Greg Bryant to Notre Dame: 5-Star RB Gives Brian Kelly Dynamic Toy to Work with

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2012


Notre Dame will lose running backs Cierre Wood and Theo Riddick after this season, but the cupboard will not be bare for Brian Kelly and his offense.

Not only will George Atkinson III be back in the backfield, but Notre Dame received huge news on Sunday when 5-star recruit Greg Bryant committed to the Fighting Irish, according to ESPN's Corey Long:

Greg Bryant (Delray Beach, Fla./American Heritage), the No. 2 running back in the ESPN 150, committed to Notre Dame at the end of his official visit on campus Sunday, according to his father, Greg Bryant Sr.

The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Bryant chose the Irish over Oklahoma, Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina. He becomes the 22nd verbal commitment in Notre Dame's recruiting class of 2013 and the eighth member of the ESPN 150.

It's not hard to tell how touted this kid is. Just look at the other schools that have pursued him, and you can see that he's very highly thought of in the college football world.

Adding him is a big deal for Kelly because it will allow his spread offense to take another step forward. Atkinson is a solid runner, but Bryant's shiftiness in the open field will play very well in Kelly's scheme and he will make Everett Golson's continued development much easier.

According to Long's report, "The 27th-rated prospect in the nation rushed for nearly 1,500 yards and 17 touchdowns this season and over 3,500 yards and 42 touchdowns in the past two seasons."

Watch this video, and it will immediately become obvious as to why he was able to put up those kind of numbers:

Losing Wood and Riddick is still going to hurt. The two ball-carriers combined for 1,620 yards this season, and while that production can't simply be replaced, Bryant will make the transition much easier.

As much as Golson has improved this season, his ability still hinges on having a capable backfield next to him. Bryant has the ability to play from Week 1 on, and I wouldn't be surprised if Kelly gave him every opportunity to do so.

It will be important for Notre Dame's offense to play well next season since it can't be guaranteed that the defense will achieve the same level of success.  

With Kelly's inventive mind, the Irish will have the potential to score, and getting someone like Bryant only adds to that notion. Kelly understands how to utilize players like this. His use of Riddick this season was a prime example of using a weapon in multiple roles to hurt opposing defenses.

Bryant will still have a learning curve, but he solidifies the future. He could make an immediate impact and provide a solid framework next to Notre Dame's assortment of young quarterbacks.

The Fighting Irish already had a great recruiting class entering Sunday, and this only adds to it.