The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have received one of the biggest verbal commitments of 2013 in 5-star running back Greg Bryant, and he's a player that can have an impact for Brian Kelly's squad right away.
Bryant is ranked as the No. 2 running back in the recruiting class of 2013 by Rivals.com.
Jake Brown of IrishIllustrated.com put perspective on the recruitment of Bryant:
Five-star running back Greg Bryant has given a verbal commitment to the Irish, capping a recruitment that seemed to have little life between the two parties a month ago. Bryant also considered Auburn, Florida State, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Bryant's father confirmed the news to Rivals.com via text message.
The importance of this commitment for Notre Dame can't be overstated. Bryant is one of the bigger names in the class of 2013, so landing him is going to create a ton of hype and momentum for the Fighting Irish in recruiting. With the addition of Bryant, Kelly's 2013 class now features two 5-star recruits—the other being 5-star outside linebacker Jaylon Smith—and 22 verbal commitments.
For as big of a star as Smith projects to be on the defensive side of the ball, Bryant can be that on offense for Notre Dame.
He's a downhill runner that hits the hole hard and possesses breakaway speed (4.48 40, according to 247Sports.com). He has quick feet, high-level athleticism and he may possess the best vision out of any back in the class of 2013.
Bryant's also incredibly hard to take down. At 5'11" and 197 pounds, he's very compact, and he'll only get stronger with training at the college level. The Irish can send him between the tackles to fight for a few yards, or off the edge where he can out-run opponents.
Mike Farrell of Rivals.com gives his thoughts on the commitment via his Twitter account:
Greg Bryant commitment to #NotreDame a home run for the Irish. Great player, great character. Theo Riddick but much more upside— Mike Farrell (@rivalsmike) December 9, 2012
Considering the role Riddick has played for Notre Dame this season, Fighting Irish fans have to be feeling good about that favorable comparison.
Speaking of roles, Bryant projects to play a big one in 2013. Notre Dame fans won't have to wait long to see this 5-star running back contribute for their team.
Both of Notre Dame's leading rushers this season—Riddick and Cierre Wood—are seniors (Wood is a redshirt junior), so there's going to be room opening up on the depth chart very soon, especially if both go to the NFL. George Atkinson III is a sophomore, and judging from his production this season (361 yards and five touchdowns), he'll be a candidate to take a lot of those carries in the future, but I wouldn't count Bryant out of the equation.
In time, he has what it takes to be a featured back for Notre Dame. In 2013, he can be a more than adequate backup for whomever is the starter—much like what T.J. Yeldon has done for Eddie Lacy at Alabama this season.
Since Bryant is also good out of the backfield, he could be very useful in third-down situations as well. Frankly, he'll be effective in just about every situation for Kelly and his staff, so it's just a matter of how, not when.
This is a gigantic recruiting win for Notre Dame, and there's no doubting that Bryant will have a big impact right away for the Fighting Irish.