Mission Viejo High School; Calif.
Measurements: 6’5”, 280 lbs.
Accolades: Rivals.com three-star and No. 29 tackle in the class, as well as the No. 49 prospect in California.
Other Notable Offers: Patterson held offers from nearly half the Pac 12, Wisconsin and Michigan, but his recruitment came down to Notre Dame and UCLA after he de-committed from Arizona State.
Projected Position: Offensive tackle.
Quick Take: The Irish made Patterson a priority after the early signing period. Given the program’s years of offensive line excellence, that was not a decision made on a whim. He progressed throughout high school, and his pass protection skills make him a possible tackle of the future.
Short-Term Roster Outlook: Notre Dame knows it has one of its two tackles this season in current freshman Robert Hainsey. It would be unlikely to start two underclassmen on the ends of the offensive line, but Patterson could quite conceivably work his way into a backup role.
Long-View Depth Chart Impact: It will make sense at some point to move current sophomore Tommy Kraemer inside from tackle to guard. That may be 2018 or perhaps 2019. That day will only come when a truer tackle is ready to take every snap. With that in mind, that is the clear path for Patterson to a starting role sooner than later.
Pulaski Academy; Little Rock, Ark.
Measurements: 6’4”, 290 lbs.
Accolades: Consensus three-star; No. 45 offensive tackle in the class per rivals.com and No. 4 prospect in Arkansas.
Other Notable Offers: Jones was committed to Arkansas heading into the early signing period, but used Bret Bielema’s firing as a valid reason to avoid the dotted line. He then committed to Notre Dame within a week of the December period and did not flinch from that pledge despite the Razorbacks hiring Chad Morris from SMU while the Irish saw offensive line coach Harry Hiestand head to the NFL and replaced him with Jeff Quinn.
Projected Position: Offensive tackle.
Quick Take: Jones’ length makes him a valid tackle possibility down the line. Adding a third offensive lineman to the class also creates needed depth. Without Jones (or any additional offensive line commitments today), Notre Dame had only 11 offensive linemen rostered.
Short-Term Roster Outlook: Jones will be one of seven (and possibly counting) freshmen or sophomores among the 12 (or more) offensive linemen. If he excels, some time in the two-deep could be immediately available, but given the success of current freshman Robert Hainsey in 2017 and the expected rise of Hainsey’s classmates Josh Lugg and Dillan Gibbons, it is more likely Jones spends 2018 on the sidelines.
Long-View Depth Chart Impact: Current sophomores Tommy Kraemer and Liam Eichenberg have not excelled at tackle. That issue led to Hainsey playing throughout his freshman season as much as Hainsey’s solid practice performances did. Such a leap is unlikely to be repeated a second time in two seasons, but it could lead to an opportunity in a year or two for Jones.
St. John’s College High; Washington, D.C.
Measurements: 6’1”, 180 lbs.
Accolades: Consensus three-star; No. 67 cornerback in the class per rivals.com and No. 8 recruit in the nation’s capital; Under Armour All-American.
Other Notable Offers: Brown de-committed from Virginia at the end of January, quickly declaring a final three schools under consideration of Notre Dame, Cal and Northwestern. He also held offers from Clemson, Ohio State and South Carolina.
Projected Position: Cornerback.
Quick Take: Brown may be a genuinely prototypical cornerback, at his best in pass coverage and able to locate the ball in the air. By no means does he not need development, but given the stockpile of talent at the position two years ahead of him, Brown should have time to progress and be ready to contribute in a season or two.
Short-Term Roster Outlook: Brown is the fourth cornerback in this class — although consensus four-star Houston Griffith could also see some time at safety — compensating for the lack of cornerbacks in last year’s recruiting class. With three current sophomores at the position, as well as a junior and a senior with starting experience, Brown should not be readily needed in 2018. Perhaps he will make some special teams contributions, but that should be about it.
Long-View Depth Chart Impact: The recruiting failure of a year ago will be quite the boon for Brown’s career. Once the likes of current sophomore Julian Love, junior Shaun Crawford and senior Nick Watkins matriculate, there will be a scramble at the position. Only sophomores Troy Pride and Donte Vaughn will have experience, and at least two other cornerbacks will see regular action. That means Brown could be, perhaps should be, in position to contribute right away in 2019, if not start.
