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Notre Dame Football: What 2013 Recruiting Class Means for Fighting Irish

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Notre Dame Football: What 2013 Recruiting Class Means for Fighting Irish
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

After another successful year of recruiting, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish look poised to have one of the stingiest defenses for years to come.

Owning the third-ranked recruiting class in the nation (according to 247 Sports composite rankings), Notre Dame stacked up on defense in hopes of building off its No. 2 defense in terms of points per game allowed from 2012.

The Fighting Irish signed three 5-star recruits, all on the defensive side of the football.

Outside linebacker Jaylon Smith, defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes and safety Max Redfield highlight Notre Dame's 2013 recruiting class, as both defenders are some of the best in the nation.

USA TODAY Sports
In fact, according to 247 Sports, Vanderdoes and Smith are the best players in the nation at the DT and OLB spots. 

Smith is a 6'3", 218-pound linebacker who owns great ball skills and is effective rushing off the edge, and Vanderdoes is a 6'2", 310-pound defensive tackle who uses his size and speed to clog up the middle against the rush and get to the passer (h/t ESPN Insider).

In addition, the Fighting Irish also courted 4-star defenders like cornerback Cole Luke, defensive end Isaac Rochell, corner Devin Butler and linebacker Doug Randolph.

With a defensive-minded head coach like Brian Kelly, the Fighting Irish are poised to have one of the nation's top defenses yet again in 2014 and beyond.

Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Notre Dame is a football program built on defense, and it continued luring playmakers on the defensive side of the football to its historical program this offseason.

With a slew of upperclassmen leaving the Fighting Irish—there were 13 senior defenders in 2012—Notre Dame successfully did what it was supposed to do, and that was replenish its defensive depth chart. 

These recruits likely won't have the chance to make an impact until 2014, but when that time comes, you can expect the Irish to boast one of the staunchest defenses in college football, highlighted by Vanderdoes on the defensive line and Smith in the linebacking corps.

 

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