The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are in the process of retooling for next season after suffering a gut-wrenching end to what was a memorable 2012 season.
After running the table during the regular season, finishing 12-0 for the first time since 1988, the Fighting Irish fell flat on their faces against the Alabama Crimson Tide, getting blown out in the BCS National Championship Game.
With 2012 a distant memory, though, and 2013's national signing day (Feb. 6) on the horizon, here we'll showcase a pair of Notre Dame's top remaining recruiting targets.
Eddie Vanderdoes, Defensive Tackle
The Irish would love to land top-notch defensive tackle recruit Eddie Vanderdoes this winter. The 6'2", 310-pound stopper is a 5-star prospect, according to 247Sports.com, and has very few weaknesses.
In addition to boasting exceptional strength, Vanderdoes possesses a quick burst off the ball and a great pair of hands to get separation from opposing blockers. The top prospect in the state of California and the best defensive tackle in the nation (according to 247Sports.com), Vanderdoes will have his fair share of choices this February.
Along with Notre Dame, Alabama, USC and Washington are in the mix for the big fella, who starred at Placer High in Auburn, California.
Vanderdoes made the trip to South Bend last month and tweeted while he was there:
With defensive standouts like Manti Te'o, Dan Fox and Kapron Lewis-Moore all moving on from college football, bringing on Vanderdoes has added significance. He can make an impact right away for Notre Dame and would only improve year after year with time spent in the weight room.
Kylie Fitts, Defensive End
Notre Dame is paying plenty of attention to the defensive side of the ball this offseason, and defensive end prospect Kylie Fitts is definitely on its radar.
Fitts is a 4-star recruit, and one of the Top 10 coming out of California this year, according to 247Sports.com.
At 6'4", 240 pounds, he is an athletic pass-rusher, one with excellent size and speed for the next level. What separates Fitts from the average defensive end is his motor, though. Most scouts love him as a pass-rusher in college and are quick to point out his high effort level.
Fitts recently made the trip to South Bend for a visit and enjoyed himself according to this tweet:
Kylie Fitts @K_Fitts11
Had a the best experience in ND!!! Now headed back to cali!! Cant wait to be back in nice weather!!! http://t.co/fnYzTfle2013-1-27 17:33:10
Landing Fitts would be a tremendous achievement for the Irish, who are set to bring in a sensational 2013 class either way, as the program has already secured a couple of 5-star prospects and a plethora of 4-star commits.
There's no denying that the Brian Kelly era is off to an impressive first few years. The Notre Dame head man has begun to change the culture in South Bend, molding a consistent winner on the strength of stellar defense.
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