The Top 10 2014 Recruits Notre Dame Is After
The Irish are back to the classic ways these days under Brian Kelly. They just made their first BCS title game appearance, are among the elite programs in the country and are back to recruiting at high standards.
Last year, Kelly signed a highly ranked class full of prospects with great talent and there's a great chance that the class will pay immediate dividends in South Bend this fall. Kelly has Notre Dame back operating like the well-oiled machine it once was in the past.
Not resting on a great 2012 season and 2013 recruiting class, Kelly and his staff are out to bring in more talent to the Irish roster for 2014. Notre Dame is after many highly touted prospects, and this piece will focus on the best 10 prospects the Golden Domers are after for 2014 recruiting.
10. Brandon Dawkins, QB
With Gunner Kiel leaving the program, don't be surprised to see the Irish bring in another top-flight QB prospect in 2014.
Brandon Dawkins is one of the top signal-callers out there this year. Think of him as a bigger version of Everett Golson, as Dawkins is 6'3" and weighs 190 pounds.
He's comes from the winning program of Oaks Christian, which is the same high school that Jimmy Clausen went to. He'd be a solid pickup for Kelly to continue grooming another QB in South Bend.
9. Trey Quinn, WR
Trey Quinn is from Louisiana, and boy did he have a great junior season. The 6'1", 200-pounder caught 111 balls for over 2,000 yards and 26 TDs.
That kind of size and production vs. solid Louisiana competition has caught the eye of Notre Dame, but also the eyes of many programs. The Irish have some work to do here for Quinn, as 247Sports shows that Clemson, LSU and Texas Tech are his top three, with Notre Dame on the outside looking in.
8. Damien Mama, OG
The Irish are looking to beef up their trench units, and Damien Mama would immediately do just that. He's already 6'5" and weighs between 340 and 350 pounds.
He projects as an interior mauling guard who rolls over DTs and battles as a pass protector. Landing Mama and others like him would have the Irish better prepared for an SEC team, should they face another one in the future in a BCS game.
7. Tyler Luatua, TE
Many expect Tyler Luatua to come to Alabama or USC with his final decision. Notre Dame seems to think otherwise, as they are a school to watch in the California TE's recruitment.
From Tyler Eifert to Kyle Rudolph in recent years, Notre Dame has had some great production from the TE position. Luatua and his 6'4", 230-pound frame would help continue that trend.
With his solid release quickness from the in-line position, large strike zone and versatility, Luatua would be a good fit in Brian Kelly's offense.
6. Khairi Clark, DT
One of the main reasons the Irish had a chance to play for the BCS title last season was because of their defensive line.
Bob Diaco's unit prides itself on landing big-bodied recruits who are tough, stout and strong at the point of attack. Well, if they want to land another prospect who fits that mold, then Khairi Clark truly fits the bill.
He's 6'2", weighs 325 pounds and is pretty explosive at the snap. Clark has great strength and shows good short-area range.
5. Elijah Hood, RB/ATH
Elijah Hood could be listed as an ATH this year, but RB is expected to be his position in college, and for good reason. He's a 6'0", 214-pounder from North Carolina who ran for 3,309 yards and 48 TDs as a junior.
Hood has good run strength, speed and solid instincts. Notre Dame leads, says 247Sports, but Michigan, Ohio State, North Carolina and Clemson could be serious threats.
4. Michiah Quick, WR
Michiah Quick could be this year's Davonte' Neal, as he's a 6'0", 170-pound WR who can also play DB. The California WR has great play speed, agility and can make a lot of big plays.
Schools like USC, Oklahoma, Alabama, Cal, UCLA and Oregon could be real competition for the Irish for his services. Brian Kelly is always looking to add more speed and playmaking ability to his roster, so Quick figures to be a player the Irish monitor closely.
3. Braden Smith, OL
One of the top OL prospects in this year's class, Braden Smith is a 6'6", 282-pounder who hails from Kansas. He would bring a lot of good qualities to the OL unit for Notre Dame, including toughness, strength and a mean streak.
If you want to play big boy football, then you're going to need an OL like Smith, and Kelly has installed some physicality to his spread offense in South Bend. Smith can play RT or kick inside to a take over a guard spot and be perfectly fine.
2. Jabrill Peppers, DB/ATH
Jabrill Peppers is one of the best all-around players in the country at 6'1", 205 pounds. He's from New Jersey, and although some like him as a CB, I think he's already too big for the position.
Peppers is likely to play safety, receiver or running back in college. He's very athletic and instinctive, as he thinks the game and his play smarts allow him to get a jump on plays.
Stanford and Ohio State may be tough to beat, but look for the Irish to try to get him on campus to sell him the program personally.
1. Sony Michel, RB
Sony Michel is from Florida, and I think he's a top-10 overall recruit and an exceptional back. Looking at his film, I'm very impressed with this guy, and whoever lands him is getting a recruit who should impact from jump.
He's 5'11", 205 pounds and has great speed, instincts, quick feet and change-of-direction skills. Michel shows great vision, runs very hard and has good strength at times during his carries.
I've also seen him line up in the slot and work on cover men to catch passes and be productive in the passing game. He's good, real good.
Notre Dame and Georgia are his leaders, says 247Sports.
Edwin Weathersby is the College Football Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. He has worked in scouting/player personnel departments for three professional football teams, including the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Gladiators of the Arena League. He spent a year evaluating prep prospects and writing specific recruiting and scouting content articles for Student Sports Football (formerly ESPN Rise-HS). A syndicated scout and writer, he's also contributed to WeAreSC.com, GatorBait.net and Diamonds in the Rough Inc., a College Football and NFL Draft magazine.