2019 Notre Dame Football Preview

Digital Edition

Blue & Gold Illustrated: 2019 Notre Dame Football Preview

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Page 151 of 163

150 ✦ BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED 2019 FOOTBALL PREVIEW BY DAVID MCKINNEY F ollowing a signing class that featured 27 freshmen in 2018, Notre Dame brought in 22 players in the class of 2019. The Irish reloaded on the offensive and defensive lines, grabbing eight four-stars across both sides of the trenches. At safety, Notre Dame added two four-star Rivals250 players at the position. While 2018 was more of a balanced class, the Irish went heavy on defensive players in 2019, signing 13 on that side of the ball and eight on offense (plus one specialist). All 13 defensive signees were ranked as a four-star recruit by at least one recruiting service. Here is a breakdown of some of the most notable topics surrounding the 2019 Notre Dame recruiting class. Top Five Storylines KYLE HAMILTON HEADS NORTH Since his arrival at the University of Geor- gia in 2016, Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart and his staff have dominated on the recruiting trail, especially top prospects who reside in the Peach State. Smart has done a stellar job of building a fence around the Bulldogs' main recruit- ing territory — but he can't land them all. Thanks to Notre Dame and the efforts of safeties coach Terry Joseph and cornerbacks coach Todd Lyght, Smart was unable to reel in one of the state's best products in the class of 2019. Atlanta Marist School safety Kyle Ham- ilton, a 247Sports five-star prospect, had an impressive offer list, including Notre Dame, Georgia, Clemson, Ohio State, Michigan, Stanford and several others, as well as a few Ivy League schools. Hamilton had taken an unofficial visit to Notre Dame for the Wake Forest game in 2017, and at the time, told people close to him that South Bend was his preference. However, he was relatively unknown at the time and left campus without an offer. The scholarship from Notre Dame finally came on Feb. 20, 2018, significantly ear- lier than the other major schools that would eventually come calling. Following a few visits, the Irish secured a commitment from Hamilton on April 24, 2018, and the Georgia athlete never wavered on his pledge. Hamilton went on to have a huge senior season at Marist, recording 72 tackles, eight pass break ups, four interceptions and two defensive touchdowns to go along with 38 receptions for 804 yards and seven touch- downs. Following the completion of his se- nior season, Hamilton participated in the All-American Bowl in San Antonio. Over the course of his recruiting pro- THE CLASS OF 2019 Notre Dame landed a quality 22-man group of recruits that was ranked No. 14 nationally by Rivals Kyle Hamilton of Atlanta Marist School, Rivals' No. 7 safety and No. 75 overall player nationally, was the jewel of Notre Dame's 2019 recruiting class. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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