Pike County High School; Zebulon, Ga.
Measurements: 5’11”; 195 lbs.
Accolades: Consensus three-star prospect
Other Notable Offers: Flemister never publicly de-committed from Georgia Tech until this morning, although his recruitment had clearly been open for some time now. Flemister also considered Tennessee.
Projected Position: Running back.
Quick Take: Notre Dame was content with signing only Jahmir Smith in this class until removing current sophomore Deon McIntosh and freshman C.J. Holmes from the roster created a desperate need for running back depth. At that point, running backs coach Autry Denson quickly focused on Flemister and only on Flemister.
Short-Term Roster Outlook: Flemister is the fourth running back on Notre Dame’s depth chart. In 2017, the fourth running back saw plenty of action, albeit due to injury. That is the nature of the position, and Flemister can expect to be readied for a similar role if need should arise.
Long-View Depth Chart Impact: Smith has an advantage over Flemister at the outset, having enrolled early, but whichever of the two can gain a step on the other in games will be in prime position to see a lot of carries in 2019. At that point, current junior Dexter Williams will be gone and the Irish will need someone — or multiple someones — to complement sophomore Tony Jones. Offensive coordinator Chip Long enjoys utilizing two running back formations, but feels comfortable doing so only when both running backs involved can run, block and catch. Flemister will need to show a comfort level with the latter two, particularly the receiving, to be featured alongside the multi-tooled Jones.
It’s National Signing Day. Longtime “Inside the Irish” readers are expecting post after post after post this morning announcing the arrivals of faxes. Not today, and not just because National Letters of Intent have not been sent in as literal faxes for years.
Notre Dame signed 21 recruits during December’s early signing period. That means today, what used to be a college football national holiday, will be far quieter. The Irish are expecting somewhere between four and six signees today. Only one of those has already committed, consensus three-star offensive tackle Luke Jones (Pulaski Academy; Little Rock, Ark.).
The rest of the targets have announcements scheduled throughout the day.
Thus, it is distinctly possible the only “The Letter Is In” moment before the East Coast morning commute is that of Jones. Those few hundred words are, indeed, drafted within the cobwebs of the internet.
The two perks for the fans of this revamped system are the day is far less stressful, and each signee is considered a notable victory. The Notre Dame coaching staff’s success during the early signing period turned National Signing Day into a day filled with much upside and nearly no downside.
Anyway, with that refresher out of the way, here is a bevy of information on today’s possibilities and December’s signees, considering the decent chance that moment evaded some entirely. After all, it was the week immediately prior to Christmas.
Whom might Notre Dame add to this recruiting class?
The pros, cons and math of Notre Dame signing more than 25 recruits
As a National Signing Day primer, some mailbag questions
SUMMARIES OF DECEMBER:
A refresher of Notre Dame’s early signing period success
Seven early enrollees set a new Notre Dame high, but will they make an impact?
Notre Dame’s eight offensive signees — Brian Kelly’s take
Notre Dame’s 12 defensive signees — Brian Kelly’s take
Context shows Notre Dame succeeded in the early period
DECEMBER’S LETTERS ARE IN:
Notre Dame signs consensus four-star WR Braden Lenzy
Kevin Austin and Micah Jones, four-star receivers
Phil Jurkovec, consensus four-star quarterback
Jahmir Smith, consensus three-star running back
George Takacs, four-star tight end
Tommy Tremble, consensus three-star tight end
John Dirksen and Cole Mabry, consensus three-star offensive linemen
Jack Lamb, consensus four-star linebacker
Bo Bauer, four-star linebacker
Shayne Simon, consensus four-star linebacker
Ovie Oghoufo, consensus three-star linebacker
Derrik Allen, consensus four-star safety
Houston Griffith, consensus four-star safety
Tariq Bracy, three-star cornerback
Joe Wilkins, consensus three-star defensive back
Paul Moala, local safety
Jayson and Justin Ademilola, twin defensive linemen
Ja’Mion Franklin, consensus three-star defensive tackle