I am always a little skeptical about the value of "rankings" for recruiting classes...
For one thing, Notre Dame is at a disadvantage because we are not able to bring in as many players as schools who do not retain as many players as we do.
Another problem with rankings is that they don’t evaluate how you meet your needs. For example, if Notre Dame brought in two five star defensive tackles and two five star middle linebackers and nobody else we would get a bad rating, but those are the only pressing needs on this year’s team and it would likely translate to immediate impact on the field.
On the other hand, if a team brings in a lot of great players who cannot start behind returning veterans, their high ranking won’t likely result in an immediate payoff. Also, there are many players who are difficult to recruit by the big boys, either because of character or academic concerns or because they have low star rankings because of their level of competition.
In any case, there is a form of “ranking” that I like to examine. I like to see who the other finalists were for our committed players. Let’s look at this year’s class, with my comments added:
Justin Brent Ohio State and Louisville
We were on to him very early, which likely won him over to us. As people got a chance to look at him, his stock soared. He has tremendous physical tools. There is a workout video on him showing how hard he works. He’s a wide receiver with side and speed. Kelly expressed amazement at his physique.
Jonathan Bonner Missouri, Michigan State, and Tennessee
He is a big kid who looks like a future star at DE. He’s another kid we found before the rest of the country caught up with him.
Corey Holmes UCLA, Florida, and Oklahoma
Not needed at WR this time, so he can put on some pounds. From one of the country’s top programs.
Nyles Morgan Vanderbilt and Old Miss
Has a great chance to start at middle linebacker. Great athlete. Was offered by a much better list than the two who he named as finalists.
Tyler Newsome Air Force
Difficult to evaluate place kickers. We offered him early and that ended things.
Nic Weishar Michigan and Northwestern
Looks to me like a Tyler Eifert clone. A tall, lanky, tight end who looks like a wide receiver.
Andrew Trumbetti Florida and Stanford
Looks like those rugged Stanford defensive linemen.
Jimmy Byrne Ohio State
The LOWEST rated (!) of our four incoming O-linemen and he’s a highly regarded guy from one of the top high schools in the country!
Deshone Kizer LSU, Tennessee, and Michigan State
A VERY big QB, fit for the spread. Great athlete.
Pete Mokwuah Rutgers
We got him to decommit from Rutgers, late in the process. A body type like Louis Nix, although a little taller and “slimmer”. Met a critical need.
Nile Sykes Syracuse, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, and South Florida
Our competition was from a slightly lower tier, perhaps because he was playing LB for the first time, having been a DE.
Jhonny Williams Missouri and Toledo
Seems like the perfect example of a below the radar player that stars at a lower tier school. Great three sport athlete. Could be our next Justin Tuck, at DE.
Alex Bars Tennessee, Florida, Penn State, and Michigan
A giant OT who will redshirt. Has two older brothers plat at Penn State and Michigan.
Jay Hayes Stanford, Florida State, Michigan , Ohio State, Boston College, USC, Oregon
Great character kid. Some doubt where he will play……DE, DT, or OL.
Tyler Luatua Alabama
More of an in-line TE than a down field guy. Wide-bodied.
Sam Mustipher Michigan, Ohio State, and Maryland
High character guy. I loved his video as an OG. Flattens guys and stays on them.
Drue Tranquill Purdue
Reminds me of Zeke Motta. Could be a safety or linebacker.
Grant Blankenship Oklahoma, Oregon, Northwestern, and Cal
We are building up a great stockpile of DE’s, who are all in the 6-4/6-5 250-260 mold.
Kolin Hill Texas, Boise State, and Colorado
A nice, under the radar, LB we picked up before the rest of the country caught on to him. Texas went after him too late.
Greer Martini Maryland and North Carolina State
Another good pick because we were there early.
Quenton Nelson Penn State, Ohio State, Boston College, and Rutgers
One of the top OT’s in the country. Loved his video.
Nick Watkins UCLA, USC, Florida State, and Baylor
Another son of an NFL player. Fine CB prospect, from a fine program. For the first time in a long time, we seem to have stacked up some great REAL corners, the second toughest position (behind NT) to recruit for ND.
Notre Dame also stands a good chance to get Cody Riggs, for his final year of eligibility, after starring as a DB at Florida. He’s a fine corner, and son of a former NFL star. He was one of the top players coming out of high school, but ND lost out to Florida, during the Charlie Weis changeover.