Liam Eichenberg
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Faxes in: Liam Eichenberg

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LIAM EICHENBERG
Cleveland, Ohio

Measurables: 6’6″, 280 lbs.

Accolades: 4-Star, Under Armour All-American, 2015 MaxPreps first-team All-American, 2015 American Family Insurance All-USA Ohio, AP All-Ohio Division I first-team.

Impressive Offers: Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee

Projected Position: Offensive tackle.

Quick Take: Another offensive tackle with sky-high potential, Notre Dame snatched Eichenberg out from under Urban Meyer’s nose, bringing in yet another blue-chipper for Harry Hiestand to mold. More of a developmental project than Kraemer, Eichenberg’s upside could be just as lofty, especially after some time in a weight room and on the practice field.

What he means to the Irish: With numbers at tackle on the light side, Eichenberg won’t be asked to get on the field, but he might start his career in the two deep behind Mike McGlinchey. That could take away a redshirt if things go wrong, but the view from behind McGlinchey is a good spot for him, learning behind another talented athlete who came to campus as a developmental prospect but will enter his senior season (McGlinchey has two years of eligibility remaining) as a legit NFL prospect.

Eichenberg has the same kind of ceiling. He’ll just need to keep improving—something that he’s shown after a strong Under Armour All-American week in Orlando.

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E-Faxes in: Javon McKinley

Javon McKinley
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JAVON MCKINLEY
Corona, California

Measurables: 6’3″, 205 lbs.

Accolades: Consensus 4-star recruit, U.S. Army All-American, LA Times All-Area first-team, 2014 All-Area Back of the Year, 2014 Southern Section 5 Player of the Year.

Impressive Offers: USC, UCLA, Oregon, Stanford, Arizona State, Ohio State

Projected Position: Wide Receiver

Quick Take: No receiver in Southern California has been more productive than McKinley, a guy who reminds some people of Notre Dame’s most productive receiver ever, Michael Floyd. That’s lofty praise for McKinley but it also tells you just how good he’s been over the past two seasons.

Big, strong, physical and the best player on a team that could be in the toughest conference in all of America, McKinley enters a receiver depth chart that needs to replace Will Fuller, Chris Brown and Amir Carlisle. He’s a big commitment and a cornerstone of this recruiting class.

What he means to the Irish: While we likely won’t know anything about Demetris Robertson for a week or so, McKinley is more than just an understudy or backup plan. He’s a legit option to be a front-line receiver, and he might be an intriguing option as a physical player on the boundary side across from fellow Orange County native Equanimous St. Brown.

What remains to be seen is McKinley’s long speed—he already looks bigger and stronger than most defensive backs. But the question will be if he can get behind teams as well. Either way, he’s got enough savvy to be a productive player.

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E-Faxes in: Donte Vaughn

Donte Vaughn
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Be sure to watch UND.com and WatchND throughout Signing Day for real-time official announcements of national letters of intent and a live signing day show.

 

DONTE VAUGHN
Memphis, Tennessee

Measurables: 6’3″, 190 lbs.

Accolades: All-USA Tennessee first-team, 6A All-State first team, 4-star recruit per 247 composite, Liberty Bowl All-Star game MVP.

Impressive Offers: Auburn, LSU, Miami, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Texas A&M.

Projected Position: Cornerback

Quick Take: No, that’s not a typo. Notre Dame thinks Vaughn can be a cornerback at nearly 6-3 and 195-pounds. That says something about the athleticism that he possesses, with DB coach Todd Lyght already doing the inevitable, comparing his skill-set with All-Pro Richard Sherman’s.

From a size perspective alone, Vaughn stands out at the position group on the roster. He’s a rare pull for the Irish staff out of Memphis, played for a premier program in the area and will likely come in as a corner with the positional flexibility to shift to safety if needed.

What he means to the Irish: Another big body and high-level recruit in a reloaded back end of the defense. As the Irish evolve as a program, it’s interesting to see the diverse set of players they’ve recruited to play defense. Vaughn has already displayed big-time production to go along with the lofty projection of his talents.  He’ll bring a needed edge to the secondary.

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E-Faxes in: Chase Claypool

Chase Claypool
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Be sure to watch UND.com and WatchND throughout Signing Day for real-time official announcements of national letters of intent and a live signing day show.

 

CHASE CLAYPOOL
Abbotsford, British Columbia

Measurables: 6’4″, 215 lbs.

Accolades: 4-star consensus, played for 2015 B.C. high school football AA Championship, participated in The Opening, 2016 Blue-Grey All-American Bowl.

Impressive Offers: Michigan, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah.

Projected Position: Wide Receiver

Quick Take: Notre Dame went across the border to pull out one of this cycle’s most intriguing prospects. Claypool looks like an immediate contender for playing time at wide receiver. He also looks like a guy who could grow into an edge rusher. Not too many guys could play wide receiver or defensive end in college.

After dropping 51 points in a high school basketball game on Tuesday night, it’s clear that Claypool’s athleticism puts him atop the prep scene in British Columbia. Whether that lessens the considerable adjustment period he’ll face once he starts playing college football at an elite level remains to be seen.

What he means to the Irish: If this were a signing day victory, Claypool would be among the best stories of the recruiting cycle. He still should be, especially after seeing his performance at The Opening—where Claypool showed great speed and athleticism to go along with elite size and length.

A recruitment that took a lot of time and resources, landing Claypool was just the beginning. Developing him into the football player we see on film is the next step, and that process will begin this June.

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E-Faxes in: Jonathan Jones

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Orlando Sentinel
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Be sure to watch UND.com and WatchND throughout Signing Day for real-time official announcements of national letters of intent and a live signing day show.

 

JONATHAN JONES
Ocoee, Florida

Measurables: 6’0″, 200 lbs.

Accolades: Invited to The Opening, Team USA U-19 team member, All-State Class 8A second team, No. 3 player in Orlando Sentinel’s Central Florida Super 60, consensus 3-star recruit.

Impressive Offers: Signing day win over Michigan, Florida State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, LSU, Stanford

Projected Position: Middle Linebacker

Quick Take: A middle linebacker high on performance but a little short on measurables, Jones will be an interesting test case coming through Notre Dame. A need-based recruit at middle linebacker, Jones picked the Irish over Michigan and a slew of great offers, though his diminutive size could be a hinderance.

What he means to the Irish: What’s clear after hearing the signing day comments and talking to people in the program is that they believe Jones has the opportunity to be an immensely productive football player. Add two-inches to Jones’ height and he’s an elite 5-star player—and his offer sheet would seem to indicate he’s a national target already.

It helps having just pushed Joe Schmidt through two seasons as a starter. It also helps to have Mo Crum, a tackling machine during the Weis era as a sub-6 foot MLB on staff as a graduate assistant.

Jones has football instincts, great leadership skills and is a sure tackler. While he’s not a big collision guy on tape, there’s got to be something all these top programs see other than a lack of height.

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