Notre Dame Football Recruiting 2013: Ranking the Top 10 Irish Commitments
Notre Dame football is one of the classic sport entities in this country, along with Yankee baseball, Laker and Celtic basketball and the Dallas Cowboys, among others. Recruiting has been kind to the Irish for the most part in their rich history and with Brian Kelly now at the helm, he's been recruiting with purpose.
The Irish are ready to get back into the consistent BCS bowl hunt and they know they need talent to do that. This year, Notre Dame has one of the best classes in all of college football recruiting and their commitments are all crucial finds.
For this piece, we're simply going to delve into the Notre Dame class and pull out the top 10 commitments of the group.
10. Devin Butler, CB
Out of the D.C. area, Butler is a 6'1", 180-pound DB that can play both cornerback and safety. He would excel nicely in a cover-2 scheme as a CB due to his good length, smarts, coverage awareness and route recognition skills.
He can fight a big WR for jump balls and has solid foot quickness to play the off-man coverage technique. He won't blaze with speed and may not be a future No. 1 corner, but he will be a good No. 2 complimentary guy on the perimeter or a good free safety.
9. John Montelus, OL
Montelus is a 6'5", 215-pound OL prospect that could be a future classic phone-booth mauler. He fires out quickly and has quick stab-and-grab that is powerful at the point of attack. He has great agility and sustains well when he's engaged.
Montelus has second-level ability as a blocker thanks to easy movement in his pulls and traps. He will put a hat on moving targets and can adjust on the move.
The Massachusetts native shows a quick set as a pass protector and has the length, balance, athleticism and strength to battle rushers down after down.
8. Malik Zaire, QB
Zaire comes out of Ohio and has great leadership qualities. He's a southpaw signal-caller that is a devout Notre Dame pledge and has become one of the class leaders.
At 6'1", 196 pounds, Zaire has solid arm strength, accuracy and is a playmaker. He's a dual threat due to his ability to eat up chunks of yards with his legs when the pocket has too much traffic and receivers are covered.
Zaire can play QB or choose to deploy his athleticism as an RB, WR or DB.
7. Isaac Rochell, DE/OL
Rochell is from the Peach State and goes 6'5", 250 pounds on the hoof. He has natural length and athleticism and is really a blank canvas as a player.
Rochell likely will come to Notre Dame, first as a DE, but he has the tools to develop into an excellent OT. He's a natural athlete with good play quickness, can run like a deer and has improved strength.
Whatever the Irish decide to do with him, his length and athleticism should make him a good one.
6. Doug Randolph, OLB
Randolph should be a good fit for the Irish 3-4 defense as an OLB. He's a 6'3", 220-pound defender that has quick hands and strength to set the edge against the run. Randolph can shed blocks well and purse with good speed.
He sifts through traffic quickly laterally and can hawk a ball-carrier down from the backside. He comes off the edge to attack the pocket, has the length to stay clean, bends well and can fire down on a passer to finish.
From Virginia, Notre Dame took Randolph from Stanford.
5. Hunter Bivin, OT
While Steve Elmer has the solid movement skills, Bivin is the Irish OL commit that has the lunch-pail mentality. The Kentucky native is 6'6", 290 pounds and plays with tremendous toughness.
Bivin has a nasty streak and can maul in the run game, with great snap quickness, leg drive and strength. He shows solid snap quickness as a pass protector and rarely gets beat inside due great adjust ability. Bivin can sit down and anchor against powerful rushers and is a great worker.
4. Steve Elmer, OT
While Colin McGovern gets it done with more strength and power than Elmer, the latter gets it done with length and mirror ability. The Michigan-bred Elmer is 6'6", 305 pounds and can latch onto a target, sustain and stay engaged all play.
He has good snap quickness and will roll into his targets to move them off their marks as a run-blocker. He has solid patience as a pass-blocker and mirrors well on the edges.
Look for Elmer to become a solid OT in South Bend.
3. Colin McGovern, OT
An Illinois native, McGovern is a 6'6", 291-pound OT prospect that can surge off the ball at the snap and use a powerful punch to shock targets. He plays with great strength and can jump on top of a DL.
McGovern is pretty productive in space and can set, re-direct and adjust to mirror targets coming at him. He has good agility, balance and foot quickness and if his man slips, McGovern will finish the fight.
2. Alex Anzalone, LB
From Pennsylvania, Anzalone is a great football player. The 6'3", 230-pound baller is a solid athlete and can play the OLB position for the Irish. Anzalone has good speed and range to make tackles all over the field.
He can set the edge if on the line over a blocker, has good length to free himself up from blocks and doesn't shy away from OLs coming at him on the second level. Anzalone is quick at reading the run and pass, showing great instincts.
He will be a productive starter for Notre Dame and should be one of the top talents on the roster as an upperclassman.
1. Jaylon Smith, LB
Smith is a 6'3", 220-pound 'backer from Indiana who almost could be a free safety since his cover skills are so good. His athleticism, quickness and speed was on full display at The Opening in the seven-on-seven games.
With the ability to lock on in man coverage against RBs, TEs and even WRs, this is a future three-down player. I can see Smith being the lone 'backer in sub-packages or even latched onto a slot player on passing downs.
He can fly up to play the run with his speed and use his quickness to slip blocks and make plays. He's the best prospect and class headliner of the 2013 Notre Dame football recruiting class.
Edwin Weathersby has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (now ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.