Notre Dame’s collection of early signees may not yet be finished. The three-day period extends through Friday, after all, and consensus four-star linebacker Asa Turner (Carlsbad High School; Calif.) may need every minute of it to decide if he will honor his commitment to Washington or flip to join the Irish.
“There’s always some work to be done, some answers still out there for us,” Notre Dame recruiting coordinator Brian Polian said Wednesday, perhaps referring to Turner or perhaps leaving the door open for other possibilities to chase before February’s traditional date.
With that in mind, fretting over the size of the roster can wait another day or so.
Of the 21 commits already secured, eight will join what has become a prolific offense, with a ninth taking over punter duties. Irish head coach Brian Kelly did not laud each of them Wednesday — one of the side effects of the drama-free early signing period is the entire production becomes a quicker, more broadly-focused enterprise — but he and Polian touched on most of them. To that end …
The Irish signed four offensive linemen, and all four will enroll next month, a choice Polian thinks has the most impact along the trenches.
“It’s hard to play a true freshman on the offensive or defensive line,” he said. “Not that it doesn’t happen, but it’s a little bit more difficult. … With six extra months with [strength and conditioning coach Matt] Balis and 15 extra practices with [offensive line coach Jeff] Quinn, that is a really important thing for us moving forward.”
Kelly offered more specific position assignments for the four, though the position group as a whole is often more fluid than others.
“We were pretty clear about the kind of guy that we were looking for and they fit that model,” Kelly said. “The length, the ability to develop physically. There weren’t guys that we were looking to plug-and-play right away. They were all going to develop, but they had to finish. They had to have an edge to them and I think that’s the common theme to all these guys is that they fit in well.”
Andrew Kristofic: Pine-Richland High School; Gibsonia, Pa.
Measurements: 6’6”, 265 lbs.
Rankings: Consensus four-star All-American; No. 27 offensive tackle, per rivals.com, and No. 5 prospect in Pennsylvania.
Kelly’s Take: A tackle. Which — and now this is not Kelly’s take, but the obvious — means Kristofic’s length needs to now gain much weight courtesy of Balis.
Quinn Carroll: Edina H.S.; Minn.
Measurements: 6’6”, 285 lbs.
Rankings: Consensus four-star; No. 7 offensive tackle, per rivals.com, the No. 1 prospect in Minnesota and No. 54 in the country.
Kelly’s Take: Also a tackle.
Zeke Correll: Anderson; Cincinnati, Ohio.
Measurements: 6’4”, 280 lbs.
Rankings: Consensus four-star Under Armour All-American; No. 6 offensive guard, per rivals.com, the No. 4 prospect in Ohio and No. 95 in the country.
Kelly’s take: “Zeke is going to play inside. Could he play center? We’ll take a look at that. He’s a guy that we think might be able to play that position.”
John Olmstead: St. Joseph’s; Metuchen, N.J. (pictured at top)
Measurements: 6’6”, 290 lbs.
Rankings: Consensus four-star; No. 16 offensive tackle, per rivals.com, the No. 3 prospect in New Jersey and No. 111 in the country.
Kelly’s take: “Obviously he’s a guy that we feel physically is probably best suited at the guard position. We like his physicality.”
With five receivers in last year’s class, Notre Dame did not need to go overboard at this position. Signing just two prospects with much development to do, the Irish stuck to that discipline.
Kendall Abdur-Rahman: Edwardsville; Ill.
Measurements: 6’1”, 180 lbs.
Rankings: A rivals.com three-star, the No. 21 prospect in Illinois.
Polian’s take: “What do you do when you see a guy who plays quarterback? Why do you think he can play wideout? Because he runs away from everybody. He has great spatial awareness. He makes people miss. We know he can catch the ball. We’ve seen enough of him in person.”
Cam Hart: Good Counsel; Olney, Md.
Measurements: 6’3”, 185 lbs.
Rankings: Consensus three-star; No. 58 “athlete”, per rivals.com, and the No. 11 prospect in Maryland.
Kyren Williams: St. John Vianney; St. Louis.
Measurements: 5’9”, 191 lbs.
Rankings: A rivals.com three-star, the No. 36 “athlete” and the No. 6 prospect in Missouri.
Kelly’s take: “We do have within our offense the ability to entice a wider net of running backs, and that being one that there’s some versatility to this offense that really fits what you do, as well. … He’s a guy that can do a lot of things. You’ve seen him on both sides of the ball. Plays great defense, offensively catches the ball, runs between the tackles, outside. He’s got a lot of those characteristics and he’s a winner.”
In the 2018 version of college football, signing a Phil Jurkovec one year reduces the pool of interested quarterback recruits the next year. From that shallow water, emerged …
Brendon Clark: Manchester; Midlothian, Va.
Measurements: 6’2”, 210 lbs.
Rankings: Consensus three-star; No. 19 pro-style quarterback, per rivals.com, and No. 11 prospect in Virginia.
Notre Dame needed, absolutely needed, to secure a punter in this class.
Jay Bramblett: Hillcrest; Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Measurements: 6’2”, 175 lbs.
Rankings: Consensus three-star All-American; No. 4 punter, per rivals.com.
Kelly’s take: “We just think he’s got all the traits necessary to be the right kind of player for us, somebody that’s going to be rough and tumble, moves well, very good student. Plays great football. … We’re going to get a guy that is a seasoned football player, coming into college, so we’re pretty excited about that get.”