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Freshman Focus: Rashad Kinlaw

Jul 9, 2013, 8:00 AM EDT

Rashad Kinlaw

There’s so much we don’t know about Rashad Kinlaw. A prospect that missed a large portion of his final two seasons of high school football, Kinlaw nonetheless caught the eye of the Irish coaching staff, who offered the New Jersey product a scholarship early in the recruiting process.

What Kinlaw will bring to campus should be interesting. With a highlight reel that consists mostly of quarterback scrambles, Kinlaw has only a sophomore season that gives you a clue he has some aptitude for the cornerback position — his six interceptions that year came on just 32 defensive snaps.

Numbers like that — seemingly illogical production — makes Kinlaw one of the most exciting sleeper prospects in the class. Outside of that and some YouTube clips, we’ll have to wait until Kindlaw shows up on campus to know more about him, down to even the simplest things like his actual height and weight. (Depending on the recruiting website, Kinlaw is anywhere from 6-foot-2 to 5-foot-11.)

Let’s take a closer look at the promising athlete that the Irish project at the cornerback position:

RECRUITING PEDIGREE

It’s hard to get much respect on the national recruiting scene when two broken legs eat up most of your junior and senior seasons, but Kinlaw still had a nice, albeit regional, offer list, with Boston College, Penn State, Rutgers and Temple offering from the Northeast, with offers from Iowa, N.C. State, and Nebraska sprinkled in as well.

Somebody must have seen Kinlaw play from USA Football, as the multi-threat athlete played at wide receiver during summer exhibitions before breaking his leg again, costing him most of his senior season.

Viewed as one of the elite athletes in New Jersey, Kinlaw was nonetheless a three-star prospect by most recruiting services, though he has the opportunity to be one of the underappreciated players in the ’13 recruiting class.

EARLY PLAYING TIME OPPORTUNITIES

There’ll likely be a significant learning curve for Kinlaw as he transitions to cornerback for the first time in his career. That change could take some time, and with a trio of veterans locking down the top three spots on the depth chart, there’s no need for Kinlaw to come in and immediately contribute.

That said, if the Irish are looking for recruits that can step in at wide receiver, Kinlaw seems like a good candidate because he’s so explosive with the ball in his hands. A compact athlete with all sorts of athleticism (his high school coach said he ran two low-4.4 forty-yard dashes for former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano at a Rutgers camp), Kinlaw could be a guy similar to Matthias Farley and CJ Prosise where they get him to campus and see where he fits then.

PROJECTING THE FUTURE

Kinlaw’s inexperience at cornerback is one of the things the Irish coaching staff thinks he has going for him. Just like KeiVarae Russell, there are no bad habits the Irish staff will need to break Kinlaw of, and Kerry Cooks and Bob Elliott are getting a mold-able athlete.

“We love his size, his length, his athleticism,” Brian Kelly said on Signing Day. “We think it’s an untapped resource for us in that we’re only going to get him better and better physically, and he has the speed, he has the ability to play the ball. We think he’s going to fit well at the cornerback position for us.  He was somebody that we identified early in this process and felt like he would be a great addition to this class.”

While he’s a life long Notre Dame fan, Kinlaw is far from a profile recruit for the Irish, coming out of a Absegami program that doesn’t have much of a relationship with Notre Dame. Combine that with a fairly serious ankle injury that required two surgeries to properly repair, and Kinlaw’s one of the great mystery prospects in this recruiting class.

  1. fnc111 - Jul 9, 2013 at 9:21 AM

    Seems these days all ND recruits is injured players. If not that, then Kelly recruits 5-stars that never show up.

    • Laughing Tulkas - Jul 9, 2013 at 10:09 AM

      Yep! That’s why we lost so many games last year. :(

    • ndfansince69 - Jul 9, 2013 at 3:03 PM

      I think Coach Kelly and the rest of the staff realize that many programs forget about or choose not to recruit a lot of talented kids who suffer minor injuries in high school. I think that can be a brilliant strategy for building depth. Especially with the skill position players. Instead of “settling” for a true 3 star, go after a kid who would/should have been a four or better.

      Good job pointing out Coach Kelly’s Genius fnc111. It is good to have your positive feed back. See, you are not such a negative D-Bag after all. You can contribute! Now about the five stars not showing up??? I can only find one. Can you elaborate on that? Oh well, baby steps fnc…baby steps.

      Go Irish!

  2. dudeacow - Jul 9, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    I read a report where he ran a 4.3, and his highlight reel certainly backs it up.

  3. jerseyshorendfan1 - Jul 9, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    Hey, when you live in Jersey, sometimes you get a leg broke. Know what I mean?

  4. shaunodame - Jul 9, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    All of these injuries are certainly a concern but there is always the possibility that he may now feel as though he has a chip on his shoulder, which could go a long way in a players development.

    In certainly excited to see how his measurable’s come back. Hopefully he is a bigger corner. As I’ve said before, I feel like that profile player projects very well within our defensive scheme.

  5. papadec - Jul 9, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    The people who have been running down this ND team & program because of who graduated, left, were injured, or didn’t show up – are in for a big surprise this season. OR, in the case of the trolls – a huge disappointment. GO IRISH!!!!!!!!!! PS – smitty – my nephew is doing fine. ‘CUSE let him walk with his class this past May @ graduation, he’s driving, training for a marathon, taking a class this Summer, will finish his degree this Fall. Thanks for asking, and thanks nude & others for your prayers. They worked.

    • mtflsmitty - Jul 10, 2013 at 1:08 AM

      Wonderful news. Somebody has big plans for your nephew.

    • nudeman - Jul 10, 2013 at 10:19 AM

      Very happy to hear that. Sounds like a full recovery.

  6. dutch31 - Jul 9, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    Watched him many times in high school. When healthy just electric. What I noticed was he was at top speed in 2 to 3 steps. Played against a lot of D1 and 1A players.

    Of concern was watching him return for playoffs senior year. Probably shouldn’t have was clearly not healthy yet. Definitely over 6 foot, worth a shot if ND can get him back fully healthy.

    Go Irish!!!

  7. dermmite - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:39 AM

    I don’t care what the heading is, its all about Tommy. And I love me some Tommy.

  8. yaketyyacc - Jul 10, 2013 at 6:46 AM

    wow, the recruiting news just gets better and better. putting Kelly’s visit to Philadelphia into a new light, maybe he didn’t go to seek a coaching job but to lobby to make Notre Dame the next NFL franchise.

  9. mattnef - Jul 10, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    In case any of you missed this.
    Keith, I think this deserves a story … the season is saved.
    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1697715-ea-sports-ncaa-football-14-simulates-the-upcoming-college-football-season

    • kansasirish - Jul 10, 2013 at 12:53 PM

      Very optimistic, but no way a 2 loss ND team gets in the NC game over a 1 loss OSU team. That being said I think we would all take that season.

      • papadec - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:49 PM

        What about an 11-1 ND team? OR, 11-0-1 Team?

    • papadec - Jul 10, 2013 at 9:37 PM

      Holy Guacamole Mattman – there is an incredible amount of material to consume & digest there. ND loses a re-match to Bama in the NC Game? You’re killin’ me! You’re killin’ me! It’ll take forever to get the trolls back in the pen, under the bridge. There are several pages I will have to print & pin to the wall next to my computer. It will be interesting to see how much comes to pass – especially the nightmare scenarios. Thanks for posting it.

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