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The Sports Daily > Golden Domer Daily
2017 Notre Dame Recruiting Questionnaire

With National Signing Day in the rear-view mirror, 2016 is finally behind us and Notre Dame football fans can look forward to the Spring. It was an eventful last few months, as Notre Dame saw several players leave the class and many others jump on board. The new staff did a tremendous job down the stretch considering everything going on, and ultimately ended up with 21 recruits and a consensus top 15 class.

I was able to sit down with my recruiting partner Carlee here at Golden Domer Daily and talk about the 2017 class. We wanted to provide Irish fans with a fun post-signing day piece and give some insight on the recruits and how we think they will fare. Please, share with us your thoughts as well.

Favorite Recruit?

Carlee:

TE Brock Wright. This will also go into the next question but I think Brock is something very special and could be the next great TE at Notre Dame. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Cole Kmet as well but there’s just something about Wright that jumps out to me. From what I’ve seen, he’s a very sharp kid and is a perfect fit for what Notre Dame stands for. Can’t wait to see what’s next for Brock. By far my favorite recruit.

Nathan:

RB CJ Holmes. By no means am I calling CJ the best recruit in this class, but he definitely stands out as my favorite. Holmes will remind Notre Dame fans a lot of CJ Prosise and Theo Riddick due to his shiftiness, speed, and ability to spread out wide as a WR. It is easy to like Holmes because of his personality and overall love for Notre Dame, but don’t sleep on him as a prospect. I expect he will be a major factor at RB as early as 2018.

Most upside?

Carlee:

TE Brock Wright. As I said in the previous question, I think Brock is going to be a star in South Bend. His size, blocking, and catching ability is something I’ve rarely seen all come together as a senior in high school and he already has it all. He could very much be in play this fall, alongside Alize Jones and Durham Smythe. Very excited about Brock and the tight end position.

Nathan:

TE Brock Wright. This was tough decision between the two TEs in this class. Cole Kmet could have easily been the answer here, but Wright’s upside as a blocker as well as a pass catcher gives him the edge here. Wright has 1st round prospect written all over him, and will push for playing time next season.

Most likely to be a first rounder?

Carlee:

OL Joshua Lugg. I could really pick any of the offensive lineman in this class because I truly think all have tremendous upside but at this point I think Lugg is the most “ready” to begin the learning process from one of the greatest OL coaches in the country, Harry Hiestand. Anytime he gets his hands on these lineman I have very high hopes for them to get to the next level, a testament to Hiestand and what he does. Lugg stands out to me for being a first round lineman, but I think there could be multiple in this class.

Nathan:

TE Cole Kmet. Again, this was a tough decision between the two TEs. Both have tremendous upside and give Notre Dame by far the best TE class in the country. Kmet’s upside as a pass catcher is second to none in this class at the position, and that will give him an advantage come draft day. He will remind Notre Dame fans of Tyler Eifert. He has that type of ability.

Most underrated?

Carlee:

DE Jonathon MacCollister. This one was tough, it came down to him and Drew White but I think he is massively disrespected among scouts and rankings. I think the speed is there and once he gets into the weight room and system, I really think he’s going to surprise a lot of people. Maybe this is a reach or maybe I’m just hoping he explodes but we’ll see…

Nathan:

WR Michael Young. The easy answer here would have been linebacker Drew White, but Young gets my vote. The only reason this kid is not a high four-star is because of his size. The same thing that knocked Will Fuller down as a recruit, and we all know how that turned out. Young is a terrific route runner, has strong hands, plays physical, and can take the top off the defense. Teams and recruiting analyst will regret overlooking this kid.

Biggest recruiting disappointment?

Carlee:

Cornerback. Yes, the Irish had a really good class last year at corner and yes most of them actually contributed their freshman year, and yes most of them were very impressive but it’s almost mind blowing that we didn’t land 1 cornerback for the entire cycle. I’ve always said this but no matter what your past recruiting cycles have been, you should always AT LEAST take one recruit for each position. For the staff to miss throughout their entire prospect board, it’s a major head scratcher. At the moment we don’t have depth issues but let’s hope injuries don’t begin to pile up during spring and fall.. next years class should be loaded.

