Notre Dame has one of the top recruiting classes in the country as we approach national signing day. The class includes numerous high-profile players and then a bunch of guys who have potential, but don't receive nearly the same amount of exposure as the rest of the group.
With recruits committing left and right, everybody always has their eye on the players with five or four stars next to their name. However, some of the most productive and accomplished players in the game are the ones who went unnoticed and weren't recognized as elite prospects.
Looking back on every class, every team ends up with a handful of the guys who surprise us all and make a bigger impact than anyone could have imagined.
Let's take a look at some of Notre Dame's 2013 recruits that may not be high on recruiting boards, but should affect the Irish in a huge way.
Now that the strength question is out of the way, when you watch some of this kid's highlights, you learn that Deeb has just about everything you look for at linebacker. He covers a lot of ground from sideline-to-sideline, he seems to have a nose for the football and he reacts well. He looks like a relentless and aggressive player who will do anything it takes to prevent the offense from picking up a first down.
His mentality is exactly what you want at the linebacker position. Deeb does a good job of flying to the football and his instincts jump off the film on each and every play.
Notre Dame has hit a few home runs recently at linebacker and should have another productive player in a year or two with Deeb.
Even with the secondary expected to improve heading into next season, the Irish could certainly use more depth in the defensive backfield. Adding cornerback Devin Butler may not help them next year, but he is sure to make an impact at some point down the line.
Watching Butler on film, it is clear that he doesn't let much get by him. With fluid flip of his hips and remarkable recovery speed, he has the potential to be a shutdown corner. I would like to see him grow into his small 6'1", 188-pound frame, but that's just about the only concern you can have with this young man.
Playing both sides of the ball in high school, Butler also developed great ball skills and could even transfer to the safety position once he bulks up a bit when he gets on campus. He is a smart player who reads the quarterback well and breaks nicely when the ball is in the air.
Truly the only thing Corey Robinson is known for at the moment is being the son of former NBA great David Robinson. With other talented wide receiver prospects such as Torii Hunter and James Onwualu committing to Notre Dame as well, Robinson has taken a backseat and is considered more of a project player.
It's true that he needs work and is still extremely raw at the position. He could use work in the route running department and needs to bulk up his lengthy 6'4", 205-pound frame. However, Robinson has the height and above-average ball skills to be a true red zone threat moving forward. And once he adds on a few more pounds, he'll be able to gain separation at the line consistently and develop into that big-play receiver.
Notre Dame will need to be patient with Robinson early on, but with his build and the upside he brings to the table, the Irish could have themselves one of the steals of the 2013 recruiting class.
When looking for players with value or who may be flying under the radar, I always try and find players who can play multiple positions. Picking up a guy who can play either offense or defense, if needed, gives a team options and makes that player much more valuable to the team.
This brings us to defensive end Jacob Matuska, who is considered a tight end who can also play defensive end. He will likely play the defensive side of the ball for the Irish and should be able to compete for playing time right away. Defensively he can line up inside or outside and he is more than capable of shedding blocks nicely and making a play on the ball-carrier.
As a tight end, he is athletic enough to get down field, displays solid hands and will only get bigger to improve his already 6'5", 240-pound frame.
With Notre Dame needing depth on the defensive line and the tight end position, Matuska is sure to find a niche somewhere.
Similar to Matuska, Rashad Kinlaw gives Notre Dame options. Playing the quarterback position in high school, he is likely going to switch to cornerback once he arrives on campus in the fall. After all, the Irish have more than enough quarterbacks on the roster, especially with Malik Zaire enrolling early.
Now, Kinlaw doesn't have experience playing the defensive side of the ball, so there is a steep learning curve blocking his progress. However, he does have good size at 6'0", 175 pounds, and he is truly as athletic as they come. Displaying great quickness and lateral agility, switching positions shouldn't be as difficult for Kinlaw as it would be for most guys. He has the tools to get the job done; it is really a matter of how much work he is willing to put in.
If defense doesn't work out, Kinlaw could become a wide receiver or running back for the Irish. His speed and ability to change directions makes him tough to tackle and he would be a force in the open field.
Like most of the guys on this list, it is going to take time for Kinlaw to develop, but the upside is there for him to become a surprise player.