Notre Dame Football Recruiting: Analyzing the Top Players in Irish 2014 Class

Alex Espinoza@AlexEspinozaIVCorrespondent IIIFebruary 5, 2014

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly runs onto the field with his team  prior to a in a NCAA college football game with Michigan State Saturday Sept. 21, 2013 in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)
JOE RAYMOND/Associated Press

When it comes to college football, not many programs can match the luster and tradition of Notre Dame. On Wednesday, Feb. 5, the football staff was likely glued to the fax machine as it watched the results of years of recruiting come to fruition with signed letters of intent on national signing day.

And they were all lured to Notre Dame by pots of goldIn order to entice their recruits, the school sent each prospect a golden package that highlighted the school's 477 NFL draft picks. 

As of early Wednesday afternoon, 23 recruits made their commitments official and helped give the Fighting Irish the 10th-best class in the nation, per 247Sports' composite team rankings. In fact, receiver Justin Brent and defensive end Andrew Trumbetti, both 4-star recruits, have already enrolled on campus in South Bend. 

Coach Brian Kelly's squad went 9-4 in 2013 and finished with a win in the Pinstripe Bowl, a year after losing the BCS National Championship. Despite the disappointing season by Notre Dame's standards, this well-rounded class should have the fanbase feeling good about 2014 and the years to come.

Here's the full list of 2014 signees followed by a look at the top three recruits of the class.

2014 Notre Dame Football Recruiting Class
Nyles MorganILB6'1"22597.27Crete, Ill.
Quenton NelsonOT6'5"29596.78Red Bank, N.J.
Justin BrentWR6'3"19095.37Indianapolis, Ind.
Alex BarsOT6'6"30994.71Nashville, Tenn.
Andrew TrumbettiDE6'5"25093.47Demarest, N.J.
Nick WatkinsCB6'1"18592.37Dallas
Corey HolmesWR6'2"17592.33Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Sam MustipherOG6'3"28591.23Olney, Md.
De Shone KizerQB6'5"20790.73Toledo, Ohio
Jay HayesDT6'5"26090.60Brooklyn, N.Y.
Nic WeisharTE6'5"23390.37Chicago
Grant BlankenshipDE6'6"25289.82The Colony, Texas
Drue TranquillS6'2"21089.61Fort Wayne, Ind.
Tyler LuatuaTE6'4"23089.46La Mirada, Ca.
Jimmy ByrneOG6'4"29089.27Cleveland
Daniel CageDT6'3"29589.24Cincinnati
Greer MartiniILB6'3"23288.33Woodbery Forest, Va.
Nile SykesOLB6'2"22387.22Lombard, Ill.
Jonathan BonnerDE6'4"25086.00Chesterfield, Mo.
Kolin HillDE6'2"22085.75Schertz, Texas
Jhonathon WilliamsDE6'6"23784.01Berrien Springs, Mich.
Pete MokwuahDT6'5"30583.77Staten Island, N.Y.
Tyler NewsomeP6'3"19080.57Carrollton, Ga.


LB Nyles Morgan

It looks like the #PotOfGold worked like a charm for Nyles Morgan, who currently stands as Notre Dame's top signed recruit.

Funny to think fax machines still play such a crucial role in the signing process, but Morgan was able to get past some 1990s technology hiccups to make his commitment official.

Morgan, a 6'1", 225-pound inside 'backer from Crete, Ill., currently stands as the highest-rated player in Notre Dame's class for 2014. 247Sports' composite rankings list Morgan as the No. 53 overall recruit, the No. 3 player at his position in the country and the No. 2 recruit out of Illinois.

As Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune noted, Morgan has also requested former Notre Dame star linebacker Manti Teo's' jersey No. 5 after wearing it throughout his high school career.

While Doug Randolph has been cleared for full contact in the spring, per Chris Hine of the Chicago Tribune, a serious leg injury to Jarrett Grace may open the door for Morgan to get some playing time.


OT Quenton Nelson

This year's class features a few offensive line reinforcements for a group that will be without the services of decorated graduate Zack Martin for the first time in four years.

Quenton Nelson has already made quite the impression during the recruiting process, as evidenced by his hilarious intro on the video above. Early Wednesday morning, he announced his signing in true Notre Dame fashion, as Nicholas Parco of The Star Ledger reported.

In Nelson, Kelly has a 6'5", 295-pound athlete who should be in the mix for playing time as a true freshman. The coach is clearly high on his big recruit, as relayed by Angelo Di Carlo of WNDU.

Nelson, the nation's fifth-ranked offensive tackle in the 2014 class and No. 62 recruit overall per 247Sports' composite rankings, and fellow tackle recruit Alex Bars (6'6", 309 pounds) give the team a couple of big bodies from Day 1 with plenty of room to grow.


WR Justin Brent

Brent has been enrolled in school since January, but on Wednesday Kelly offered some strong comments that perhaps signal the freshman will be able to contribute in the fall.

But it's only February and Brent hasn't even suited up for spring ball yet. As Kelly told reporters during Wednesday's press conference, these recruits are just getting started.

The 6'3", 190-pound Brent was an early commitment during his high school career and proved to be an explosive playmaker wherever he was lined up. According to Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press, Brent was moved to running back his senior year, where he racked up 1,315 yards and 18 TDs on 142 carries while hauling in 28 catches for 391 yards and five more scores.



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