Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2020

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

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22 MARCH 2020 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY LOU SOMOGYI S eldom in football recruit- ing can a coaching staff assemble a complete 24-man freshman class that includes all 11 positions on offense, all 11 on defense, a kicker and a punter. Last year's 22-man group was one of the closer ones to do so under head coach Brian Kelly, who is entering his 11th season in 2020. Defensively in 2019 Notre Dame signed a full complement of five defensive linemen, led by end Isa- iah Foskey, a quartet of lineback- ers/rovers (Marist Liufau and Jack Kiser both played special teams in four games without burning a year of eligibility), plus two safeties and two corners — with Kyle Hamilton earning Freshman All-America hon- ors at safety. At punter, Jay Bramblett enjoyed a quality 2019 debut while starting every game, and preferred walk-on kicker Harrison Leonard displayed enough promise last August to vie for the starting role won by junior Jonathan Doerer, who went on to have an outstanding campaign. On offense last year, the Irish were one lineman and a tight end short of signing a full class — but it was one that was lacking in "star power" at the skill positions. This year 's smaller, 17-man 2020 class is somewhat the opposite, which is often the case in recruiting by filling voids from the previous season. The 2020 haul isn't as strong over- all on defense because it did not ink either a linebacker (voluntarily) or pure safety among the freshmen, and it lacks — on paper — star power at cornerback, a huge position of need. However, on offense Notre Dame landed potential game-changers at the skill positions. Neither wide receiver Jordan John- son nor tight end Mike Mayer were consensus five-star players, the high- est rating a prospect can receive, but Johnson did receive the fifth star from Rivals while Mayer did the same from 247Sports. Meanwhile, all-purpose back Chris Tyree saw his rating drop some by both Rivals and 247Sports, but he remained a consensus top-100 recruit — and as high as the nation's No. 30 prospect overall by ESPN. Tyree is the first running back signed by Notre Dame who was deemed a top-100 prospect by mul- tiple outlets since Jonas Gray in 2008. Here is our usual grading system when assessing each position group: A — College Football Playoff Contention B — Top-10 Viability C — Top-25 Viability D — Trying To Be Bowl Eligible QUARTERBACK Signed: Drew Pyne Meeting Needs: Even though it's understood that these days it's virtu- ally impossible to keep four scholar- ship signal-callers on a roster, every school wants to sign one quarterback in each cycle. 2020 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE Jordan Johnson is the first five-star wide receiver to sign with Notre Dame since Michael Floyd in 2008. The 6-2, 180-pound Johnson starred for St. Louis De Smet Jesuit. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM THE OOMPH FACTOR Landing potential game-breakers highlight 17-man 2020 haul

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