Measurables: 6’3″, 215
Accolades: U.S. Army All-American, All-USA Indiana linebacker, consensus 4-star prospect, All-State 3A, Defensive Player of the Year by Times of Northwest Indiana.
Impressive Offers: Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State
Quick Take: Barajas was a terrific addition to the Irish recruiting class, battled away from Penn State after a surprising commitment to James Franklin’s staff early. Barajas was always a highly touted recruit, but only after he took part in the All-Star festivities in San Antonio did he truly get some looks among the national elite.
Barajas is too light right now to be a in-the-box linebacker, but he could be the prototype for what Brian VanGorder is looking for at the Sam linebacker spot. He’s a top-shelf athlete that’ll do his best to fight his way onto the field as a freshman, especially if he’s a quick study in the defense.
What he means to the Irish: Defending the home turf is crucial and landing Barajas is a big part of that. It also brings an elite defensive player into a depth chart that’s still evolving at linebacker. He’ll likely be a large part of the team’s DNA once Jaylon Smith and Joe Schmidt are gone.
Looking for an interesting test case? Let’s see how much weight Barajas gains during his first year in the program. I’ll set the over/under at 25 pounds.
Obligatory YouTube Video: Here’s Barajas laying the wood at linebacker for his Andrean squad as a senior:
Measurables: 6’0″, 180
Accolades: No. 39 on Dallas Morning News Top 100, 3-star prospect, USA Football International Bowl, State Champion (Allen has won last three state titles and 43-straight games).
Other Impressive Offers: Arizona State, Baylor, Ole Miss, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Stanford, Texas A&M
Projected Position: Wide receiver
Quick Take: If you’re looking for a productive football player, Guyton is your man. He was the most explosive offensive player on the best football team in Texas. Guyton had an astounding senior season, making 82 catches for 1,770 yards and 22 touchdowns. Find better numbers for a high school senior.
A stronger looking player with the ball in his hands than you may expect, Notre Dame got to Guyton early and held off a strong charge of impressive programs to land the Texas native. He might not be on the top of too many recruiting lists, but he should be.
What he means for the Irish: If you’re looking for a position where a 3-star prospect is almost an asset, Brian Kelly has made a living finding rock-solid receivers that appear to be overlooked by the recruiting services. Guyton fits that profile perfectly.
We didn’t see Guyton out on the camp and combine circuit, likely playing into his modest ranking. But starring at Allen is a far better sign than looking good running between cones at a camp, so it’ll be fun to watch him progress at the next level.
Obligatory YouTube Clip: Here’s nine minutes of Guyton dominating during the 2014 season. Somebody give coach Eric Taylor a call.
Measurables: 6’0″, 198 lbs.
Accolades: Indianapolis Star Player of the Year, All-USA Indiana Football Team, 6A All-State team, Top 50 All-State team per coaches as both junior and senior.
Other Impressive Offers: Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Wisconsin
Quick Take: At a position of need, Williams is a great addition at safety who will be expected to compete nearly immediately. A do-everything athlete who was Indianapolis’ player of the year in one of the more talent-rich seasons, Williams has the ability to drop the hammer in the box or play a more than competent centerfield.
In a defense that needs great football players, that might be the best compliment you can give Williams.
What he means to the Irish: He’s a critical addition to this recruiting class. And while his offer came later in the recruiting cycle than you might expect, he’s another in-state star that will continue Notre Dame’s resurgence in Indiana’s state capital.
Obligatory YouTube Clip: Here’s a look at the do-everything player from Warren Central, Sheldon Day’s alma mater.
Measurables: 5’11”, 185 lbs.
Accolades: Under Armour All-American, No. 1 kicker in nation per 247 Sports, 5-star rating, Kohl’s Kicking Camp, No. 1 kicker in the country per Kohl’s kicking camp.
Other Impressive Offers: Texas A&M, Northwestern, Boston College
Projected Position: Placekicker
Quick Take: With Kyle Brindza graduated, the kicking job is Yoon’s. That puts a ton on the shoulders of the Under Armour All-American, who seemed to thrive in the pressure of the All-Star game.
Yoon suffered a back injury that took him off the field for most of his senior season, but his leg power is back. The Irish are certainly putting a lot on Yoon’s plate, but there’s a reason Brian Kelly and Notre Dame offered him a scholarship.
What he means for the Irish: Yoon’s an immediate starter. And as we saw when Kyle Brindza’s season went wayward, that’s a crucial job. We won’t truly know what Yoon’s made of until his number gets called against Texas in the opening. But on paper, you can’t ask for a better freshman kicking candidate.
Obligatory YouTube clip: Here’s Yoon launching some bombs at Kohl’s kicking camp.
Measurables: 6’3″, 275 lbs.
Accolades: First-team AP All-State, Cincinnati Enquirer All-Star, first-team All-District, Top 300 player per Tom Lemming and Scout, All-USA Ohio team.
Other Impressive Offers: Florida State, Miami, Ohio State, Michigan State
Projected Position: Defensive Tackle
Quick Take: Taylor might need some additional time in the weight room, but he’s a potential run-stopper in the middle of the Irish defense. A thick bottomed, power player in the trenches, Taylor was a recruit coveted by some big programs.
He’s not going to jump off the screen necessarily, but he’s the type of player desperately needed at any program, and will be especially helpful as the Irish look for answers behind Jarron Jones and Sheldon Day.
What he means to the Irish: He might be the lone true two-gap player in this recruiting class. He’s not expected to be a pass rushing threat, but he will be able to anchor up front and read and react. As close to a nose guard as they come, and someone who will allow the Irish to slide in and out of three-man fronts as his career progresses.
Obligatory YouTube Clip: Here’s a quick look at some senior highlights from Taylor’s season at Archbishop Moeller.