Blue and Gold Illustrated

March 2021

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

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14 MARCH 2021 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED 2021 FOOTBALL RECRUITING ISSUE BY LOU SOMOGYI F or the first time since 2013, Notre Dame has a football re- cruiting class that finished in the top 10 in February. With the addition of Louisiana three-star running back Logan Diggs on Feb. 3, the 27-man haul was rated No. 10 by Rivals with one five-star player (offensive lineman Blake Fisher), 11 four-stars, 14 three-stars and two-star kicker Josh Bryan — who gets a lower ranking as a special- ist but is the No. 1 kicker nationally ("a six star") per Chris Sailer Kicking. The group tied the 2018 harvest for the highest number signed in head coach Brian Kelly's 12 seasons. An entire offense and defense were inked to provide roster balance. While this year's haul did crack the top 10, Notre Dame recruiting coordi- nator Brian Polian and the Irish staff did a comprehensive overview of the last three to five classes from 2016-20 and found Notre Dame;s aggregate ranking was also exactly No. 10. A certain school like USC might have a dramatic fluctuation of a No. 3 rating in 2018 and only 71st in 2020, whereas Notre Dame has been steadily consistent in the 11-15 range. More importantly, the rankings on paper have been matched or sur- passed on the field with a 43-8 over- all record since 2017, two top-five finishes and being one of only five schools to advance to the four-team STARS, VOLUME & BALANCE Notre Dame's new 27-man class fills out an entire starting lineup NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL 2021 SIGNEES Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (High School) Joe Alt OL 6-7 280 North Oaks, Minn. (Totino-Grace) Devin Aupiu* DL 6-5 220 Oxnard, Calif. (Pacifica) Ryan Barnes* CB 6-2 188 Gaithersburg, Md. (Quince Orchard) Cane Berrong* TE 6-3 215 Hartwell, Ga. (Hart County) Josh Bryan K 6-0 185 Valencia, Calif. (Sierra Canyon) Tyler Buchner* QB 6-2 205 San Diego (Helix) Deion Colzie WR 6-3 200 McDonough, Ga. (Athens Academy) Pat Coogan OL 6-4 290 Palos Heights, Ill. (Marist) Logan Diggs RB 6-0 200 Marrero, La. (Archbishop Rummel) Audric Estime RB 6-1 215 Nyack, N.Y. (St. Joseph Regional [N.J.]) Mitchell Evans* TE 6-7 240 Wadsworth, Ohio (Wadsworth) Blake Fisher* OL 6-6 330 Avon, Ind. (Avon) Khari Gee S 6-3 185 Atlanta (Woodward Academy) Caleb Johnson* OL 6-6 275 Ocala, Fla. (Trinity Catholic) JoJo Johnson CB 5-10 175 Merrillville, Ind. (Merrillville) Kahanu Kia LB 6-1 210 Kaneohe, Hawaii (Punahou) Prince Kollie LB 6-2 210 Jonesborough, Tenn. (David Crockett) Jason Onye DL 6-5 245 North Providence, R.I. (Bishop Hendricken) Ron Powlus III* QB 6-3 230 Granger, Ind. (Penn) Philip Riley* CB 6-1 190 Riverview, Fla. (Bloomingdale) Gabe Rubio* DL 6-5 285 St. Louis (Lutheran St. Charles) Will Schweitzer* DL 6-5 220 Los Gatos, Calif. (Los Gatos) Rocco Spindler* OL 6-4 295 Clarkston, Mich. (Clarkston) Lorenzo Styles Jr.* WR 6-0 180 Pickerington, Ohio (Pickerington Central) Jayden Thomas WR 6-1 185 Paulding County, Ga. (Pace Academy) Chance Tucker CB 6-0 165 Encino, Calif. (Crespi Carmelite) Justin Walters* S 6-1 175 Bolingbrook, Ill. (Bolingbrook) * Early enrollees A school-record 14 freshmen enrolled early at Notre Dame this February, along with Wisconsin graduate transfer quarterback Jack Coan. From left to right: Caleb Johnson, Ron Powlus III, Ryan Barnes, Mitchell Evans, Will Schweitzer, Gabe Rubio, Lorenzo Styles Jr., Devin Aupiu, Rocco Spindler, Philip Riley, Blake Fisher, Jack Coan, Cane Berrong, Tyler Buchner and Justin Walters. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS

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