Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 26, 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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8 NOV. 26, 2018 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED UNDER THE DOME Kyren Williams Will Outplay His Three-Star Rating By David McKinney St. Louis St. John Vianney running back Kyren Williams is rated by Rivals as a three-star recruit, but he hasn't played like one in 2018. Playing running back, quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back, he has scored 30 touchdowns this season while leading St. John Vianney to a 9-3 record heading into the third weekend of November. The 5-9, 195-pounder lacks the ideal size for an every-down back, but he makes up for it with his versatility, speed and agility. Blue & Gold Illustrated saw Williams play in person earlier this season, and the Missouri talent put on a show. In a 17-14 win over St. Louis De Smet Jesuit, Wil- liams racked up 196 total yards and two touch- downs. He scored on 42 and one-yard runs, and con- nected on a 47-yard pass to set up a game-winning field goal. With Williams as the catalyst, St. John Vianney's offense has eclipsed the 50-point mark on four separate occasions this season. In St. John's Vianney's first game in the Missouri Class 5A playoffs, he exploded for four touchdowns in a 55-14 win. Again, Williams isn't a bruiser out of the backfield, but he's electric in space and a chore to take down, even with multiple defenders. I believe Rivals' No. 11 prospect in Missouri and No. 34 athlete nationally will far outplay his ranking during his career in South Bend. Offensive Lineman Andrew Kristofic Has High Upside By Corey Bodden In an offensive line class filled with four-star prospects, Gibsonia (Pa.) Pine-Richland offensive tackle Andrew Kristofic sits as a three-star recruit and doesn't receive a ton of publicity because of it. However, the 6-6, 260-pounder could have the most upside of the cur- rent offensive line commits. The knock on Kristofic right now is his weight. But once his frame fills out and more strength comes along with it, watch out. Pine-Richland faced off against powerhouse Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy to open the season, giving Kristofic a chance to go against the likes of 2019 five-star Georgia defensive end commit Nolan Smith, four-star Arkansas 2019 defensive end commit Eric Gregory and others. Kristofic had his ups and downs against some of the best in the country, but his wins against the likes of Smith showcased what he could be at tackle once he adds the necessary weight and strength. He is a good athlete, quick on his feet and moves well, evidenced by his time on the basketball court. He also has the long arms a lot of coaches mandate offensive tackles to have. Participating in basketball is partly why Kristofic hasn't put on a ton of weight, but that will change when he arrives in South Bend as an early en- rollee. He likely won't be the first of the four offensive linemen to make an impact, but he could make the biggest splash once he develops. Point ✦ Counterpoint: WHICH 2019 NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL COMMIT IS THE MOST UNDERRATED? WILLIAMS KRISTOFIC Notre Dame's 2018 recruiting class has been re- garded the best signed during Mike Brey's tenure in South Bend. According to Rivals, the top player in the class was Northfield (Mass.) Mt. Hermon forward Nate Laszewski, who was ranked as the No. 56 overall player nationally. Throughout his prep career, Laszewski built a reputation as a lethal three-point shooter, knock- ing down 132 triples during his senior campaign and claiming the U.S. Marines Men's Three-Point Championship in San Antonio before the Final Four. Laszewski did not waste any time making an impact for the Fighting Irish, leading the team in scoring (12.0 points per game) and tying for first in rebounding (6.5) in wins over Illinois-Chicago and Chicago State. BGI: What helped propel you to a strong start to your college career in South Bend? Laszewski: "It's just trying to bring energy and play hard every single game. The rest will take care of itself. My teammates have believed in me. "I've been making shots. The biggest thing is keep playing hard and hopefully win more games." BGI: How do you feel you've adjusted to the college game? Laszewski: "I think my adjustment to it has been well so far. I'm getting used to the speed, pace and the physicality. It took a while to do it, but being able to practice against a bunch of dif- ferent guys every day helped a lot. "I definitely could tell while I was being re- cruited, and now by playing, that the offense really suits my game with the space and pace. I'm really happy with how it's been going so far. Whatever I can do to help the team win is what I'm going to try and do." BGI: What did you learn about yourself in your first games in an Irish uniform? Laszewski: "It's all about making sure I'm bring- ing it every single night. Try to not think too much and try to stick together through the ups and downs." BGI: What did the team do well to begin the 2018-19 season? Laszewski: "We've done a great job coming together, moving the ball and bringing a lot of energy. We hope to continue that in the games to come." BGI: Have any of the older players on the ros- ter taken you under their wing to show you the ropes? Laszewski: "All of the seniors and upperclass- men have done a great job, especially with all the freshmen we do have. Rex Pflueger, Elijah Burns, Liam Nelligan and all of the upperclassmen have been bringing us together as a team throughout the season and as the season got started. "It really helps a lot. With how young the team is, having those seniors who have been there be- fore and seen it all has been a strong foundation for us freshmen to be a part of." — Corey Bodden Five Questions With … MEN'S BASKETBALL FRESHMAN FORWARD NATE LASZEWSKI Laszewski led the team in scoring (12.0 points per game) and tied for first in rebounding (6.5) after Notre Dame's first two games this season. PHOTO COURTESY FIGHTING IRISH DIGITAL MEDIA

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