Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2019

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

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Page 30 of 47 FEBRUARY 2019 31 BGI BIG BOARD Rk. Signee, Pos. Grade Star Rating Upside National Range 1. Kyle Hamilton, S 89.1 5.0 5.0 Top 25 2. Quinn Carroll, OL 88.3 4.5 5.0 Top 50 3. Hunter Spears, DT 86.0 4.0 5.0 Top 100 4. NaNa Osafo-Mensah, DE 85.8 4.0 4.5 Top 100 5. Jacob Lacey, DT 85.6 4.0 4.5 Top 100 6. Andrew Kristofic, OL 85.5 4.0 5.0 Top 100 7. Zeke Correll, OL 85.4 4.0 4.5 Top 150 8. Cam Hart, WR 85.0 4.0 4.5 Top 250 9. Litchfield Ajavon, S 85.0 4.0 4.5 Top 250 10. Osita Ekwonu, LB 84.9 4.0 4.5 Top 250 11. K.J. Wallace, CB 84.9 4.0 4.0 Top 250 12. Kendall Abdur-Rahman, WR 84.8 4.0 4.5 Top 250 13. Marist Liufau, LB 84.6 4.0 4.5 Top 250 14. Brendon Clark, QB 84.5 4.0 4.5 Top 250 15. Isaiah Rutherford, CB 84.5 4.0 4.5 Top 250 16. John Olmstead, OL 84.4 4.0 4.5 Top 250 17. JD Bertrand, LB 84.4 4.0 4.0 Top 250 18. Kyren Williams, RB 84.1 3.5 4.0 Top 400 19. Jack Kiser, LB 84.0 3.5 4.0 Top 400 20. Howard Cross III, DE 83.9 3.5 4.0 Top 400 21. Jay Bramblett, P — — — — NR Harrison Leonard*, PK — — — — * Walk-on BY BRYAN DRISKELL N otre Dame landed 21 scholarship players during the early signing pe- riod Dec. 19-21. The class was ranked No. 11 nation- ally by Rivals as of Dec. 28, with four players landing in the Rivals100 and a total of nine in the Rivals250. Thir- teen of Notre Dame's 21 signees were graded out as four-star recruits by Ri- vals, and 17 earned a four-star grade or higher in Blue & Gold Illustrated's rankings. Below is a breakdown — by ranking on the BGI Big Board — of each signee. 1. KYLE HAMILTON • S • 6-3, 190 ATLANTA • MARIST SCHOOL The 6-3, 190-pound athlete has all the skills coaches want in an elite safety — tremendous length, explosive athleti- cism, top-notch instincts and impressive speed. Hamilton also showed improved technique as a senior, and did a much better job reading and jumping routes instead of locking in too much on the quarterback. Notre Dame's depth chart is loaded at safety, but he could be hard to keep off the field. Rivals ranked Hamilton as the na- tion's No. 8 safety and No. 97 overall player. 2. QUINN CARROLL • OL • 6-6, 285 EDINA, MINN. • EDINA H.S. Carroll showed dramatic improve- ment as a senior, but un- like Hamilton the 6-6, 285-pound Minnesota native has been consid- ered one of the nation's top blockers for some time now. A powerful player with impressive natural strength, Carroll is a domi- nant blocker at the prep level, and it should project well at the next tier. In addition to his physical tools, he plays with good pad level, does an excellent job keeping his base and is a strong finisher. In his final high school season, Car- roll impressed with his pass protec- tion skills, displaying good quickness out of his stance and the ability to handle speed rushers and double moves. Carroll was listed as the country's No. 6 offensive tackle and No. 54 overall prospect by Rivals. 3. HUNTER SPEARS • DT • 6-3, 295 GARLAND, TEXAS • SACHSE H.S. Spears was a bit of an unknown coming into his senior season because he didn't play a snap as a junior while he recov- ered from a knee injury that he suffered during the summer following his sophomore season. By the time his senior campaign was completed he had emerged as one of the more dominant defensive tackles in the country, racking up 24 tackles for loss. Spears is a thick and powerful in- terior player that can bull his way into the backfield. Spears is also a major threat in the pass game, showing the ability to pen- etrate and also shed blockers with ease as he explodes to the quarterback. ESPN ranks him as the No. 275 player in the nation and the No. 33 de- fensive end. 4. NANA OSAFO-MENSAH DE • 6-3, 235 FORT WORTH, TEXAS • NOLAN CATHOLIC H.S. Osafo-Mensah is a standout drop end candidate, but with his thick frame, long arms and impressive natural power his best spot might ultimately be on the strongside. T h e F o r t Wo r t h , Texas, native is remarkably instinc- tive with powerful and fast hands. He is a violent and physical defender that simply needs to refine his tack- ling technique. His ability to quickly shed blockers and get to the ball is highly impressive. Osafo-Mensah, 247Sports' No. 7 weakside defensive end and No. 113 overall player nationally, flashes a strong first step, and he is an agile athlete with quick feet and good bal- ance. He has a natural feel as a pass rusher. RATING THE RECRUITS Blue & Gold Illustrated's take on the Notre Dame's early signees

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