Nathan:

7 de-commitments. I don’t think it is enough to say that the staff whiffed at corner and missed out on an elite edge rusher. However, losing 7 athletes that were once committed to your program is a punch to the gut and leaves fans with that “what could have been” feeling. Notre Dame lost out on a ton of talent this cycle in DE Robert Beal, DE Donovan Jeter, CB Paulson Adebo, OLB Pete Werner, CB Elijah Hicks, WR Jordan Pouncey, and longtime silent commit CB Thomas Graham. Imagine adding those to this class and tell me that is not the biggest recruiting disappointment.

Biggest freshman impact?

Carlee:

DT Darnell Ewell. Having depth concerns on the defensive line, I think he could make an immediate impact as a freshman. If he learns the scheme quick and kills it in the weight room I think he’ll be a solid rotation player throughout his freshman year.

Nathan:

DT Darnell Ewell. Carlee and I definitely agree here. Losing Sheldon Day and Jarron Jones in back to back drafts is a tough blow to the interior defensive line. Ewell is best defensive tackle Notre Dame has landed since Day. He’s physically ready in both his upper body strength and lower body leverage. I fully expect Ewell to make an immediate impact.

Most likely to win scout team MVP?  

Carlee:

LB Drew White. Like MacCollister, I think White is extremely overlooked and will be a very solid player at Notre Dame. Because of depth at LB and the 2 deep basically already locked up, he’s going to redshirt and I think he will be very productive on Scout team. The high school talent he went up against week in and week out in Florida doesn’t hurt either. Don’t sleep on Drew..

Nathan:

LB Drew White. Another agreement from myself and Carlee. As I mentioned earlier, White would have been the easy choice for most underrated recruit and I think he proves that as a redshirt freshman this year. I don’t see him making an immediate impact on Saturdays due mainly to depth, but he will consistently show in practice why Notre Dame prioritized his recruitment from the start. He’s everything you want in an inside linebacker.

Most Underrated Position Group?

Carlee:

Safety. With early enrollee Isaiah Robertson already on campus, and the late additions of Jordan Genmark Heath and hybrid Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, I think this is by far the most underrated group. Each one has a unique skill to be able to bring different looks on the back end of the defensive. We’ll see how Elko and Co. transition these guys into the new defense but I think we should all be optimistic about these 3 players. I’m not too worried about the safety position after these past two cycles.

Nathan:

Interior Defensive Line. I’ve touched on Ewell. Simply put, he is a stud. The other players across the defensive line are not to be overlooked though. Kurt Hinish was a very productive high school football player in one of the best leagues in Pennsylvania. He’s an underrated athlete, and plays with a tremendous motor. Give him a year to develop and we might be talking about him as the most underrated player in the class. The new staff, and specifically Brian Polian, were outstanding in their pursuit for Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa. He took some time to develop in HS, but broke out his senior year. Notre Dame is getting a very good player with tremendous upside. Lastly, we have Jonathon McCollister. MacCollister is naturally strong and plays with a tremendous motor. He will take some time to develop, but get him in the weight room and the sky is the limit at SDE position.

Best Position Group?

Carlee:

Offensive Line. I think it’s hard not to look at these four lineman and get extremely excited about what’s to come. The consistent depth and talent that Hiestand brings to South Bend in the trenches is just outstanding. It might be the best overall OL group throughout the country. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lugg and Banks even push for some playing time throughout next year. Now we wait and see how they physically develop and how fast they learn the playbook for the fall.

Nathan:

Tight End. This one wasn’t even close for me. Notre Dame has landed themselves the best TE tandem in the country, and newly hired offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Chip Long has to be salivating over the possibilities. Both players already possess traits that NFL teams covet at the position and should have a much easier transition than most recruits from high school to college. Brock Wright is a ready to go blocker right now, while also showing the capability to beat college linebackers and safeties through the air. Cole Kmet reminds me of Tyler Eifert, and while his upside as a pass-catcher is superior to Wright’s, his blocking ability should not be overlooked. Both of these guys have 1st round NFL talent written all over them.