Feb 23, 2011, 4:02 PM EDT
If you’re looking for a way too early listing of five-star recruits, SI.com has an interesting list that includes quite a few Notre Dame targets, namely Arik Armstead, Dorial Green-Beckham, Andrus Peat, and Gunner Kiel, names we mentioned earlier in the week.
Here’s the rationale SI.com (with a special assist from 247Sports.com) gave for awarding these recruits five-star ratings:
The towering athlete stands 6-foot-7 and weighs 280 pounds. He is far from maxed out physically, and he has incredible athleticism and explosiveness at that size. In fact, the one problem with comparing Armstead to the dominant tackles of past classes is that he could very well end up on the defensive side of the ball because of his rare versatility and athleticism.
Green-Beckham is undoubtedly one of the top athletes in the country in any sport in the class of 2012. He is one of the nation’s top football players, too. He has tremendous strength as a receiver because of his advanced size and frame. He has the ability to run away from defenders because of his elite speed. He even has soft hands and route-running ability. He has accumulated more than 2,300 receiving yards in the last two seasons.
For an offensive lineman, size is only the first part of the equation. Peat has that (6-6, 280), but what makes him special is the athleticism that accompanies his size. For a big kid, Peat is extremely athletic getting downfield and on the run. He has great feet in pass protection, and is light-footed at his size. He is also explosive at the point of attack, showing the strength to issue a punch and the mindset to finish a block. Peat has plenty of pedigree to his credit, as well. Father Todd Peat Sr. is a seven-year NFL veteran and brother Todd Peat Jr. was one of the top prospects in the class of 2011 and signed with Nebraska. It’s a strong statement, but Andrus may be the best of the Peat bunch.
In what is shaping up to be a fantastic year for quarterbacks, Kiel gets the first nod as the best of the bunch. With good size, a strong arm, a quick release and good accuracy, Kiel has all of the tools. But he also has the intangibles.
Kiel is a competitive, physical kid who can take a hit, deliver a hit and make plays with his feet if necessary. He exhibits the same kind of play-making ability that has been Andrew Luck’s signature over the past two seasons at Stanford. With elite quarterbacks like Zeke Pike, Jameis Winston, Connor Brewer and others in the class of 2012, Kiel will need all of those competitive juices to maintain the top spot.
The fact that the top quarterback in the country happens to live in Indiana and also has family ties to the Irish is a pretty good bit of luck for the Irish. As for guys like Armstead and Peat, their obvious ties to power programs USC and Nebraska might add a little bit more work for the Irish on the recruiting front, but there’s still over 11 months until next signing day.