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Irish add Will Fuller to 2013 recruiting class

Aug 5, 2012, 3:38 PM EDT


Just because fall camp has opened doesn’t mean the Notre Dame coaching staff has stopped recruiting. News broke early Sunday that the Irish welcomed the 19th pledge to their 2013 recruiting class, accepting the commitment of Philadelphia wide receiver Will Fuller.

Fuller, a 6-foot-1, 170-pound wide receiver, is rated the second best wide receiver in Pennsylvania, behind only Robert Foster, a highly touted national target. He had pledged his commitment early to Penn State, but opened up his recruitment to include Notre Dame, where he visited this weekend with his parents.

Fuller is the third Pennsylvania product in the Irish’s recruiting class, with Alex Anzalone, Mike McGlinchey and Fuller all having offers from the Nittany Lions. With wide receivers James Onwualu and Corey Robinson already profiled as wide receivers, and a few highly-touted wideouts still on the Irish board, Fuller enters Notre Dame as not just a receiver, but an athlete, where he’ll also get a look in the defensive backfield.

As a wideout, Fuller more than holds his own, catching 10 touchdowns during his junior season, and breaking a long-standing Philadelphia city record with an impressive 10 catch, 276 yard performance. Fuller also looks equally adept on the defensive side of the ball, where he looks smooth in coverage and shows excellent ball skills.’s Christian McCollum was able to catch up with Fuller’s high school coach, who talked about how key offensive line coach Harry Hiestand was in Fuller’s recruitment after the Penn State sanctions forced Fuller to open things up.

From ISD:

“Me and Coach Hiestand were talking maybe two, three times a day,” Roman Catholic coach Joe McCourt told ISD. “He just wanted to make sure Will got out to Notre Dame this weekend because that was the game plan. He didn’t want Penn State saying they didn’t want him going out there. Coach Hiestand really did a lot of leg work, talking to his mom and talking to Will to make sure he got out there this weekend.

“Coach Hiestand was the one who took this thing by storm.”

That’s good news for Irish fans, some of whom wondered what Hiestand’s impact would be on recruiting. Fuller’s commitment — pushing this class to 19 recruits before official visits are even allowed — allows the Irish to be very selective with their final handful of offers.

Here’s a look at some highlights from Fuller’s junior season:



  1. masalaswag - Aug 5, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    Kelly and the staff are doing a fabulous job with this recruiting class and I hope it stays intact because when you look at the next four or five years, a lot of issues of depth have been addressed.

    QB: Golson and Kiel haven’t played a snap and Zaire looks very good.
    RB: Atkinson and Mahone get a boost from James.
    WR: Let’s see what happens with Daniels, but Neal is a good get and there is size (Robinson, Onwualu) and speed (James).
    TE: Koyack and Niklas and Heuerman on the way? TightEndU.
    OL: Hegarty, Jones, and Stanley highlight a group that includes Hanratty, N Martin, Carrico, and Harrell. Then add McGovern, Elmer, Bivin, McGlinchey, and Montelus? Lots of big dudes.

    I hope the staff turns continues to add talent like this! With a lot of the depth addressed, hopefully they can turn towards a few of those stars at critical positions of need (DB and to a lesser degree, RB and WR).

  2. atw34 - Aug 5, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    I am impressed with this recruiting class. Seems like we are getting not only good football players, but good student-athletes. Just following college football, some of these schools seem to be in the news A LOT, for all the wrong reasons. Keep it up Coach Kelly and Crew!

  3. seanb20124 - Aug 5, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    Log jam at QB, one of those young guys establishes himself as the starter, and I predict transfers.

  4. jomilly - Aug 5, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    Wow Sean absolutely nothing to do with the article!!!!!

  5. nudeman - Aug 5, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    Possible under the radar steal here.
    I say that because the kid is 6’1″/170lbs. and has experience at CB and WR

    Possible by the time he gets to SB he could be 6’2″/180-185
    Not bad size for an incoming Frosh

    • masalaswag - Aug 5, 2012 at 8:23 PM

      Speaking of not bad size for an incoming player, James Onwualu is listed at 6’1, 203 lbs and also ran the 40 at 4.53 despite being significantly bigger than Fuller (163 lbs). The key for Fuller is going to be maintaining his speed while also bulking up.

  6. bernhtp - Aug 5, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    I am normally a bit fearful of getting a 3-star recruit with only a few spots left, but I really trust these coaches to evaluate talent and fit. They obviously see something important in the kid that other top programs don’t.

    • gtizzo - Aug 6, 2012 at 5:25 AM

      “fearful of getting a 3 star recruit with only a few spots left”

      3 and 4 star recruits make up 66 percent of the NFL draft picks. Eifert was only a 3 star recruit. Don’t fear any recruit based on the number of “stars” after his name. Get caught star gazing and ND might miss the next Russell Maryland.

      • bernhtp - Aug 6, 2012 at 10:37 AM

        I completely understand that. What is the stat for just 3-star recruits? I bet it is a pretty small percentage. Looking at the 66% stat, this means that a full third of NFL draft picks come from the tiny number of 5-stars. Most of ND’s top recent playmakers – Floyd, Te’o, Clausen – have been 5-star recruits. All of the rest, besides the anomalous Eifert, were 4-stars. While certainly not perfect, recruit ratings are a fairly good statistical predictor of college performance.

        Returning to my full comment, we have only a few spots left and I’m hoping to find a few big difference-makers in that group, as opposed to just adding more depth. You will occasionally find one among the 3-stars, but the far greater likelihood is that they will be among the top-rated recruits. But as I said, I trust this coaching staff to evaluate talent and to find the jewel in the rough. I hope that Fuller is one.

