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Early Signing Period Leftovers & Links: Some quick Notre Dame math

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Notre Dame hauled in 21 players in the class of 2019 last week during the three-day early signing period, pushing its roster toward 90 scholarships entering the offseason. Yet, the Irish wanted more, which is to say, they still do.

“We have some more room,” head coach Brian Kelly said Wednesday. “So before February signing is complete, we’ve created some more room to add to this list.”

When Kelly said that, more than two days remained in the early signing period and Notre Dame still had a strong chance to secure the signature from consensus four-star linebacker Asa Turner (Carlsbad High School; Calif.) during the December window. Debating between his Washington commitment and an Irish pitch, Turner opted not to sign with either school last week, putting off that final decision until the traditional Signing Day, Feb. 6.

“I’d like to thank everyone, especially the University of Washington and Notre Dame coaching staffs, for their patience and understanding throughout this difficult time,” Turner wrote on Twitter on Saturday. “I do not want to commit/sign to a program until I am 100 percent comfortable with that decision, and unfortunately I am still unsure.”

WIth or without Turner, and with or without consensus four-star defensive end Isaiah Foskey (De La Salle H.S.; Concord, Calif.), the Irish have found a new recruiting trend in the last two cycles: Georgia. The 2019 roster will have half a dozen players from the Peach State, all from the last two recruiting cycles.

“I’m just excited to keep getting really good players out of the state of Georgia, because that’s been good to us lately,” recruiting coordinator Brian Polian said Wednesday.

The influx is not by coincidence. Notre Dame has made an admitted attempt at finding a better fit from a talent-rich area, trading much of Florida for Georgia in the process. Thus far the focus has yielded safeties Derrik Allen and Kyle Hamilton, cornerback KJ Wallace, linebacker J.D. Bertrand, running back C’Bo Flemister and tight end Tommy Tremble.

Looking ahead to 2020
While Turner and Foskey remain pending, the Irish already have three commitments in the class of 2020, all consensus four-stars:

Tight end Michael Mayer (Covington Catholic; Alexandria, Ky.)
Tight end Kevin Bauman (Red Bank Catholic; N.J.)
Quarterback Drew Pyne (New Canaan; Conn.)

This is where a scholarship discussion usually unfolds, pointing out how limited Notre Dame will undoubtedly be in the class. But Kelly has deliberately moved past that math in the last two years, and certainly will moving forward, as well. For the sake of context, though: Of those 90 expected at the moment, five will be graduate students out of eligibility following 2019 (including defensive back Shaun Crawford who will need to appeal to the NCAA for another year due to medical hardship, an appeal he should win but one not to be assumed). Five will be seniors likely to be offered another year, though not all five will take that offer. And 15 will be seniors unlikely to return in 2020.

Already, that could make for a recruiting class of about 20, and that is without the natural attrition of an offseason .

Looking ahead to Saturday
After peaking at 13.5, Clemson’s expected edge on Saturday (4 ET; ESPN) is now down to 12.5, with a combined point total over/under of 55 hinting at a 34-21 conclusion.

Spend your Christmas reading …
Two profiles of the Irish coordinators. The South Bend Tribune’s Tyler James on Chip Long and Yahoo’s Pete Thamel on Clark Lea.

From the Long piece: “I’m not chasing a head coaching job at all.”
From the Lea piece: “He’s going to be a great defensive coordinator for as long as wants because he has that unique ability to connect with players.”

INSIDE THE IRISH READING
Notre Dame looks ahead to 2019, while still readying for Clemson
Notre Dame’s 2017 Signing Day, now sophomores, set up 2018’s Playoff run
Where Notre Dame was, is and will need to be: Linebackers
Where Notre Dame was, is and will need to be: Defensive backs
Quartet of four-star linemen highlights Notre Dame’s offensive signees
Needed tackle depth keys Notre Dame’s defensive commits
Things We Learned: Stress-free recruiting cycle sets up Notre Dame both now and in the future
Friday at 4: I have made mistakes, but not watching Notre Dame in the Playoff will not be one of them

EARLY SIGNING PERIOD’S IMMEDIATE COVERAGE
Consensus four-star offensive linemen Andrew Kristofic, Zeke Correll and John Olmstead
Consensus four-star OL Quinn Carroll
Consensus four-star defensive tackles Jacob Lacey and Hunter Spears
Consensus four-star defensive ends NaNa Osafo-Mensah and Howard Cross
Four-star LB J.D. Bertrand
Four-star CB Isaiah Rutherford
Quarterback Brendon Clark
LBs Osita Ekwonu and Jack Kiser
LB Marist Liufau
DBs Kyle Hamilton, Litchfield Ajavon and KJ Wallace
WRs Cam Hart and Kendall Abdur-Rahman
Running back Kyren Williams
Punter Jay Bramblett

OUTSIDE READING
The Kellys: Living the Notre Dame dream
AP Coach of the Year: Kelly wins for 2nd time
Tommy Rees, 2018 FootballScoop Quarterbacks Coach of the Year
8 college football QB transfer questions: What will Brandon Wimbush do?
Top 2019 NFL draft prospects in the College Football Playoff
10 key stats that could determine the outcome of the Playoff
Greg Dortch leaving Wake Forest for NFL draft
Stanford’s Bryce Love won’t play in Sun Bowl to focus on NFL draft
Ball State QB transferring to Vanderbilt
Justin Fields intending to transfer from Georgia