Just when you thought things couldn't be going any better for Notre Dame after defeating Oklahoma to move to 8-0 and No. 3 in the BCS Standings, the future of the Fighting Irish secondary became a lot brighter on Thursday when 4-star cornerback Cole Luke of Chandler, Ariz. became Notre Dame’s 22nd commitment in the 2013 class.
Luke is the third cornerback in the class, but is by far the most talented of a group that includes Devin Butler (Washington, D.C.) and Rashad Kinlaw (Galloway, N.J.). He is rated the No. 221 player in the country and the No. 22 cornerback by Rivals.
The 6’0”, 165-pound senior took an official visit to Notre Dame for the Michigan game in September, but appeared to be favoring Arizona State, Oklahoma and Texas. Luke kept his recruitment fairly close to the vest, making this announcement somewhat less of a surprise than it may seem.
By adding Luke, Notre Dame’s class now ranks No. 2 in all of college football by Rivals, trailing only USC. 24/7 Sports, which is more bullish on Luke than Rivals, ranks the class No. 6, behind USC, Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State and Florida.
Luke fits what defensive coordinator Bob Diaco likes in cornerbacks with good size. He’ll need to add strength, but there’s plenty of time for that, especially with both of Notre Dame’s starting cornerbacks playing well and returning in 2013.
Adding Luke could mean Notre Dame, which still needs a pass rusher, sticks with only Jamel James at running back in this class. It was thought that this would end up as a two-running back class, especially after KeiVarae Russell moved to cornerback, but the emergence of Cam McDaniel as a future option and Amir Carlisle taking a redshirt year relieves some of the need at the position.
23 seems to be the magic number for commitments, and Ramsey, N.J. defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad is leaning towards Notre Dame. However, the status of current committed senior Alex Anzalone remains in flux as the Pennsylvania linebacker continues to consider Florida. Anzalone will enroll early at whichever school he ultimately chooses, so the Irish should still have time to fill the spot that could open up.
Like any major program, if a top target wants to commit (perhaps 4-star safety and current USC recruit Max Redfield), Notre Dame will make room for him and could end up signing 24 total.
While winning games isn't a requirement for many recruits, Luke’s commitment clearly was impacted by the team’s on-field success this season. While there aren't many spots left in this year’s class, the 2014 and 2015 classes are sure to be aided by the Irish returning to the national title picture.
For Notre Dame fans, the news just keeps getting better and better.