The Irish won’t play a football game that counts until early September. But when you think about a winning weekend, it’ll be hard to forget the Junior Day the Notre Dame coaching staff put on last weekend.
After pulling in quarterback Avery Davis, linebacker David Adams and defensive tackle Kurt Hinish, Mike Elston’s recruiting office already had things rolling along. But Monday night officially went into hyperdrive when the Irish landed two more key commitments, linebackers Drew White and Pete Werner.
White hails from Florida powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas. Werner’s an Indianapolis product, playing for one of the state’s best programs at Cathedral High School. Both are key building blocks to the 2017 recruiting class that’s growing by the minute.
Both made their announcements on Twitter, getting Notre Dame’s coaching staff plenty fired up in the process.
For a guy playing at one of the top programs in the country, White managed to fly below the radar. Currently, he’s a two-star recruit (unranked) by Rivals, even though he’s collected offers from LSU, Michigan and Ohio State this spring.
That’s what happens when your high school team lands a ridiculous eight players on the first-team All-State team, with White earning third-team All-State honors in class 7A en route to a second-straight state championship as he lead St. Thomas Aquinas in tackles with 101. His brother Sean started five games for Auburn last season at quarterback and was a four-star quarterback.
Werner is one of the top players in the state of Indiana, closing down his recruitment with 27 offers including Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State. Werner seemed to have Stanford at the top of his list, though he jumped on the chance to close out the linebacker group in this recruiting class when offered the chance by Mike Elston.
“He said we’re only taking one more linebacker and we want you,” Werner recounted to 247 Sports’ Steve Wiltfong. “I figured I wanted that and I knew I didn’t want to give it up. If a school wants me that bad and it’s a school I want that bad, I felt like it was perfect.”
Werner’s skill-set is an intriguing one. He played linebacker, safety and even cornerback last season. At 215 pounds, he’s got plenty of room to add weight onto his 6-foot-3 frame.
With only four healthy scholarship linebackers in spring drills and the Irish missing on a few other targets late last cycle, consider this class closed at the position and more than one expert considering it a success.
With the clock officially rolling over to Tuesday, Notre Dame closed Monday with three commitments, ending the weekend with five new members of the recruiting class—a number that still could be on the rise as feedback continues to trickle in after Junior Day. That brings the 2017 group to nine.