Notre Dame Football Recruiting: 10 Best Irish Recruits from BCS Era
The BCS era started in January of 1999, and Notre Dame has recruited well since. The Irish have signed several elite classes, which featured many top recruits.
Although there have been several coaching changes in South Bend, Notre Dame still remains a brand that recruits are attracted to. The Golden Domers signed a hyped quarterback in 2007, while an excellent linebacker from Hawaii came to the program in 2009.
Also, a recruit from the 2013 class is on this list.
All stats are from Sports-Reference.com.
Jaylon Smith, LB
Although he is still young in his Notre Dame career, Jaylon Smith deserves to be on this list. He was a 5-star prospect at linebacker in the 2013 class, and he has already made an impact in South Bend.
He made 67 tackles last season, while also intercepting a pass. As a recruit, Smith used his speed, agility, range and fantastic athletic ability to do a little bit of everything on the second level. He is capable of rushing the passer, as well as covering slot receivers.
Manti Te'o, LB
The Irish signed Manti Te'o in 2009, as they lured him all the way from Hawaii. Te'o was dominant at Punahou School, where he intimidated offensive players with his size, strength and short-area explosiveness.
He won several prestigious awards in 2012 and finished his career with 437 tackles, 8.5 sacks and seven interceptions. Today, Te'o plays for the San Diego Chargers.
Michael Floyd, WR
From powerhouse Cretin-Derham Hall in Minnesota, Michael Floyd was a big coup for Notre Dame in 2008. He was a 6'3", 195-pound receiver with good speed, body control and strength.
The 5-star pass-catcher is one of the best receiver prospects to ever sign with the Irish. Before becoming a first-round pick in 2012 by the Arizona Cardinals, Floyd caught 271 passes for 3,686 yards and 37 touchdowns at Notre Dame.
He's a perfect example of an elite recruit becoming an elite player.
Kyle Rudolph, TE
Another player in the 2008 class Notre Dame was excited to sign was tight end Kyle Rudolph. A 5-star prospect from Cincinnati, it can be argued Rudolph is the best tight end in school history.
Coming out as a recruit, he was a 6'6", 229-pounder who had the ball skills of a receiver. Rudolph also had the needed toughness and strength to be effective as a blocker.
He is a key offensive player for the Minnesota Vikings today.
Jimmy Clausen, QB
Without a doubt, Jimmy Clausen will go down as one of the most hyped recruits in history. In fact, there was so much hype around Clausen in 2007, that it was impossible for him to live up to it.
However, he didn't do too bad of a job trying. The California native had great mechanics for a prep quarterback, plus his arm strength, accuracy, vision and poise were also impressive.
He went on to throw for 8,110 yards and 60 touchdowns at Notre Dame. The Carolina Panthers selected him in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft, and Clausen is currently with the Chicago Bears.
Harrison Smith, S
A 4-star recruit in 2007, Harrison Smith proved to be a good one for the Irish. Coming out as a recruit, there was a chance Smith would grow into a linebacker, since he was already 6'2" and 201 pounds.
However, his intelligence, underrated athleticism and instincts helped him stay on top of his assignments in the secondary. Smith went on to make 307 tackles, intercept seven passes and defend another 35.
The Minnesota Vikings drafted him in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft.
Sam Young, OT
When talking about the best recruits Notre Dame has signed in recent history, Sam Young must be in the conversation.
He was a 5-star offensive lineman in 2006 who was 6'8" and 305 pounds. The Irish convinced Young to leave Florida for South Bend, as his size, strength and effective style of play made him a coveted prospect.
Many schools were disappointed when Young chose to commit to Notre Dame.
Young said the following to Mike Farrell of Rivals.com (subscription required) in January of 2006:
"Academics were a huge factor in my decision as Notre Dame's graduation rate is excellent."
Victor Abiamiri, DE
Hailing from Baltimore, Victor Abiamiri was one of the nation's best recruits in 2003. At 6'3" and 245 pounds, he combined solid size with strength, speed and explosiveness to dominate on the edges.
Abiamiri could play outside linebacker in 3-4, as well as defensive end in a 4-3. He developed into a solid player in South Bend, and the Philadelphia Eagles selected him in the second round of the 2007 NFL draft.
Brady Quinn, QB
Another talented recruit who signed with the Irish in 2003 was quarterback Brady Quinn. The Ohio native was a passing prospect who graded out above-average in many critical categories at his position.
A 4-star prospect, Quinn went on to finish third in the 2006 Heisman Trophy voting, the same year he won the Maxwell Award. He finished his career at Notre Dame with 11,762 yards and 95 touchdowns.
Quinn was drafted in the first round by the Cleveland Browns in 2007.
Derek Landri, DL/OL
Going all the way back to 2002, a player who deserves to be on this list is Derek Landri. From national powerhouse De La Salle in California, Landri is one of the most complete linemen ever seen on the recruiting trail.
He was 6'3" and 280 pounds coming out of high school, and the Golden State native could ball as an offensive and defensive lineman. Landri had good quickness, strength, intelligence and toughness in the trenches. He was simply a true football player in high school.
Landri starred as a defensive tackle for the Irish, which helped him become a fifth-round pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2007.
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