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Recap of Notre Dame’s early signing period success

Nana Osafo-Mensah

This week will include no more than one addition to Notre Dame’s recruiting class of 2019. Consider the lack of a drama a good thing; sleeping in Wednesday is acceptable. Consensus four-star defensive end Isaiah Foskey (De La Salle High School; Concord, Calif.) is not scheduled to publicly announce his commitment until 3 p.m. ET.

If Foskey does indeed join the Irish, he will become the 22nd member of the class. If the week before Christmas feels like more than seven weeks ago, how about a refresher?

Consensus three-star quarterback Brendon Clark — What was said then: “Clark may never be Notre Dame’s quarterback of the future, but the same could have been said of its current starting quarterback leading the way into the College Football Playoff. Clark does fit into the mold of both junior Ian Book and freshman Phil Jurkovec in that he is a pass-first quarterback, most comfortable working from the pocket, but by no means is he limited to surviving between the tackles. Clark is mobile, and with time should improve his accuracy on the run.”

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (all early enrollees)
Consensus four-star tackle Quinn Carroll — “Carroll has the size and reach desired on the edge. Not much else needs to be said, quite frankly.”

Consensus four-star tackle Andrew Kristofic — “There is plenty of room for Kristofic to grow, which may make his recruiting standing all that more impressive. An early enrollee, he will get a quick chance to begin that weight room work. If that does not take as wanted, he still has the size and the blocking acumen to serve well inside.”

Consensus four-star guard John Olmstead — “Getting into the weight room next month as an early enrollee will help Olmstead, who could use some added upper-body strength to balance out his pass blocking.”

Consensus four-star center Zeke Correll — “Correll has the body-type for an ideal interior offensive lineman, broad-shouldered yet able to deliver compact power. There may not be such a thing as an ideal center, specifically, but Correll’s clear understanding of the game could land him in the middle, handling protection calls.”

Kyren Williams

Kyren Williams (

Early-enrolled three-star running back Kyren Williams — “It has been awhile since Notre Dame had a running back of Williams’ height (or lack thereof), but it was just two cycles ago Irish head coach Brian Kelly said he was on the lookout for more Darren Sproles types. Williams could fit into that role, an interesting fit for offensive coordinator Chip Long to deploy.”

Consensus three-star receiver Cam Hart — “Hart does not have the straight-line speed of, as an example, current Irish freshman Braden Lenzy, but he has the quickness equally sought-after. Putting Hart at the slot seems an all-too obvious inevitability, even if it mitigates some of his height.” three-star athlete Kendall Abdur-Rahman — “Notre Dame made Abdur-Rahman a bit of a priority as the class began to fill up over the summer. The Irish were not going to wait on him, but they wanted him to take one of the remaining spots. That emphasis derives from a perceived upside to be seen down the line, but it could be much down the line. Abdur-Rahman will need to adjust to running routes, rather than throwing to them.”

Early-enrolled consensus four-star tackle Jacob Lacey — “A prototypical defensive tackle, Lacey provides raw power in the middle. When dialed in, that can create as much chaos in the backfield as a lightning quick end.”

Early-enrolled consensus four-star tackle Hunter Spears — “Spears’ frame can hold much more weight, hence the collegiate expectations of playing at defensive tackle. Combine that with his length and Spears could, in time, occupy multiple blockers at a time while his teammates wreak havoc.”

Early-enrolled consensus four-star end NaNa Osafo-Mensah (pictured above) — “Osafo-Mensah looks like an ideal end for defensive coordinator Clark Lea’s system, though if that is at drop or rush may yet need to be determined. He has the agility for the former, the frame to hold the size for the latter.”

Consensus four-star end Howard Cross — “Cross can both shove a blocker upfield and then turn his pursuit after a mobile quarterback. His overall skill set could use some development, but that should be expected at this point.”


Osita Ekwonu (

Early-enrolled consensus three-star Jack Kiser — “The comparisons to Drue Tranquill will be unfair to Kiser — that is a high bar to reach — but they are also too obvious to miss. An in-state, under-recruited linebacker that chooses the Irish over the Boilermakers? Kiser’s eventual showing will depend as much on physical development as Tranquill’s did on finding the right position.”

Consensus four-star Osita Ekwonu — “With athleticism to spare, Ekwonu could be a candidate at rover early in his career. Irish defensive coordinator Clark Lea can never have enough of those, but it is more likely Ekwonu stays inside to utilize his physicality, even if still needing a bit of weight to emphasize that.”

Consensus four-star J.D. Bertrand — “Odd handling of his commitment aside, Bertrand is a four-star linebacker out of Georgia. Take those when they are available and figure the rest out later. The risk is a burned roster spot. The risk is a high-impact player. Bertrand looks to skew toward the better end of that spectrum.”

Consensus three-star Marist Liufau — “Notre Dame’s success rate — even more precisely, Brian Polian’s success rate — with Hawaiian recruits has created a bit of leeway, not that Liufau should need it. He looks every bit the part of a solid contributor, with length just needing some heft courtesy of a collegiate strength and conditioning program. He has some experience as a defensive back, making that half of his game further along than would usually be expected.”

Kyle Hamilton

Consensus four-star safety Kyle Hamilton — “The praise for Hamilton has become universal, with hardly a hole in his game aside from the slightness that comes from not having spent time in a collegiate strength and conditioning program. Hamilton also excelled at receiver in high school, using his basketball instincts to routinely high-point the ball. He will not play there at Notre Dame, but his ability to track down the ball should still show itself.” four-star safety Litchfield Ajavon — “Ajavon will need to improve on his coverage skills, but that is somewhat typical of high school players accustomed to being the best athlete on the field in just about every game, and that seemed to be the case for Ajavon. He can already deliver a wallop, if nothing else.”

Consensus four-star cornerback Isaiah Rutherford — “Rutherford is a bit bigger than most cornerbacks, and that will show especially once he gets some more muscle on his frame. As long as he learns to use that to his advantage, Rutherford could become a real hassle for receivers on the boundary.” three-star cornerback KJ Wallace — “Wallace’s recruiting rankings are a bit up-and-down, which often points to a good amount of raw talent and subsequent questions about fine-tuning that potential. That is too much a reward not to risk.”

Early-enrolled consensus three-star punter Jay Bramblett — “Pity Bramblett, following current captain Tyler Newsome. Those will be big shoes to fill, on the field, in the locker room, and in the all-important category of outsized personality.”

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