Notre Dame Football: Summer Grades for 2015 Recruiting Class
In each of the past two recruiting cycles, Notre Dame has landed a top-10 class. The Irish ranked 10th last year and fifth two classes ago.
As it stands right now, Notre Dame has eight commitments and its class is slotted 17th in the nation. With recruiting heating up, let’s take a moment to grade the class of 2015 at each position.
The grades will primarily be determined by the eight commitments. It’s too difficult to speculate specifically where Notre Dame stands with certain targets and then evaluate those positions, so we won’t factor uncommitted players into each letter grade.
Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting stats and information courtesy of 247Sports.com. Star ratings reflect 247Sports Composite Rankings.
Commitment: Blake Barnett
Barnett has been committed to Notre Dame since late November, and his stock has only seemed to rise since then. The 6’3.5”, 195-pound 4-star recruit is ranked as the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback in the nation. Barnett was the first quarterback chosen for the Elite 11 finals.
Most recently, Barnett participated in the Oakland Nike Football Training Camp over the weekend. As our own Trenise Ferreira writes, Barnett was one of the top performers in Oakland, California, earning quarterback MVP honors.
The Irish found their quarterback early in the process and earn an "A" with one of the top-rated signal-callers in the country.
We recently tabbed running back as one of Notre Dame’s biggest position needs for the class of 2015, but, so far, the Irish haven’t inked anyone.
Notre Dame’s top targets at running back, per 247Sports, are Damien Harris, Jacques Patrick, Soso Jamabo and Nick Brossette. Those four backs all rank in the top 10 in the nation at the position, and the Irish would figure to be thrilled to land any one of them.
Blue and Gold Illustrated’s Tom Loy reported Tuesday that Jamabo will visit Notre Dame soon.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Guyton committed to Notre Dame at the end of March and Sanders pledged at the beginning of May, giving the Irish a pair of wide receivers to get their crop of pass-catchers started.
Though both players are 3-star recruits, the Irish still earn a "B" here. Notre Dame clearly identified both Guyton and Sanders as players it was high on and garnered commitments before the summer. After bringing in two wide receivers (Justin Brent and Corey Holmes) in the class of 2014, the Irish did well to load up early this time around.
Wide receivers like Alex Ofodile, Equanimeous St. Brown, Cordell Broadus, Miles Boykin and Ryan Newsome and tight end Chris Clark are still out there, so Notre Dame’s grade could improve.
Clark, the No. 4 tight end in the nation, is scheduled to visit Notre Dame in June and is set to announce his decision at The Opening in July.
Excited to say I will be announcing my commitment at the Opening #TheOpening— Chris Clark (@Clark8Chris) May 5, 2014
Irish offensive line coach Harry Hiestand and the rest of the Notre Dame staff continue to churn out strong offensive line classes.
After signing four linemen in the class of 2014 and five in the class of 2013, Notre Dame has already landed commitments from Hoge, Ruhland and Tillery. In fact, Tillery committed in June and Hoge pledged in early December, and Notre Dame earns an "A-" here due in large part to their high rankings. Hoge is the No. 93 player in the country and the top center, and Tillery checks in at No. 115 overall—the 11th-best tackle.
While Ruhland is only a 3-star recruit at guard, Notre Dame’s recent large hauls of offensive linemen and the early verbals from Hoge and Tillery would seemingly put the Irish in a position to go after linemen they really like. Ruhland committed in April.
We recently pegged defensive line as the third-biggest position need for Notre Dame in the class of 2015.
So far, no defensive linemen have committed. Some of the big-name targets include defensive ends Keisean Lucier-South, the No. 18 overall player, and Jashon Cornell (No. 36). If Notre Dame could get commitments from either of those two, the grade for the defensive line would surge regardless of how the rest of the class shakes out.
We had inside linebacker as Notre Dame’s biggest position need in this recruiting cycle, but there has been no major action just yet.
At outside linebacker, Justin Hilliard figures to be at or near the top of Notre Dame’s board. The 5-star recruit is ranked 21st overall in the class of 2015 and visited South Bend twice during the spring.
McKinney and Fertitta, both safeties, committed within 10 days of one another at the end of March and beginning of April, respectively.
After not nabbing a safety in the class of 2014, it was important for the Irish to solidify the depth at the position in this cycle. The Irish did just that with the 3-star prospects. McKinney—the No. 30 safety—is the higher rated of the two (Fertitta is the 65th-best safety) and stands a stout 6’2”, 180 pounds.
Notre Dame hasn’t inked a cornerback yet, and that figures to be an emphasis for the Irish, who only added one—Nick Watkins—in their class of 2014.
Mike Monaco is a lead Notre Dame writer for Bleacher Report. Follow @MikeMonaco_ on Twitter.