Blue and Gold Illustrated

April 2017

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

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34 APRIL 2017 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY BRYAN DRISKELL D espite a disappointing 4-8 sea- son and replacing five assistant coaches, Notre Dame bounced back and put together a qual- ity recruiting haul. Notre Dame signed 21 players from 12 different states and the District of Columbia. Rivals ranked that 21-man group No. 13 in the country. Notre Dame picked up three players on National Signing Day and six players in the final week of the cycle, its best closing stretch since a six-man finish late in the 2010 class. Below is a ranking of Notre Dame's signees: 1. JOSHUA LUGG, OL Wexford (Pa.) North Allegheny The 6-6, 280-pound offensive tackle,'s No. 22 offensive tackle and No. 236 overall prospect nation- ally, is a year younger than most play- ers in his class, and he's just begin- ning to tap into his immense potential. Lugg has excellent length and good raw power, and he's a nimble athlete. He is a natural on the left side, but he capped off his prep career with a dom- inating performance at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl at right tackle. 2. BROCK WRIGHT, TE Cypress (Texas) Cy-Fair There is no question which signee is the most ready to play in 2017. Wright — an early enrollee that is already on campus — is a physically imposing player that has the size and strength to help out from day one. Rivals' No. 1 tight end and No. 44 overall player in the country is a throwback tight end that is just as good in the run game as he is beating linebackers and safeties in the pass game. 3. DARNELL EWELL, DT Norfolk (Va.) Lake Taylor Notre Dame needed a stout inside run defender in this class, and Ewell was one of the best at stopping ball carriers in the country. At 6-4 and 280 pounds, he already has the size to play early on, but it is his elite strength and power that gives him a chance to make an early impact. He is the highest ranked defensive tackle — No. 9 nationally at his position and No. 139 overall in the country — to sign with Notre Dame since Louis Nix, the No. 7 defensive tackle in the land, in 2010. 4. ISAIAH ROBERTSON, S Naperville (Ill.) Neuqua Valley Landing Robertson, the nation's No. 20 athlete and No. 202 overall talent, gives Notre Dame much needed safety depth and a versatile athlete. The early enrollee is a rangy athlete and an in- stinctive player that fits in well on the back end of the defense as a safety, but he was a standout prep receiver that could certainly play offense if the need arose. 5. ROBERT HAINSEY, OL Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy Hainsey was the lone team captain for IMG Academy, one of the nation's premier high school programs. He was a standout left tackle for the Ascenders, but he has the combination of athleti- cism, toughness and advanced tech- nique to play all five positions along the offensive line. The nation's No. 11 offensive tackle and No. 108 overall prospect is likely to begin his Notre Dame career at guard. 6. DAVID ADAMS, LB Pittsburgh Central Catholic Adams is a quality in-the-box line- backer that excels against the run. He is a smart defender who makes quick reads, getting downhill in a hurry. Ri- vals' No. 18 inside linebacker in the country times blitzes and run stunts well, which is perfect for the new Irish defense. He projects to play Mike line- backer for the Irish. 7. MICHAEL YOUNG, WR Destrehan (La.) High Young is everything you want in a slot receiver — he's a dynamic route runner, he has top-flight ball skills, he works well against the zone, and he has the speed and elusiveness to make big plays after the catch. He tracks the ball quite well and shows strong hands. He is just 5-10, but is a physical blocker and takes pride in that part of his game. Rivals rates him as the No. 71 wide receiver in the land. 8. COLE KMET, TE Arlington Heights (Ill.) St. Viator The country's No. 3 tight end and No. 95 overall prospect is a top-notch pass catcher that can play in the slot, making him an ideal complement to Wright. He has elite ball skills, possessing strong hands, good tracking ability and a will- ingness to attack the ball. He is a force in traffic, and his blocking ability im- proved dramatically his senior year. Notre Dame is counting on Wexford (Pa.) North Allegheny offensive lineman Joshua Lugg to continue its strong tradition at offensive tackle. PHOTO BY ANDREW IVINS STRONG FINISH Ranking Notre Dame's 2017 signees

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