Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2017

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

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Page 38 of 55 FEBRUARY 2017 39 FOOTBALL RECRUITING and center at The Opening, and he excelled in both roles. "Although he lacks ideal size and strength at this stage of his career, Hainsey has the frame to bulk up to more than 300 pounds and to add a lot more strength." — Bryan Driskell AARON BANKS Offensive Tackle • El Cerrito (Calif.) High Rivals Rankings: Four-star talent, and the No. 14 offensive tackle and No. 112 overall player nationally. Recruitment: Banks was quite the difficult read throughout his recruit- ment. Even the day of his commit- ment (Dec. 9), there wasn't 100 per- cent confidence in where he would wind up. Notre Dame beat out the likes of Michigan, UCLA, California, Oregon, Nebraska and Tennessee for the four-star tackle. It was a significant win not only to add another highly rated offensive lineman to the mix, but to also pull a top player from California. Banks is ranked as the No. 18 prospect in California by Rivals. Why Notre Dame: "It wasn't one thing that made me pick Notre Dame. It was the school and program as a whole … I knew a few weeks before I decided." Senior season: Banks said he av- eraged around 12 pancake blocks a game and recorded 14 sacks, help- ing lead El Cerrito to an 8-4 record and the Division III quarterfinals of the NCS/Les Schwab Tires Football Championships. Notre Dame Fit: "Landing Banks was crucial for Notre Dame. The Irish were in desperate need of a fourth lineman in the class, especially one with the potential to play tackle. "He has the length and agility to play tackle, although he will need a lot of refinement before he's ready to play on the edge. He is a powerful player with an attitude and edge that the Irish need more of." — Bryan Driskell ISAIAH ROBERTSON Athlete • Naperville (Ill.) Neuqua Valley Rivals Rankings: Four-star talent, and the No. 17 athlete and No. 197 overall player nationally. Recruitment: Robertson picked Notre Dame April 15 over offers from Penn State, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin and Iowa, among others. He took an unofficial visit to South Bend for the Stanford game Oct. 15 and returned for his official Dec. 9 for the Echoes award event. Why Notre Dame: "It can offer me so much more outside the game of football. I'm going to have a life after football, and I have to be ready for that. "I feel Notre Dame can prepare me the most to take on that kind of life- style and help me still be able to pro- vide without the game of football." On early enrollment: "I can get ahead of the game and be ready to possibly play during the season. I can bring leadership and hard work to the table. I can bring a lot more, but I really feel like those are my strongest points." Senior season: Robertson played both sides of the ball, leading his Neuqua Valley team to a 9-2 record and a berth in the Class 8A state play- offs (first-round loss). He finished the year with 48 tackles and an intercep- tion. As a wide receiver, he caught 29 passes for 380 yards and four touch- downs. He battled a hamstring injury throughout the season and was not able to play fully healthy at times. Notre Dame Fit: "Robertson was a standout wide receiver and safety for Neuqua Valley, and could play either position at Notre Dame. However, his beginning position is likely as a free safety. "Notre Dame is thin at safety, with just six scholarship players on the ros- ter, and if junior Drue Tranquill and/ or freshman Spencer Perry move to Rover, the numbers get even more precarious. Having a rangy and in- stinctive player like Robertson on the roster will pay immediate dividends for Notre Dame." — Bryan Driskell C.J. HOLMES Running Back • Cheshire (Conn.) Academy Rivals Rankings: Four-star tal- ent, and the No. 5 all-purpose running back and No. 198 overall player nationally. Recruitment: Through a video with Bleacher Report July 8, Holmes committed to the Irish over offers from Alabama, Michigan, UCLA and Tennessee, among others. He was quite active on the recruiting trail for the Irish following his commitment. Why Notre Dame: "Out of all my offers, Notre Dame presents the best situation for me to be set up for life off the field." On early enrollment: "Academi- cally, I think that I will be in a great place entering my freshman year of- ficially in the fall. I will have a grip on everything and will be able to ma- neuver my way through the season swiftly. "Also, I can get in front of the coaches before a normal freshman would so I can get acclimated to the program earlier. I'm ready to enter a new community, and I'm anxious to begin my life as a young adult." Senior Season: Holmes rushed for 1,168 yards and 11 touchdowns on 142 carries in nine games this season. He helped lead Cheshire Academy to an 8-2 record. Notre Dame Fit: "In a class littered with versatile players, Holmes is without question one of the best and most versatile. Notre Dame recruited him to play running back, and that is where he will begin his career. "He draws immediate compari- sons to former Notre Dame 1,000- yard rusher C.J. Prosise for his body type and versatility. Like Prosise, Holmes should also continue to see his explosiveness improve as he ma- tures and spends time in a collegiate weight room." — Bryan Driskell ✦ Isaiah Robertson was hampered throughout his senior season with a hamstring injury, but he still lined up on both sides of the ball for Naperville (Ill.) Neuqua Valley. PHOTO BY BRANDON BROWN

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