Aug 4, 2011, 1:33 AM EDT
For those worried that Brian Kelly was done recruiting defensive tackles after Notre Dame landed the gargantuan Louis Nix two cycles ago, your fears can be quelled. The Irish just landed one of the top interior defensive linemen in the country, keeping Indianapolis native Sheldon Day in state; a huge recruiting get for the Irish.
Day made waves on the national circuit this summer, lifting his recruiting profile from impressive to national with offers in from schools like Michigan, Arkansas, Florida, LSU and Tennessee. Day was widely considered to be one of the more impressive defensive linemen at The Opening, where he showed a rare combination of power and speed that has the Irish thinking he can fit both on the interior of the defensive line as well as as defensive end.
Long thought to be a slow-moving recruit who planned on taking all five visits, Day pulled the trigger sooner than many expected, as the Irish made the choice easy for him.
“It was academics, great football and Coach Elston and Coach Kelly and the whole entire staff,” Day told Steve Wiltfong of BlueandGold.com.
Day is the 13th commitment to the Irish’s 2012 recruiting class. He joins Romeo Okwara as front-seven recruits, and adds the type of star power that the Irish need to land with their remaining open spots in the class.
Joining fellow Indiana products David Perkins and John Turner, Day helps the Irish protect their home state, with the Irish grabbing three of the top ten prospects in state.
As it usually does, the hyperbole is flying right now, with terms like “great motor” and “explosive” being mixed in with comparisons with players like Warren Sapp. Obviously the position flexibility and interior pass rush ability makes that comparison somewhat applicable, but Day has a few years before we need to decide whether or not he’ll be enshrined in Canton.
Still, after focusing on the edges of the defensive line and bulking up on front seven players last year, the Irish needed to land a big fish at defensive tackle in the 2011 recruiting cycle. In Day, they found one of the most highly-touted in the country.