Notre Dame finished with four prospects in the final Scout 100.
AT THE TOP OF THE LIST
DE - Aaron Lynch – Cape Coral, Florida
The top Irish pledge is the defensive end that made a great jump towards the end of the rankings to secure his spot as one of the top players in the country. The recruiting battle for the on-and-off pledge ended with Lynch taking his official visit to Notre Dame, leaving campus and returning within a short period of time to start classes. Overall, Lynch finished as the 10th overall ranked player by Scout.com.
IE Thoughts: This is where Lynch should be in the rankings as he showed all season the upside he will bring to South Bend.
NOT FAR BEHIND
DE - Ishaq Williams – Brooklyn, New York
As the 20th overall player in the rankings, Williams left no doubts with his All-American performance and continued progress during the past two seasons. Like Lynch, much is expected out of the New York native as he moves from defensive end to outside linebacker during the spring as he has already started classes in South Bend.
IE Thoughts: Another homerun for Brian Kelly and his staff as they were able to close Williams when all looked and expected him to go somewhere else.
BACK WHERE HE BELONGS
TE - Ben Koyack – Oil City, Pennsylvania
Koyack once was a 5-star member of the Scout.com before having others pass him buy. However, once the Scout recruiting team saw Koyack in action during All-American preparations, they were sold he was the top tight end.
IE Thoughts: Not surprised about the move back up to 5-star status. The Irish wanted Koyack and got an early pledge that he never really looked to change. Koyack should be expected to compete early during his college career.
BACK WITH THE IRISH
DE – Stephon Tuitt – Monroe, Georgia The week has been a wild one for the Irish and Tuitt, as of Wednesday night, Tuitt was back on board with Notre Dame after getting an in-home visit from Irish head coach Brian Kelly and a couple of assistant coaches. With Tuitt now headed to South Bend, the Irish have done a great job of getting four of the Top 100 players in the country according to Scout.com. Tuitt finished as the 44-th overall ranked player and the 10-th defensive end in the country. IE Thoughts: Nothing comes easy, and with one of the top players in the country going back and forth, Brian Kelly wasted little time in making sure the Georgia native and his mother understood just where they see his future. Combine the talents of Tuitt to those of Aaron Lynch, and Notre Dame has a great one-two-punch for a few years to come.
DE – Stephon Tuitt – Monroe, Georgia
The week has been a wild one for the Irish and Tuitt, as of Wednesday night, Tuitt was back on board with Notre Dame after getting an in-home visit from Irish head coach Brian Kelly and a couple of assistant coaches.
With Tuitt now headed to South Bend, the Irish have done a great job of getting four of the Top 100 players in the country according to Scout.com. Tuitt finished as the 44-th overall ranked player and the 10-th defensive end in the country.
IE Thoughts: Nothing comes easy, and with one of the top players in the country going back and forth, Brian Kelly wasted little time in making sure the Georgia native and his mother understood just where they see his future. Combine the talents of Tuitt to those of Aaron Lynch, and Notre Dame has a great one-two-punch for a few years to come.
THE NEXT 100
We continue our look at Notre Dame pledges with those who made the Top 300 but not the Top 100.
OT - Matt Hegarty – Aztec, New Mexico
Showing the willingness to go and see as many prospects as possible helped Matt Hegarty find a spot as the 105th overall prospect. The ranking places him just outside the Top Ten overall at the offensive tackle position, however, he showed well during All-American prep and Irish fans should be excited about his future.
IE Thoughts: If Hegarty was in a more football producing state, he might have found himself sitting a little higher. However, he has the size and skill set to do well at Notre Dame.
WR - DaVaris Daniels – Vernon Hills, Illinois
Daniels showed his upside during All-American prep and that helped him keep his high status in the Scout.com 300 as the 161st overall prospect. Built with the size Brian Kelly likes out of his receivers, Daniels will have a chance to prosper in the coming years.
IE Thoughts: Some had Daniels going down before his performance in Florida. One thing I have learned about Brian Kelly is he is meticulous about quarterbacks and wide receivers. Daniels should do well in South Bend.
S – Eilar Hardy – Pickerington, Ohio
Hardy finished as the 175th overall player in the country and was a key reason his high school team had great success the past couple of seasons. While ranked as a safety, Hardy could end up being a corner as the Irish like to have taller defensive backs than most.
IE Thoughts: Despite fighting injuries all season, Hardy fought and showed why he was one of the top players in the country with his overall performance on both sides of the ball. A competitor, Hardy will be looked at early to get on the field.
THE FINAL 100
LB – Jarrett Grace – Cincinnati, Ohio
Grace is listed as an outside backer with many feeling he will be moving inside at Notre Dame. Grace fought off some early season injuries and finished with a solid season helping Colerain reach the playoffs. It should be interesting to see how Grace does early at Notre Dame as he finished as the 235th overall player.
IE Thoughts: Everyone who watches Grace expects good things out of him at the college level. If he can stay away from injuries, he could become a very interesting player to watch in the college game with his physical size at linebacker.
QB – Everett Golson – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Golson found himself ranked as the 254th overall prospect and 15th quarterback in the Class of 2011. The Irish went after some of the bigger names; however, they found a quarterback with the skill set to do many things in Brian Kelly's system. Some will question the physical height of Golson but do not pay too much attention to it.
IE Thoughts: As I stated the height of Golson will have some questioning Kelly's desire to go after him. In Brian Kelly's offense, there are passing lanes set up to allow for a player like Golson to have no problem getting the ball to receivers. The ability to scramble and extend plays is the key to his future success.
SOMETHING TO PROVE?
Notre Dame finished with eight players in the Top 300 of the final Scout.com ranking. Who did not make the Top 300 that will show in college they belonged?
RB/WR – George Atkinson – Livermore, California
Trust me when I say the Irish are very excited with the offensive skill set Atkinson will bring to South Bend. The offensive staff expects Atkinson to be a major playmaker and I agree with their assessment.
DL / OL – Tony Springmann – Fort Wayne, Indiana
I first saw Springmann two years ago at a Scout.com combine and was sold he had the future of a big-time offensive tackle. Because of his athletic ability, he will get a start on the defensive side of the football. However, if he would to move to offensive tackle, look out because he has all the tools to be a great one.