It’s National Signing Day. Longtime “Inside the Irish” readers are expecting post after post after post this morning announcing the arrivals of faxes. Not today, and not just because National Letters of Intent have not been sent in as literal faxes for years.
Notre Dame signed 21 recruits during December’s early signing period. That means today, what used to be a college football national holiday, will be far quieter. The Irish are expecting somewhere between four and six signees today. Only one of those has already committed, consensus three-star offensive tackle Luke Jones (Pulaski Academy; Little Rock, Ark.).
The rest of the targets have announcements scheduled throughout the day.
Thus, it is distinctly possible the only “The Letter Is In” moment before the East Coast morning commute is that of Jones. Those few hundred words are, indeed, drafted within the cobwebs of the internet.
The two perks for the fans of this revamped system are the day is far less stressful, and each signee is considered a notable victory. The Notre Dame coaching staff’s success during the early signing period turned National Signing Day into a day filled with much upside and nearly no downside.
Anyway, with that refresher out of the way, here is a bevy of information on today’s possibilities and December’s signees, considering the decent chance that moment evaded some entirely. After all, it was the week immediately prior to Christmas.
Whom might Notre Dame add to this recruiting class?
The pros, cons and math of Notre Dame signing more than 25 recruits
As a National Signing Day primer, some mailbag questions
SUMMARIES OF DECEMBER:
A refresher of Notre Dame’s early signing period success
Seven early enrollees set a new Notre Dame high, but will they make an impact?
Notre Dame’s eight offensive signees — Brian Kelly’s take
Notre Dame’s 12 defensive signees — Brian Kelly’s take
Context shows Notre Dame succeeded in the early period
DECEMBER’S LETTERS ARE IN:
Notre Dame signs consensus four-star WR Braden Lenzy
Kevin Austin and Micah Jones, four-star receivers
Phil Jurkovec, consensus four-star quarterback
Jahmir Smith, consensus three-star running back
George Takacs, four-star tight end
Tommy Tremble, consensus three-star tight end
John Dirksen and Cole Mabry, consensus three-star offensive linemen
Jack Lamb, consensus four-star linebacker
Bo Bauer, four-star linebacker
Shayne Simon, consensus four-star linebacker
Ovie Oghoufo, consensus three-star linebacker
Derrik Allen, consensus four-star safety
Houston Griffith, consensus four-star safety
Tariq Bracy, three-star cornerback
Joe Wilkins, consensus three-star defensive back
Paul Moala, local safety
Jayson and Justin Ademilola, twin defensive linemen
Ja’Mion Franklin, consensus three-star defensive tackle
Wesleyan School; Norcross, Ga.
Measurements: 6’4”, 225 lbs.
Accolades: Consensus three-star; No. 18 tight end in the class per rivals.com and No. 52 prospect in Georgia.
Other Notable Offers: Tremble’s decision came down to Notre Dame or Michigan. Originally he did not intend to sign during this early period, leaving the possibility of flipping to the Wolverines on the table. His putting pen to paper today removes that option, undoubtedly to Irish head coach Brian Kelly’s delight.
Projected Position: Tight end, likely more often in the detached role than aligned with the offensive line.
Quick Take: Current Notre Dame junior Alizé Mack’s 2017 may have been a letdown, but a comparison to him is still a complement. Tremble presents many of the same difficulties Mack does to opposing defenses, with a tight end’s size but a receiver’s speed.
Short-Term Roster Outlook: If that comparison is accurate, Tremble may see spot duty in the near future, simply to put defenses in exceedingly tough situations.
Long-View Depth Chart Impact: Irish offensive coordinator Chip Long can never have enough tight ends, and he will find uses for all of them. Mack will likely jump to the NFL following the 2018 season, and of the current stable, Tremble best fits into that position.
One of Notre Dame’s deepest positions got even stronger with the Thursday morning commitment of rivals.com three-star tight end Tommy Tremble (Wesleyan High School; Norcross, Ga.). The No. 18 tight end in the class, per rivals.com, Tremble’s decision essentially came down to the Irish or Michigan.
A Wednesday night visit from Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, offensive coordinator Chip Long and running backs coach Autry Denson may have played a part in tipping the scales, though Tremble told Blue & Gold Illustrated he had been leaning toward the Irish since his official visit in October.
“There’s not many tight ends in the country that can do the kind of things that I can do,” Tremble said, then referencing Long’s view of the position in his system. “[Long] said with that in this type of offensive scheme it could be explosive.
“I’m going to be the hardest working at the entire college at anything. At everything too, not just football. I’m just going to make it work.”
In his first season at Notre Dame, Long showed his predilection for using multiple tight ends at a time, often pairing fifth-year senior Durham Smythe with junior Alizé Mack. Smythe would act as an additional offensive lineman who could slip out for a route while Mack’s duties were more akin to a receiver’s as often as not. Smythe finished his best collegiate season with 13 catches for 234 yards and a touchdown while Mack added 19 catches for 166 yards and a score. Current senior and returning fifth-year Nic Weishar chipped in seven catches for 39 yards and two touchdowns.
With two tight ends in this class now — Tremble joins consensus four-star George Takacs (Gulf Coast H.S.; Naples, Fla.) — Long should be able to continue with such as often as he wants. In 2017 he showed no caution in deploying freshmen Brock Wright and Cole Kmet occasionally. Presumably, Tremble and Takacs could see similar workloads from the outset.
The No. 52 overall player in Georgia, Tremble also held offers from Georgia, Auburn and UCLA, among others. He is the 20th commitment in the class with the early signing period commencing Wednesday.
Last week, Weishar declared his intention to return for a fifth year.