Jamel James

Jamel James joins the 2013 recruiting class


Notre Dame fans received a pleasant surprise yesterday with the news running back Jamel James committed to the Irish. The 5-foot-11, 220-pound running back from Katy, Texas picked the Irish over offers from LSU, USC, Florida State, West Virginia, and Arkansas, where he was once a verbal commit.

James, who has yet to see the Notre Dame campus, is the Irish’s 18th commitment to the 2013 recruiting class and is a much needed running back commitment.

Pete Sampson of IrishIllustrated.com got the quote of record from James, who took a mature approach to his recruitment after backing away from Arkansas when head coach Bobby Petrino was fired.

“It was good being committed to Arkansas and everything was set and I felt good about it,” James told Sampson. “Once things happened with coach Petrino, I realized I was only excited about it because of who was the head coach. I wasn’t committed to the school or the academics.

“When I started looking at schools again that’s when I first started thinking about Notre Dame. I liked the coaches a lot, but I wanted it to be about the school first.”

Rarely does a recruiting commitment come out of the blue like this, but James’ commitment is similar to another Texas product now on the Irish roster: cornerback Jalen Brown. Brown pledged his commitment to the Irish almost a year ago to the day, also choosing Notre Dame without ever stepping foot in South Bend.

A quick look at James’ highlights and you see a big, bruising runner that also possesses some breakaway speed. Donning the jersey number six, it’s hard not to think of Jerome Bettis, another big-bodied back that put together a pretty decent career in South Bend.

Projecting James into the running back depth chart gives you an idea of the type of talent Brian Kelly and his staff are collecting for the backfield. Here’s what the position grouping will look like in 2013:

Cierre Wood, 5th year
Cam Roberson, Sr.
George Atkinson, Jr.
Amir Carlisle, Jr.
Will Mahone, Soph.
KeiVarae Russell, Soph.
Jamel James, Fr.

Wood coming back for a final season is by no means a lock, but looking at the runners that Kelly has recruited, you start to see a thunder and lightning situation building. James, who looks a legit 220 pounds already, will certainly give the backfield some power, joining Will Mahone in that category, while players like Amir Carlisle and KeiVarae Russell fill the role of a runner that could just as easily play in the slot.

James plans to take an official visit for the Michigan game.


Even with heavy rain in forecast, kickoff stays in primetime

Post & Courier via Twitter
Post & Courier (via Twitter)

With rain falling and the forecast expecting much more, Notre Dame and Clemson are kicking off in primetime anyway.

College GameDay was on campus this morning, showcasing the soggy conditions and the mud-covered campus. And while some wondered whether or not the kickoff would move up to earlier in the day to take advantage of a slight lull in the conditions, kickoff is remaining at 8:22 p.m.

“We’ve been in constant communication with state and local law enforcement and have monitored weather throughout the week and today,” director of athletics Dan Radakovich said in a statement Friday night. “I’ve spoken with campus leaders, State Highway Patrol, and Governor Nikki Haley, and feel confident we can play the game as scheduled. We ask our fans to be conscientious arriving and departing from our campus as we will have some limitations due to this ongoing weather event.”

Ball security will be key this evening, and during an interview with Tom Rinaldi this morning Kelly mentioned the punting and kick game as concerns in these conditions. The Irish came to Clemson prepared for miserable conditions and if the forecast holds, they’ll get just that.

Irish get commitment from 2017 TE Cole Kmet

Cole Kmet

Notre Dame’s tight end recruiting keeps rolling. The Irish received a commitment from Illinois tight end Cole Kmet, who adds a third piece to Notre Dame’s 2017 recruiting class.

Kmet is a 6-foot-4, 230-pounder, joining fellow blue-chipper 2017 tight end Brock Wright in next year’s recruiting class (they won’t sign until February 2017). He had early offers from plenty of the top programs around the country, but picked Notre Dame over finalist Ohio State, a nice recruiting victory for Scott Booker and Brian Kelly.

Kmet talked about the decision with Irish 247 who broke the news:

“I think it was just a gut feeling knowing it was Notre Dame,” Kmet to Irish 247. “I didn’t want to pass on playing for that program and attending that university. It’s always been the school I wanted an offer from and Ohio State made it really close, but I just couldn’t pass on Notre Dame.”