2020 Notre Dame Football Preview

Digital Edition

Blue & Gold Illustrated: 2020 Notre Dame Football Preview

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150 ✦ BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED 2020 FOOTBALL PREVIEW BY MIKE SINGER N otre Dame signed a small class in 2020, inking only 17 high school prospects, but it ranked No. 22 na- tionally according to Rivals. It is the fewest recruits the Fighting Irish have signed in the Brian Kelly era since 2012, when they also originally brought in 17 players. The class is headlined by big-time offen- sive weapons from coast to coast, three of whom were included among Rivals' national top 100. In total, Notre Dame signed nine players listed in the Rivals250. The class numbers are fairly balanced with nine prospects on offense, seven on defense and one specialist. Here is a breakdown of some of the most notable topics surrounding the 2020 Notre Dame recruiting class: Offensive-Skill Quartet In the 2008 recruiting class, then-Irish head coach Charlie Weis signed four top-100 weapons on offense. • Under center, the Irish landed Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame High's Dayne Crist, a five-star recruit and the No. 25 player nationally per Rivals. His Notre Dame career was riddled with injuries and ended with a transfer to Kansas. As a prep prospect, however, Crist was the No. 2 pro-style quar- terback in his class. • Detroit Country Day's Jonas Gray was ranked the No. 4 running back and No. 72 overall player 12 years ago, and ran for 791 yards and 12 scores during his senior cam- paign in South Bend. • The Irish also inked a pair of five-star pass catchers who had fantastic careers at Notre Dame: Cincinnati Elder's Kyle Ru- dolph, the No. 1 tight end and No. 20 overall player, and St. Paul (Minn.) Cretin-Derham Hall's Michael Floyd, the nation's No. 6 wide receiver and No. overall 27 recruit. In the 2020 harvest, Notre Dame signed its best quartet of skill players at quarter- back, running back, wide receiver and tight end since that star-studded group in 2008. • Many might be already overlooking New Canaan (Conn.) High's Drew Pyne, who Rivals ranked as the No. 7 pro-style quarterback and No. 117 overall prospect nationally. That's because the Irish already have their 2021 quarterback committed in La Mesa (Calif.) Helix Charter's Tyler Buchner. He is rated as the nation's No. 2 dual-threat quar- terback and No. 46 overall player, and is the "shiny new toy" among recruitniks. Although Pyne is not the most physically imposing quarterback at 5-11 1 /2, 194 pounds, he finished his prep career with 9,411 yards and 105 passing touchdowns. The high school competition in Connecticut is sus- pect, but Pyne was arguably the best quar- terback during the week of practice against elite competition for the Under Armour All- America Game. And under the lights in the all-star game, he threw for 121 yards and a touchdown on 9-of-11 passing. • The Irish became a lot faster with the ad- dition of Chester (Va.) Thomas Dale's Chris Tyree, the No. 4 all-purpose back and No. 78 overall prospect in the land. Tyree rushed for 3,930 career yards and 37 touchdowns, earning selections to the Under Armour All- America Game and Polynesian Bowl. THE CLASS OF 2020 Notre Dame signed a small but talented recruiting class that was ranked No. 22 nationally by Rivals Tight end Michael Mayer, who was tabbed as Gatorade's Kentucky Player of the Year and the state's Mr. Foot- ball by local media, was part of the best group of offensive skill players signed by the Irish since 2008. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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