2020 Notre Dame Football Preview

Digital Edition

Blue & Gold Illustrated: 2020 Notre Dame Football Preview

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Page 159 of 163

158 ✦ BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED 2020 FOOTBALL PREVIEW Georgia's success on the recruiting trail doesn't seem all that high once you consider that nearly 60 percent of five-star prospects over the last five recruiting cycles came from a state with at least one SEC program lo- cated within the borders. Notre Dame does not have the same level of talent in its own region. The Midwest has produced exactly 15 five-star prospects during that time, only one of whom lived in Indiana. If Notre Dame ever wants to once again recruit at a top-five level, the program must find a way to land five-star prospects from other regions of the country, which is an even tougher barrier to overcome given the travel restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Scholarship Offer Breakdown By analyzing the data available on Rivals recruiting profiles and from other recruiting services, we were able to determine that of the 162 five-star players from 2016-20, Notre Dame offered 95 of them. The number of five-star prospects Notre Dame offers in a given recruiting cycle var- ies greatly, from 11 in 2019 to 24 in 2017. Blue & Gold Illustrated compared this list of total offers to 10 other major college football programs. The programs range from Big Ten/Midwest schools (Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State), consistent national championship contenders in the South and Southwest (Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Oklahoma), and West Coast rivals with similar academic standards to Notre Dame (USC and Stanford). Only Stanford, Clemson and Penn State offered fewer five-star prospects during the designated time period, with the Cardinal producing by far the lowest total. Stanford's success on the trail should give Notre Dame hope. Despite targeting such a low number, the program still signed five recruits of this classification (three offensive tackles, a quarterback and a linebacker). Three of these talented yet academically inclined prospects hail from the state of Georgia, which is another indication of why Notre Dame has placed such an emphasis on the Peach State in the last few recruiting cycles. 2011 ISHAQ WILLIAMS • DEFENSIVE END 6-6, • 230 • Brooklyn (N.Y.) Abraham Lincoln No. 1 in New York, No. 2 WDE and No. 16 overall Synopsis: Concluded his career with 45 tackles and six tackles for loss over three seasons … Was set to start the 2014 season at defensive end, but was suspended because of academics and never played at the college level again … Signed with the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent, but never saw any game action. STEPHON TUITT • DEFENSIVE END 6-5, 260 • Monroe (Ga.) Area No. 2 in Georgia, No. 2 SDE and No. 22 overall Synopsis: Finished with 127 tackles, 25 tackles for loss and 21.5 sacks (third at Notre Dame since 1982) … Left school a year early and was drafted in the sec- ond round by the Pittsburgh Steelers, for whom he has developed into a valuable figure along the front. 2012 GUNNER KIEL • QUARTERBACK 6-4, 220 • Columbus (Ind.) East No. 1 in Indiana, No. 1 Pro-Style QB and No. 20 overall Synopsis: Never took a snap for the Fighting Irish … Transferred following his freshman season to Cincinnati, where he passed for 6,835 yards and 56 touchdowns over three seasons before finish- ing his career as a backup … Went undrafted and never played in the NFL. 2013 JAYLON SMITH • LINEBACKER 6-3, 212 • Fort Wayne (Ind.) Bishop Luers No. 1 in Indiana, No. 1 OLB and No. 3 overall Synopsis: Was a two-time All-American who won the Butkus Award following the 2015 sea- son … Finished his Notre Dame career with 293 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss and 10 passes broken up … A devastating knee injury in his final game at Notre Dame resulted in him going from a top- five pick to a second-round choice of the Dallas Cowboys, where he is steadily developing into a Pro-Bowl performer. GREG BRYANT • RUNNING BACK 5-11, 197 • Delray Beach (Fla.) American Heri- tage School No. 4 in Florida, No. 3 RB and No. 19 overall Synopsis: Showed promise as a sophomore, but rushed for just 303 yards in two seasons and was subsequently suspended for academic reasons be- fore transferring to UAB … Tragically, his life was cut short on May 8, 2016, when he was shot in Florida. EDDIE VANDERDOES • DEFENSIVE TACKLE 6-3, 310 • Auburn (Calif.) Placer No. 3 in California, No. 2 DT and No. 21 overall Synopsis: Never set foot on campus, instead asking out of his letter of intent and choosing to enroll at UCLA … Played in 39 games (32 starts) for the Bruins, and compiled 126 stops, 13.5 tackles for loss and 4.0 sacks … Was a third-round pick of the Oakland Raiders in 2017 and has bounced around the NFL since. MAX REDFIELD • SAFETY 6-2, 195 • Mission Viejo (Calif.) High No. 2 in California, No. 3 S and No. 30 overall Synopsis: Erratic as a starter before getting dis- missed following an August arrest prior to the 2016 season … Saw action in 36 games with 22 starts, and notched 143 tackles with two intercep- tions … Transferred to Division II Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he played in 13 games, made 78 tackles and intercepted four passes … Was one of seven Rivals five-stars from 2013 who did not get drafted. 2014 QUENTON NELSON • OFFENSIVE TACKLE 6-5, 301 • Red Bank (N.J.) Catholic No. 2 in New Jersey, No. 3 OT and No. 29 overall Synopsis: Developed into one of the best guards in school history, starting 36 of the 37 games he played in over three seasons and earning unani- mous All-America honors in 2017 (the first Irish of- fensive lineman to achieve that since Aaron Taylor in 1993) … Was selected No. 6 overall in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts and has earned All-Pro honors each of his first two seasons … Pro Football Focus tabbed him as the No. 1 offensive lineman and No. 4 overall player in the NFL in June. 2016 DAELIN HAYES • LINEBACKER 6-3, 254 • Belleville (Mich.) Skyline No. 1 in Michigan, No. 7 OLB and No. 31 overall Synopsis: Entering his fifth year in South Bend after his senior season was cut short by injury … Has played in 41 games (14 starts) with 78 tackles, 14.5 stops for loss and 6.0 sacks. 2020 JORDAN JOHNSON • WIDE RECEIVER 6-2, 180 • St. Louis De Smet Jesuit No. 1 in Missouri, No. 5 WR and No. 28 overall Synopsis: Became the program's first five-star wideout since Michael Floyd in 2008, and will vie for playing time this fall. Brian Kelly's Five-Star Recruits At Notre Dame Here are the Rivals five-star prospects who have signed with the Fighting Irish since Brian Kelly took over as head coach in December 2009: Rivals Five-Star Offers By School From 2016-20 Notre Dame — 95 Michigan — 122 Ohio State — 114 Penn State — 82 Stanford — 40 USC — 98 Clemson — 93 Alabama — 154 Georgia — 131 LSU — 118 Oklahoma — 100 Note: The offer verification process was done through both Rivals and 247Sports databases

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