On a day where “S-E-C” chants started early and often, Notre Dame methodically put together a tremendous 2013 recruiting class with little buzz (relative to what we're accustomed to) on national signing day.
Given the past few months, I imagine the Irish are more than happy to lay low.
Ole Miss hogged the spotlight with a remarkable late coup of 5-star talents. The attention generated from Hugh Freeze went as far as the locker room of the Miami Heat, of all places—yes, really—and the Rebels were clearly the talk of the day:
How good a Signing Day is Ole Miss having? It's the talk of the Miami Heat locker room this morning. Seriously.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) February 6, 2013
And as the SEC continued to showcase its dominance beyond Ole Miss, Notre Dame went about its business without much of a peep. Typically “Notre Dame” and “quietly” rarely find themselves together in the same sentence, but national signing day was an exception.
Much of Notre Dame’s recruiting work was done early on in the process, and just about every one of its expected signees came through. In today’s age of recruiting, that’s a rarity.
Forget about the BCS-national-championship blowout and Brian Kelly’s brief flirtation with the NFL, the Irish closed strong. Yes, they lost linebacker Alex Anzalone to Florida during Kelly’s week of NFL unknown, but other than that, they kept a very solid class basically together throughout.
Linebacker Jaylon Smith, running back Greg Bryant and safety Max Redfield are by the far the most intriguing signees in the class. Each is highly regarded on pretty much every recruiting outlet, and all three hit at a position of need.
Smith closed as the No. 3 player overall at Rivals, while Bryant finished up at No. 19. Redfield finished as the No. 30-ranked player, and at his press conference on Wednesday, head coach Brian Kelly already noted that he could make an impact sooner than later:
#NotreDame HC Brian Kelly on 5-star S Max Redfield: "We think Max is an elite player...He's a young man that can come in and compete."— Brian Hamilton (@ChiTribHamilton) February 6, 2013
Other names of note include: offensive linemen Hunter Bivin, Steve Elmer, John Montelus, running back Tarean Folston, defensive end Isaac Rochell, defensive back Cole Luke and linebacker Doug Randolph. There are more players signed that could provide an impact early, and it really shows the depth of this class for Brian Kelly.
The entire list can be found here.
Although the class is close to complete, one monster name could push this impressive group to another echelon. Five-star California defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes will decide his destination on Wednesday night, and he could very well pick Notre Dame. Regardless, Brian Kelly will finish with a class right around the top five, and the Irish are also hitting areas of need.
Both lines, playmakers on offense and the defensive backfield were clearly areas of need—and really, who couldn’t use help in these areas?—and Kelly delivered. Although the Irish can enjoy the superb class and unexpected quiet for the time being, don’t expect them to stay quiet for long.
Spring football will be here before you know it, and expectations will be high. Just like always.