Final Notes and Grade Adjustment for ND Commits

February 6, 2019
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Signing day used to be when it all became official and it’s still that for some players. There’s only one that Notre Dame is waiting on right now. Everyone else is already in the class.

It’s still last call for final prospect grades, though, and I did tweak a couple of grades slightly after reviewing more senior film in the last week. One Notre Dame signee went up and another went down. I still like both as prospects, but feel that one is closer to contributing than the other.

NaNa Osafo-Mensah‍ 

There was some chatter when Osafo-Mensah had been dropped by some other services with Rivals actually dropping him down to a 3-star rating. I know the initial reaction is to say “They hate Notre Dame”, but that’s not how I look at it. I see it as a chance to go back and see if I am off with my grade.

When something like that happens, I wonder if it’s an overreaction to a camp or All-American game practices. Sometimes it’s not and it’s based off of senior film. I did get a chance to watch some full game film on Osafo-Mensah and in my mind he wasn’t as dominant as I felt he should be.

He’s still a 4-star with my grades, but I moved him down to a 92 from 94. He was not consistent enough with his get off, pad level, and hands. His high school team lined him up all over the place (end, 3-tech, linebacker) and he was clearly at his best when lined up off the edge. Still, even at that spot he failed to bend and finish and would be too wide trying to work around blockers than work an edge.

Physically he has the tools to be special, but he is further away than I thought he would be. The Irish won’t need him this year because of all the talent they have returning at end and that’s a good thing because I believe it will benefit him to take some time and improve his game.

Zeke Correll‍ 

Correll turned some heads down at the Under Armour game and although I didn’t get the chance to watch him that week, I did dip back into some additional senior film to see if my grade was too low.

I decided to bump him up to a 93 after seeing him sustain his blocks a little bit better than I saw before. He’s someone I’m very excited to watch compete this spring because he may find himself in the mix like Robert Hainsey did back when he was an early enrollee.

Nasty is a good thing and Correll is plenty nasty as a blocker. However, I think it’s easy to get caught up with a kid pancaking someone and not appreciate what they are doing to accomplish that. He showed me more of how he got there with his technique when I watched some additional film.

Some other final notes on Notre Dame’s class:

- I did go and watch some game film on Cam Hart‍, who had the smallest amount of publicly available highlights from his senior year from the class. It turns out there was a reason for it. His quarterback was not very good and they struggled to get Hart the ball.

That makes Hart’s progress as a senior a question mark so there was no change in his ranking. He’s the prospect right now that I know the least about who signed with the Irish.

- In case anyone is curious, the players that I have higher grades on than any of the major sites are Jacob Lacey‍, KJ Wallace‍, and Kendall Abdur-Rahman‍. There are few others that my grade is pretty even with the highest grade from either Rivals, ESPN, or 247, but those are the only three that are noticeably higher than those other sites.

Maybe it’s a coincidence, but all three committed early and were not invited to all-star games. Maybe it’s not. 

Lacey and Wallace are two players that I believe can compete as freshman. I see Lacey as a top-100 level talent and think Wallace is just a notch below that.

Abdur-Rahman is going to be making the transition to wide receiver at Notre Dame and that will be an adjustment, but I had him so based on his explosive ability with the ball in his hands. As a quarterback last season he had seven touchdown runs of 60 yards or longer. I’m very excited to see what he can do once he has some time to develop.

 
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