Notre Dame Football Recruiting: Top 10 Targets Irish Must Land

Edwin WeathersbyAnalyst ISeptember 27, 2013

Notre Dame Football Recruiting: Top 10 Targets Irish Must Land

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    Notre Dame is putting together another great recruiting class under head coach Brian Kelly.

    The class of 2014 has 16 commitments with 13 states represented, and many of those recruits play near the trenches.

    However, the Irish are not resting. They still have many remaining recruiting targets left who they want to hit. Notre Dame recruits nationally, so just about every one of the top players left on its board are from different regions of the country.

    A quartet of prospects from Los Angeles are on the radar, a defensive tackle from New York has caught Kelly's eye and a pair of prospects from Texas could be lured to South Bend, Ind.

    Following is a look at the top 10 remaining recruits that Notre Dame is looking to land.

    Player evaluations are based on review of tape at Scout.comRivals247Sports and ESPNU.

Nick Watkins, CB

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    Offenses are not going to fool 4-star cornerback Nick Watkins often. He's a defensive player who has disciplined eyes, great awareness and natural instincts.

    Watkins can sit on the perimeter, recognize routes and use his great quickness in transition to make plays. The 6'1", 180-pound Texan has great size and solid speed to carry receivers through the third level of the field. He can also play man and zone coverage with equal success.

    Texas and Oklahoma are Notre Dame's top competition for Watkins, according to 247Sports

Nathan Starks, RB

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    A 4-star running back, Nathan Starks has a downhill style to his game. He's at his best when he can align deep in formation and come through holes with force in a straight line.

    Originally from Las Vegas, the 5'11", 200-pound Starks has good speed to rumble upfield for big gains. He has average elusiveness, but shows enough toughness and strength to break tackles. Starks also could become a solid strong safety in college.

    Notre Dame, USC and Oklahoma are among his top schools, per 247Sports

Michiah Quick, WR/ATH

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    Ranking among the most exciting players in the country, 4-star athlete Michiah Quick could be a great spark to the offense in South Bend. He can play receiver, running back and quarterback in Wildcat formations.

    A native of central California, Quick is 6'0", 170 pounds and has outstanding speed. He's the type of player who is better with the ball in his hands with space. Quick has great elusiveness, natural running instincts and always looks to make big plays.

    UCLA could be the biggest threat to the Irish for his services.

Solomon Thomas, DE

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    Solomon Thomas is listed as a defensive end here because that's where the 4-star recruit would line up in Notre Dame's base 3-4 defense. However, in a four-man front, he would likely kick inside to defensive tackle.

    The Texas native, who is 6'3" and weighs 256 pounds, has improved his quickness at the snap and plays with great strength. Thomas can punch a blocker, anchor down and read a play. He has the ability to set the edge with adequate pass-rush skills and will likely weigh over 275 pounds before he leaves college.

    Thomas is a tough player to get a read on, but the Irish are in the mix for him, noted 247Sports.

Tyler Luatua, TE

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    At 6'4" and 230 pounds, Tyler Luatua is a tight end who would be the next great player at that position for the Irish. Kyle Rudolph and Tyler Eifert are recent tight ends who had success in South Bend, and Luatua could do the same.

    The southern California native has good quickness at the snap, natural pass-catching skills and displays good speed for his size. He can be used as a receiver in the red zone, showing a knack for catching in crowds.

    Luatua, a 4-star prospect, also is a willing blocker on running plays. Alabama is Notre Dame's stiffest competition for him, per 247Sports

Thomas Holley, DT

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    Thomas Holley is one of the most raw prospects in the country, but he also has among the highest ceilings, too. Holley would have a chance to become a great defensive end/tackle in Notre Dame's defense.

    A native of Fresh Meadow, N.Y., who attends Abraham Lincoln High School nearly two hours away in Brooklyn, the 6'4", 285-pounder shows explosive quickness and power at the snap. He plays big at the point of attack, can "out-athlete" blockers and has the short-area burst needed to pursue the football.

    Notre Dame, Penn State and Ohio State are the 4-star recruit's top schools, via 247Sports

Adoree' Jackson, ATH

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    At this point, it may be doubtful that Notre Dame lands 5-star athlete/cornerback Adoree' Jackson, but he's still a target, according to 247Sports.

    Jackson plays in Los Angeles, but is originally from Illinois, so he is familiar with the Midwest. At 5'9.5" and 182 pounds, he's a world-class athlete with rare speed, agility and quickness. Jackson also has wiry strength, displays great instincts and is dangerous with the football.

    He needs to clean some technique issues in his game on both sides of the ball, but there's no question he would instantly upgrade the athleticism and speed of the roster for the Irish.

Matt Elam, DT

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    At 6'6" and 350 pounds, Matt Elam is a 4-star defensive lineman with mammoth size. He is a physically imposing and intimidating player who doesn't just let his size do his talking.

    Elam, who is from Kentucky, has adequate quickness at the snap and plays to his size at the point of attack. He can use his mitts as weapons, stack a block and violently walk an offensive lineman into the lap of the quarterback.

    Elam could be an ideal replacement for current Irish nose tackle Louis Nix III. However, Notre Dame will need to beat out Alabama and Kentucky, says 247Sports.

Damien Mama, OG

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    Damien Mama is the kind of offensive lineman who would help Notre Dame control the line of scrimmage versus SEC teams. He is 6'4", 370 pounds and has impressive bulk.

    The southern California native displays good quickness at the snap, surprisingly nimble feet, balance and solid agility. However, the foundation of Mama's game is strength and power. He's a mauler in the running game, loves to finish blocks and is great in short areas when protecting the passer.

    He will visit South bend on Oct. 18, according to

John Smith, ATH

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    A 5-star athlete, John Smith could play receiver or safety in college. He has excellent athleticism, explosiveness and plays with great awareness.

    Smith, who is 6'1" and 200 pounds, also has deceptive strength. He has good hands at the receiver position, can exploit defenses with his speed and has a great work ethic. Smith's loose hips, quick feet and great range allow him to patrol the deep middle of the field where he picks off passes with his great ball skills.

    Notre Dame is in the mix for him, along with Alabama, USC, Michigan, Oregon and Ohio State, reports 247Sports

2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map

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    Use the 2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map to locate Notre Dame's top recruiting targets!

    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 and Cleveland Browns.