National Signing Day 2010: Notre Dame Reels in Matt James, Top Priority

Dan ScofieldAnalyst IFebruary 3, 2010

Coming into Wednesday, Brian Kelly had a few wishes from Irish fans.

Names like Seantrel Henderson, Christian Jones, and even J.R. Ferguson were being thrown around as possibilities to add to the 2010 recruiting class. Throw in Dietrich Riley, Jeremy Ioane, and Kona Schwenke, and the Irish faithful had plenty of announcements to look forward to.

However, Kelly had one job: secure the commitment of Matt James.

The offensive tackle out of St. Xavier High School (OH) was recruited not only by Kelly in South Bend, but also while at Cincinnati. In fact, Kelly's offer with the Bearcats was James' first.

Before the firing of Charlie Weis, the Irish were in the running for the 86th-ranked prospect in the 2010 class. When Kelly was brought into Notre Dame, the interest level grew even more.

Just last night, the 6'6", 285-pound tackle had a final three of the Irish, Ohio State, and Cincinnati.

“It was neck and neck between Ohio State and Notre Dame the whole time,” James told Irish Sports Daily this morning.

Going back in between the two Midwest schools, James made his choice to play for the Irish thanks to the comfortable feeling of the campus and the opportunity to start something new alongside Kelly and his coaching staff.

In addition to defensive tackle Louis Nix, James is hands down the biggest get for the Irish this year. With little depth at the tackle positions and Seantrel Henderson looking to be headed to the West Coast or to the Buckeyes, James was a must-get.

He will enter the fall with an opportunity to play early, and possibly, often. With the graduation of senior tackles Paul Duncan and Sam Young, the starting jobs are wide open.

Thanks to his high school spread offense, he comes into the program with a grasp already on the high-powered Kelly gameplan. Whether it is on the right or left edge of the offensive line, Irish fans are ecstatic over their new, and needed, addition.

For more on the National Signing Day announcements for the Irish and the rest of the nation :