Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame National Signing Day: 4 Takeaways from Irish's Class

Dec 17, 2012; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head football coach Brian Kelly addresses the media at the Notre Dame BCS national championship media day at the Guglielmino Athletics Complex. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports
Connor KillorenSenior Analyst IFebruary 4, 2014

Notre Dame is on the verge of finalizing its second consecutive top-10 recruiting class.

Should each of the Irish's 20 remaining commits—wide receiver Justin Brent and defensive end Andrew Trumbetti have already enrolled for the spring semester—sign their respective national letters of intent with Notre Dame, head coach Brian Kelly and his staff will have added another layer to a program primed to consistently place itself in the thick of the national championship race.

Not only that, but Kelly has silenced any and all doubters of his recruiting abilities through the consistent acquisition of elite talent throughout the country on an annual basis.

The program's 2014 crop has only maintained that tradition, as 247sports.com ranks the Irish's class eighth nationally behind Alabama, Ohio State, LSU, Texas A&M, Florida State, Tennessee and Auburn.

What exactly makes the class such a distinguished group? 

 

Another Mammoth Group of Offensive Linemen

After signing elite offensive linemen Hunter Bivin, Steve Elmer, John Montelus, Mike McGlinchey and Colin McGovern in its 2013 class, Notre Dame has pulled off a similar feat with its 2014 class.

Quenton Nelson will be a dominant force at Notre Dame.
Quenton Nelson will be a dominant force at Notre Dame.Credit: 247sports.com

The Irish have made it clear that one of their top goals is to control the line of scrimmage, as they currently have commitments from four of the nation's top offensive linemeneach of the 4-star variety—in Quenton Nelson, Alex Bars, Sam Mustipher and Jimmy Byrne.

Fans likely won't get a good look at the quartet during the 2014 season, as it's not a reach to assume each would redshirt as freshmen.

Regardless, Notre Dame has continued to accumulate quality depth along the offensive line. Knowing that games are won in the trenches, this is an overwhelming positive for the Irish.

 

Maintaining the Tradition of 'Tight End U'

Since 2005, Notre Dame has consistently churned out NFL-caliber tight ends. 

Former Irish tight ends Anthony Fasano, John Carlson, Kyle Rudolph and Tyler Eifert are currently playing in the professional ranks, with Troy Niklas set to join them after he decided to forgo his senior season to enter this spring's NFL draft.

Could Tyler Luatua be the next NFL-bound TE from Notre Dame?
Could Tyler Luatua be the next NFL-bound TE from Notre Dame?Credit: 247sports.com

While losing an early entry such as Niklas would be crippling to most programs, such is not the case for Notre Dame, which will welcome two tight ends of the 4-star variety tomorrow in Tyler Luatua and Nic Weishar.

The addition of those coveted prospects is a testament to Notre Dame's ability to develop tight ends and consistently send them to the NFL.

Luatua and Weishar will begin their respective quests to the NFL this fall, though they'll be joining Ben Koyack, Durham Smythe and Mike Heuerman on the depth chart.

 

A Continued Concentration on the Front 7

While Notre Dame doesn't have a commitment of Stephon Tuitt or Louis Nix's caliber in this class, the sheer number of future contributors along the front seven is astounding. 

Nyles Morgan could be making plays like this for the Irish next season.
Nyles Morgan could be making plays like this for the Irish next season.Eric Gay/Associated Press

As it stands, the Irish have commitments from inside linebackers Nyles Morgan and Greer Martini, defensive tackles Jay Hayes and Pete Mokwuah, defensive ends Grant Blankenship, Jonathan Bonner and Andrew Trumbetti, and outside linebackers Jhonathon Williams, Kolin Hill and Nile Sykes.

That group comprises 10 of the Irish's 22 total commitments in the 2014 class, which is a direct representation of the program's focus on developing depth along the front seven.

Sure, aside from Morgan, there aren't any instant-impact players, but the program's ability to develop talent will be put to the test yet again.

 

Notre Dame Identified Kyle Brindza's Eventual Successor

When discussing recruiting, specialists aren't often discussed, but it's worthy of a mention here.

With Brindza entering his senior season, the do-it-all specialist will be tasked with mentoring Tyler Newsome, the Irish's lone specialist in the 2014 class.

Newsome, a Carrollton, Ga., product, holds just one other offer (Air Force) and a preferred walk-on spot at Georgia. However, Newsome never considered other schools after he committed to Notre Dame in June, as he told Steve Hare of IrishIllustrated.com (subscription required).

Honestly, I stopped worrying about the recruiting process after I committed. I didn't look anywhere else or try to seek attention from other places. After I committed, I just sat back and enjoyed my senior year of football and had a great time with that.

 

Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting information courtesy of 247sports.com.

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