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Orlando Sentinel

E-Faxes in: Jonathan Jones

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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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E-Faxes in: D.J. Morgan

DJ Morgan
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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.

 

D.J. Morgan
Norwalk, California

Measurables: 6’2″, 190 lbs.

Accolades: Tw0-year starter and team captain for nationally ranked team. O.C. Register All-Trinity League, Consensus 3-star recruit, CIF Open Division Champion

Impressive Offers: Arizona State, Cal, Colorado, Utah

Projected Position: Safety

Quick Take: Mike Denbrock said all you need to hear, calling Morgan the best player in the best program in California. That’s much higher praise than a 3-star ranking. Morgan ran the team’s secondary, a team captain with great leadership abilities. He’s got the chance to stay at safety or move down into the box, a big kid who’ll only get bigger as he gets into a college strength program.

What he means to the Irish: With Morgan, Spencer Perry and Donte Vaughn in the class, the Irish got a lot bigger in the secondary. That was by design and certainly will help reshape a safety position that needs to improve.

Playing at Don Bosco should help Morgan step onto campus ready to contribute. There’s room for him on the field to do so, especially if he can develop his speed to go along with elite size.

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E-Faxes in: Ian Book

Ian Book
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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.

 

IAN BOOK
El Dorado Hills, California

Measurables: 6’0″, 190 lbs.

Accolades: Consensus 3-star recruit, All-Sierra Foothill League MVP, Sacramento Bee first-team All-Metro.

Impressive Offers: Boise State, Washington State, Arizona State, Colorado

Projected Position: Quarterback

Quick Take: Offensive coordinator Mike Sanford has long known Book, recruiting him when he was at Boise State. While the Irish had a few other 2016 quarterbacks on their board ahead of Book, the Irish flipped him from Washington State and Mike Leach a move possibly prompted by the decision of 2017 QB Hunter Johnson.

He’s an accurate, athletic and heady quarterback. Physically he won’t necessarily wow you, but a look at his highlights show you a versatile playmaker who on the field did as much as any guy the Irish were recruiting.

What he means to the Irish: Stability. With a position battle set for spring and three highly-touted guys fighting for snaps, Book allows continuity at the position and also keeps the roster in line if a transfer does occur down the line.

Book’s more than a placeholder, even if he’s not an Elite 11 or 5-star guy. He’s a return to athletic and accurate quarterbacks after signing a high-ceiling prospect like Brandon Wimbush and the first QB brought in by Mike Sanford.

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E-Faxes in: Julian Love

Julian Love
Rivals / Yahoo Sports
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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.

 

JULIAN LOVE
Westchester, Illinois

Measurables: 5’11”, 175 lbs.

Accolades: Consensus 3-star prospect, Back-to-back 5A State Champions in Illinois, first-team MaxPreps All-American, All-Illinois first team per Chicago Tribune and Champaign News.

Impressive Offers: Iowa, Northwestern, Illinois, Boston College

Projected Position: Cornerback

Quick Take: One of Chicagoland’s most productive football players, Love had a big-time senior season and did everything for the best team in the state. Checks all the RKG boxes while also profiling at a position of need, it’ll be interesting to see if Love evolves into a big-time college player after the Irish showed faith in their evaluation of him early and were rewarded as he continued to ascend as a player.

What he means to the Irish: Another potential sleeper candidate, Love’s versatility could help him get on the field early, but it’ll be interesting to see how he fits into Notre Dame’s defensive plans. There’s no growth spurt that turns him into James Onwualu, but they were similar high school players when you consider the many ways they helped their high school programs succeed.

Love is likely a corner, and one who has shown a nose for the football. He could also find a way to help at nickel, work on special teams and anything else the team needs.

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E-Faxes in: Troy Pride Jr.

Troy Pride
Rivals / Yahoo Sports
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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.

 

TROY PRIDE JR.
Greer, South Carolina

Measurables: 5’11”, 175 lbs.

Accolades: 4-star prospect, 2016 Blue-Grey All-American Bowl, All-USA South Carolina football team, Shrine Bowl, 2015 Region II-AA Player of the Year.

Impressive Offers: South Carolina, Clemson, North Carolina, Ole Miss, Tennessee

Projected Position: Cornerback

Quick Take: Notre Dame thinks they have a big-time player in Pride, a cover man who could compete to play immediately as the Irish look to rebuild their secondary. He’s a versatile player who did big things on both sides of the football as well as in the return game for one of South Carolina’s best prep programs.

What he means to the Irish: Freshmen cornerbacks Shaun Crawford and Nick Coleman both drew rave reviews in their debut season, with Ashton White also earning kudos. Pride—and another reloaded group of defensive backs—will look to build on that momentum, knowing that there’ll be a lot of turnover in Todd Lyght’s secondary in the next year or two.

Pride is a smooth athlete. He was an early target of Virginia Tech and a commitment before opening things back up and eventually choosing Notre Dame. The staff believes he’s a guy with the ability to play immediately, a high football IQ contributor and a good leader. A nice building block in this class.

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