Balanced Bunch On Offense

December 19, 2018
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One of the most overlooked aspects of recruiting is balance. College programs need to balance overall numbers with the numbers at each position group throughout the roster.

The group of prospects Notre Dame is set to bring in with the 2019 recruiting class doesn’t just provide talent, but balance as the Irish struck just about all of their needs, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

Wednesday marks the first day high school prospects can sign National Letters of Intent with schools, the second year of the early signing period, and Notre Dame is poised to sign at least 21 total prospects; eight on offense, 12 on defense and a punter.

Notre Dame landed a top target at every individual position group except for tight end, where the Irish inked a pair of top prospects in each of the past two cycles and already have commits from two in the coming 2020 class.

Offensively, the Irish put a heavy focus on the guys up front and it paid off as they are set to sign four of their very top targets in Minnesota’s Quinn Carroll‍ (pictured above), Ohio’s Zeke Correll‍, Pennsylvania’s Andrew Kristofic‍ and John Olmstead‍ of New Jersey.

Olmstead was the first of the quartet to give his pledge, doing so on April 20th of this year, a couple weeks after an unofficial visit to South Bend gave him the opportunity to get to know the players on the team better. The four-star kicked off a commitment binge that saw Notre Dame land five 2019 prospects in as many days. Kristofic, a three-star prospect, was part of that group, following suit a few days later, announcing his commitment on April 23rd after an unofficial visit of his own.  Kristofic comes from the same Pine-Richland High School program as freshman quarterback Phil Jurkovec.

With two in the fold early, offensive line coach Jeff Quinn was able to narrow his focus to linemen at the very top of the board and he came away with two more in Carroll and Correll. Carroll’s commitment on May 1st gave the Irish one of the two highest-rated prospects in the class (95 ranking overall, second only to Kyle Hamilton‍)  according to ISD, and one of the top targets in the entire Midwest.

Correll completed the group a month later, when the four-star announced his commitment on June 18th over offers from Ohio State and Stanford along with dozens of others.

All four linemen will report to South Bend next month as early enrollees.

Kyren Williams

Even after signing two last year, running back remained a need for Notre Dame in 2019 and one that was addressed with a playmaker from St. Louis. At different points in the process, the Irish appeared to be in strong positions with multiple backs, but in the end, Kyren Williams‍ was the one they landed and he’s a good one.

When he committed on June 21st, many services had him ranked as a 3-star prospect, but ISD’s Jamie Uyeyama always had him as a 4-star. By the time Williams’ senior year got rolling, it became clear he was woefully underrated by the national guys and he may still be, but after a dazzling season, his talent won’t be surprising for Irish fans.

There were times when it seemed the Irish could pass at quarterback after signing the five-star Jurkovec in 2018 and already having a pledge from 2020 signal-caller Drew Pyne. But Notre Dame surveyed and quietly re-surveyed the landscape at the position, eventually moving on Brendon Clark‍ from Virginia.

Clark made an early pledge to Wake Forest, but reevaluated his own situation as larger schools started coming after him. The high three-star prospect announced his decommitment from the Demon Deacons on June 10th, saying he would take a few visits and then make his final decision on the Fourth of July.

Clark visited Clemson, Notre Dame and North Carolina, but his relationship with quarterback coach Tom Rees helped the Irish win in the end.

Kendall Abdur-Rahman

Clark wasn’t the only one providing fireworks on the Fourth of July as lowkey wide receiver target Cam Hart‍ also announced his commitment on Independence Day. The three-star prospect from Good Counsel chose the Irish over offers from schools like Michigan State, North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Pittsburgh among others. He pointed to the academic opportunities at Notre Dame along with his relationship with receivers coach Del Alexander as major factors.

He was eventually joined at receiver by Kendall Abdur-Rahman‍, another prospect who likes to let his play on the field do the talking. The Illinois native committed to the Irish on Sept. 9th following an official visit to South Bend. The 6-foot, 175-pounder chose Notre Dame over offers from schools like Michigan State, Northwestern, Nebraska and Missouri among several others. He pointed to the offensive scheme – noting “it’ll fit me perfectly” – as well as the academics. ISD ranks Abdur-Rahman as a four-star while other national analysts have him as a three-star.

Notre Dame’s 2019 class may lack a single five-star jewel, so to speak, but the Irish addressed their needs with a solid group of talented players who were highly-coveted by other major programs and some prospects they’re confident will outperform their rankings.

 
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