      • nudeman - Aug 6, 2012 at 11:14 AM

        Here’s something to remember: He’s a 3 star recruit NOW. As in “before his senior yr
        At 6’1″/168 lbs, this 17 year old kid has obviously not grown into his body yet

        Maybe another inch and probably another 15 lbs by this time next year
        Proper weight training and he’ll get faster too
        Could be a 4 star by NSD, to the extent that even matters

      • bernhtp - Aug 6, 2012 at 11:52 AM

        I don’t disagree. Again, I trust this coaching staff to evaluate talent and they obviously see significant potential in this kid to spend one of their last slots on him. I don’t think they would be doing that if they viewed him as depth.

  7. nudeman - Aug 5, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    OK, off topic, but QB is always on topic here
    Here’s a question for anyone/everyone including Keith whose opinion I’d love to see on this one

    Q: Who do you think will be the starter FOR THE PURDUE GAME?

    This obviously has a lot of moving parts and depends a lot on how well AH/EG play against Navy
    That being said, take a shot at it
    I say EG, but I’m scared to death it will be TR

    • bernhtp - Aug 5, 2012 at 10:48 PM

      I’m certainly not past who will start in Dublin. While the fanbase is heavily favoring Golson (judging by many boards and comments) due to his electric nature, HS highlights, and BG game, the ND punditry (journalists, blog writers) seems to be fairly evenly divided between Golson and Hendrix, maybe even leaning to Hendrix a bit.

      Whoever starts in Dublin will start against Purdue assuming good/promising performance. If the performance is poor, the other QB will likely have spent some time in the Navy game and may win the start for Purdue. If they both sucked, we may see TR again.

      • nudeman - Aug 5, 2012 at 11:02 PM

        ” If they both sucked, we may see TR again.”

        If so the air goes out of the collective balloon all across ND Nation
        The thing is, they can probably beat Purdue with Massa at QB
        So even Rees will probably look decent

        And then he will start against UM

    • fentocamarillo - Aug 5, 2012 at 11:10 PM

      Off topic. No Way. “Hey, you guys see ND landed a top flight WR…speaking of quarterbacks.” Huh?

      I bet you went to your favorite wine and cheese establishment last night a ordered a fine Cabernet with chocolate covered goat cheese balls and remarked, “This wine is great and these balls are suburb, but TR, tell me there is a better option. Speaking of options, TR can’t even run, so throw that out. Speaking of throwing, that TR guy can’t throw the long ball…” Get the picture yet, Nude Drone…soon to be nicknamed nudenausium.

      If there is a God, please BK start anyone other than TR and silence this man forever!

      • nudeman - Aug 6, 2012 at 11:09 AM

        “a fine Cabernet with chocolate covered goat cheese balls:

        Who besides you would even think of that combination?

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Aug 6, 2012 at 12:44 AM

      I think the safest guess is as follows…

      If the Navy starter plays well, he gets the start at Purdue.

      If the Navy starter doesn’t play well, we’re back to BK evaluating FOUR QB’s…i really think if the Navy starter does poorly, BK will spin some “coach speak” and talk about still looking for that guy that “seizes the job”..and we’ll be back to the same situation we are in today.

      FOR CLARITY…I DON’T WANT TO SEE THIS HAPPEN, but i think it’s what MIGHT happen….

      always feel like i need to clarify my comments…to avoid lashing :)

      • nudeman - Aug 6, 2012 at 1:45 PM

        The only chink in the armor of your answer is that there is no time within 5-6 days, especially coming off international travel to evaluate 4 QBs.
        If Golson AND Hendrix don’t shine, he’ll start the paperboy vs. Purdue

    • gtizzo - Aug 6, 2012 at 5:33 AM

      Nudeman you could suit up at QB and beat Purdue. Some think the Purdue game is a “trap” game for ND. I beg to differ…matter of fact…I disagree entirely. Purdue is a one trick pony if ND stuffs Bolden (Purdue tail back) the subs will play the 4th. Remember last years Purdue game? I don’t mean Michael Floyd and his big day, I mean Jonas Gray. They man was getting the corner on the Purdue defense all game long. This season should be no different. Niklas will level linebackers and Wood goes for 150 yards and 2 TDs. ND runs the ball to a huge win!

  8. turknd - Aug 5, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    Good at going up up for the ball but didn’t see a lot of separation. Not that excited (at least with the highlights here).

  9. norcalirish - Aug 6, 2012 at 5:23 AM

    Any new rumors on ND playing in china? Schedule is out, doesn’t look like it 😦

  10. bearcatirishfan - Aug 6, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    Why do you call home the paperboy, is it the new or toilet variety that he is fetching.

  11. mtflsmitty - Aug 6, 2012 at 11:26 PM

    The starter in Dublin is going to perform well, and will get the start at Purdue…where he will also do well. Although EG looked good in day two practice video, I expect AH will be the man. TR is a DII talent with a DI heart. He’s started his last game for ND, but can be proud of the poise he showed at times, and how he stepped into the spotlight and competed well under intense pressure.

  12. irisheyesnate - Aug 10, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    I think no matter what happens in the game against navy we will see Kelly put Rees in against purdue.. The reasoning behind this is only bc of experience of having played on big stages… Hey, I’m not gonna lie I think when Rees was put into the starting position he was very good! And then something happened where his head got too big or something bc the he was turning the ball over constantly… All last season I was waiting for his turn around. Bc in yrs past the starting QB would fall into a slump and the next yr or halfway into the current yr turn it around… But, they also had joe montana come in and talk with Brady Quinn. Clausen was just a little different but received more training…Rees either doesn’t care or has a problem but, either way I will stand behind Rees and root for ND like I always have.. I do think that it is the coaches job to recognize a problem and correct it though…

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