Notre Dame filled one of the few remaining needs in the class of 2018 with a commitment from consensus three-star offensive tackle Luke Jones (Pulaski Academy; Little Rock, Ark.) on Wednesday. Jones had been committed to his homestate Arkansas but neglected to sign with the Razorbacks during the early signing period last week, a telltale sign he was likely to flip his commitment.
â˜˜ï¸â˜˜ï¸â˜˜ï¸ pic.twitter.com/eFjdN4KVCH— luke jones (@Luke__jones26) December 27, 2017
Jones joins 21 other commits in the Irish class, though those all signed with Notre Dame last week. He will need to wait until Feb. 7 to do so. Two offensive linemen are already among those 21, consensus three-stars John Dirksen (Marion Local; Maria Stein, Ohio) and Cole Mabry (Brentwood High School; Brentwood, Tenn.). With the summer of 2017 transfers of center Parker Boudreaux and guard Tristen Hoge, adding at least three linemen in this class became a priority for the Irish and offensive line coach Harry Hiestand.
“I loved meeting the players and the recruits and taking a harder look at the campus in general,” Jones told Irish Illustrated. “[Current sophomore right tackle] Tommy Kraemer was my host and he’s a really cool guy. I liked him a lot and he gave me honest and real answers to all my questions.”
With Jones in the fold, Notre Dame will focus largely on defensive backs for the final spots in the class, though rivals.com four-star/247sports.com five-star offensive tackle Nick Petit-Frere (Berkeley Prep; Tampa, Fla.) would still be a welcome addition by every measure.
The linemen in this class will have immediate chances to establish themselves as backups, if not more. Presuming senior left guard Quenton Nelson does the sensible thing and heads to the NFL with a year of collegiate eligibility remaining, but both senior center Sam Mustipher and senior right guard Alex Bars remain for their fifth years, the Irish will have only nine offensive linemen plus these commits. So much as one injury or transfer would elevate multiple of these incoming freshmen to the second unit in practice.