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Notre Dame gets the letters: Consensus four-star defensive tackles Jacob Lacey and Hunter Spears

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JACOB LACEY
South Warren High School; Bowling Green, Ky.
Measurements: 6’2”, 290 lbs.
Accolades: Consensus four-star; No. 21 defensive tackle in the class, per rivals.com, and No. 8 prospect in Kentucky.

Other Notable Offers: Ohio State, Michigan and Clemson all made offers to Lacey, but he remained steadfast in his recruitment to Notre Dame for nearly a year-and-a-half.

Projected Position: Defensive tackle.

Quick Take: A prototypical defensive tackle, Lacey provides raw power in the middle. When dialed in, that can create as much chaos in the backfield as a lightning quick end.

Short-Term Roster Outlook: Lacey could provide some relief next season for first-time starters Kurt Hinish and Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa. Keeping them fresh through the season will be a priority, and one only possible if Lacey and current freshmen Ja’Mion Franklin and Jayson Ademilola handle 15-20 snaps apiece per game.

Long-View Depth Chart Impact: Moving ahead of Hinish could be tough for a bit, just given how well Hinish has played in his two seasons. But if Lacey can establish a timeshare with him, he could move past Franklin entirely and handle the primary role by 2021.


(rivals.com)

HUNTER SPEARS
Sachse High School; Texas.
Measurements: 6’5”, 260 lbs.
Accolades: Consensus four-star; No. 33 defensive end in the country, per rivals.com, and No. 49 recruit in Texas.

Other Notable Offers: Spears made his recruitment easy. While his homestate chased him — Texas Tech, TCU and Baylor all offered — he so wanted to go to Notre Dame he moved up his intended commitment date by more than six months.

Projected Position: Defensive tackle.

Quick Take: Spears’ frame can hold much more weight, hence the collegiate expectations of playing at defensive tackle. Combine that with his length and Spears could, in time, occupy multiple blockers at a time while his teammates wreak havoc.

Short-Term Roster Outlook: Spears has suffered some knee injuries, including a torn ACL, in his high school career, so spending all of 2019 on the sidelines would not be a shock.

Long-View Depth Chart Impact: Defensive line is the most important position in college football, and depth is as crucial as talent, especially on the inside where the beating can become particularly grueling. Spears will be needed to aid that cause as soon as he is 100 percent healthy.