Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2017

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

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38 FEBRUARY 2017 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED FOOTBALL RECRUITING BY COREY BODDEN AND DAVID MCKINNEY W hen the spring semester begins Jan. 17, the Notre Dame foot- ball program will welcome five new members as early enrollees from the 2017 class. All five players are four-star re- cruits and ranked among the top 200 players nationally by Rivals. A surge in young talent should provide a boost heading into spring practice. Four of the five players will be on the offensive side of the ball, includ- ing two linemen. Blue & Gold Illus- trated provides an overview of each player, looking at their recruitment, why they selected Notre Dame, why they opted for early enrollment, how they did during their senior seasons and what they can provide the Irish program, according to football ana- lyst Bryan Driskell. BROCK WRIGHT Tight End • Cypress (Texas) Cy-Fair Rivals Rankings: Four-star talent, and the No. 1 tight end and No. 56 overall player nationally. Recruitment: Wright, the highest- rated recruit in the Notre Dame class, committed to the Irish last June, choosing Notre Dame over offers from Alabama, Michigan and Texas, among others. He was solid on his pledge throughout the process and could make an early impact in South Bend. Why Notre Dame: "I love the school, and I believe in the coaching staff. The academics and football are a perfect fit for me. On the field, I love the way Notre Dame uses the tight end. Off the field, I love the tra- ditions and culture of the university." On enrolling early: "I'm so pumped. At the beginning of this year, I was counting down the days and started getting kind of nervous. Then once the season ended I real- ized I'm just excited to get up there, start the process and go compete. Notre Dame is such a cool place. I can't wait to go to school and play football there." Senior season: Wright concluded his final prep campaign with 30 receptions for 491 yards and four touchdowns. Cy-Fair went 8-4, earn- ing a berth in the UIL Class 6A Divi- sion I state playoffs (first-round loss). Notre Dame Fit: "Wright is a bit of a throwback tight end; unlike most tight ends that come along these days, he plays most of the time attached to the line. He shows just as much potential as a blocker as he does as a pass catcher, and seems to take that part of his game just as seriously. "Wright brings a much-needed ele- ment to the roster. He's a much bet- ter blocker than rising junior Alizé Jones or rising senior Nic Weishar, and he shows more route running and pass catching potential than ris- ing senior Tyler Luatua. Only senior Durham Smythe has a similar all- around game, but Wright projects to be a more physical blocker." — Bryan Driskell ROBERT HAINSEY Offensive Tackle • Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy Rivals Rankings: Four-star talent, and the No. 10 offensive tackle and No. 79 overall player nationally. Recruitment: Hainsey selected the Irish July 10 over his two other final- ists, Michigan and Michigan State. He also held offers from Ohio State, Auburn, LSU and Florida, among others. He took multiple visits to South Bend over the fall and winter, with his official coming Oct. 15 for the Stanford game. He made a return trip for the annual Echoes Awards event Dec. 9. He remained firm in his commitment throughout the process following his announcement. Why Notre Dame: "Everything it brings. In every aspect of life, I think it's the best school in the country. There's no better place for me be- cause of what Notre Dame can offer me athletically and academically, and what it can do for my success in life." On early enrollment: "It's going to be great no matter what. It's defi- nitely going to get me started and acclimated early. "I'll bring a hard work ethic, an attitude toward the game. I'm just coming in trying to play my best and do everything I can to help the team." Senior season: Hainsey helped lead IMG to an 11-0 and the No. 3 national ranking by USA Today. Notre Dame Fit: "Hainsey is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades linemen, which makes him highly valuable. He could legitimately play all five spots along the Notre Dame offensive line. He played left tackle the last two years at IMG, but he spent time at guard Cypress (Texas) Cy-Fair four-star Brock Wright is ranked as the No. 1 tight end in the 2017 class by Rivals and has the opportunity to make an immediate impact in South Bend. PHOTO COURTESY INTERSPORT Five Early Enrollees Will Provide A Boost To The Irish Roster

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