Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2020

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

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26 MARCH 2020 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED 2020 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE BY MIKE SINGER N otre Dame signed a small class in 2020, inking 17 high school prospects, and eight of them enrolled in January. To get a national perspective of the Fighting Irish recruiting class, Blue & Gold Illustrated spoke with CBS Sports' Tom Lemming and Rivals' director of recruiting Mike Farrell. Here's the rundown of what they had to say on Notre Dame's class, which includes thoughts on who the impact recruits are, strongest and weakest position groups, who could outplay their rankings, and looking ahead to early commits in the 2021 class for the Irish. BGI: What are your overall impres- sions of Notre Dame's 2020 recruit- ing class? Lemming: "I thought it was a good, typical Notre Dame class. They brought in a couple excellent offen- sive linemen, a big-time quarterback, a terrific running back and, in my opinion, one of the two top tight ends in the country in Michael Mayer, who reminds me of Kyle Rudolph. "They did a good job bringing in receiver Jordan Johnson from St. Louis, who is the best player in Mis- souri. That was a big catch because Missouri has some talented ball play- ers. If Notre Dame can hit the Catho- lic schools in St. Louis, they can re- ally start another recruiting string from that area which had gone dry for a while for them. "Overall, they had an average de- fensive back class. They did a good job with defensive linemen. The im- pact players are on offense. In the 2021 class, they've got to really con- centrate on bringing in five-star, im- pact defensive players at each posi- tion. That's how you win national titles." Farrell: "It's a very solid class and they met a lot of needs. Notre Dame recruits at a very high level nation- ally, and they are adding some guys I think will make a big impact on the program at some key areas." BGI: Which offensive player(s) do you think could play early? Lemming: "There's a good num- ber of them. All three of them are big-time ball players. I went down to Omaha to see Xavier Watts and came away very impressed. He's a Notre Dame type kid off the field and a ter- rific talent. Johnson is big time, and Jay Brunelle is probably the biggest sleeper on the offensive side of the ball for Notre Dame. Not a lot of peo- ple are expecting a whole lot from him, but he's better than I thought he was. All three of them have a chance to play as freshmen in 2020. "And obviously, Mayer is a big, strong guy who can run. He had great high school production and played against pretty good teams, too. It would be a surprise if he doesn't end up drafted in the first or second round after his Notre Dame career. He's a dominating five-star player as is Johnson and running back Chris Tyree. "If Tyree can stay healthy, they have a complete back who can run, catch and block." Farrell: "I think Jordan Johnson should impact right away with his size and ability, and I would expect one of the two talented tight ends to emerge as a big-time contributor early on." RECRUITING ROUNDTABLE National experts offer their thoughts on Notre Dame's 2020 signing class Xavier Watts — a 5-11, 185-pound wide receiver from Omaha (Neb.) Burke — has been identified as a potential early impact player for the Fighting Irish as well as someone capable of outplaying his three- star rating. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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