Hidden Gems

Half of Brian Kelly's first recruiting class, one pieced together on the fly, has already made its field debut.

National Signing Day 2010 saw 23 faxed names cross Brian Kelly's desk, though just 19 remain following the tragic death of Matt James, two pre-season 2010 transfers, and a two-year religious mission to Ecuador for Chris Badger, who will return in 2012.

Below is a look at how the current class fared in its first season at the program, with nine members earning playing time, thus helping the team to an 8-5 record that included a Sun Bowl victory.

Class Superlatives

A 4-0 regular season finish this year would make the recruiting class of 2010 the first to complete two undefeated Novembers since the class of 1997, who collectively turned the trick in November '97 and as seniors in 2000.

  • Record at home: 4-3
  • Record on the road: 2-2
  • Neutral record (regular season): 1-0
  • Bowl record: 1-0
  • Longest Winning Streak: Four (and counting: Utah, Army, USC, Miami)
  • Longest Losing Streak: Three – Last September (Michigan, Michigan State, Stanford)
  • Longest home winning streak: 2 (October 2010 vs. Pittsburgh and Western Michigan)
  • Longest road winning streak: N/A (or 1 two occasions)
  • Record vs. Top 25 opponents: 1-1 (defeated Utah, lost to Stanford)
  • Record vs. teams that finished with a winning record: 6-5
  • Record vs. teams that finished with a losing record: 1-0 (also defeated 6-6 Western Michigan)
  • September Record: 1-3
  • October Record: 3-2
  • November Record: 3-0
  • December Record: 1-0
  • Record prior to Bye Week: 0-1
  • Record following Bye Week: 1-0
  • Record in prime time: 3-1

Class of 2010 Individual Leaders (through 13 games):

Tommy Rees, T.J. Jones, and Prince Shembo dominated statistically, though nine freshmen earned monograms last fall, one more than in 2009 and two more than 2008.

  • Leading Receiver: T.J. Jones (23 receptions, 306 yards, 3 TD)
  • Leading Rusher: N/A (Cameron Roberson, the class's only ‘back, was withheld from action last fall)>
  • Leading Passer: Rees (100-164, 1,106 yards, 12 TD, 8 INT)
  • Longest TD Scored: Jones, 53 yards from Dayne Crist vs. Michigan.
  • Most Tackles: Prince Shembo (15)
  • Most Tackles for Loss: Shembo (5)
  • Most Interceptions: None
  • Most Sacks: Shembo (4.5)
  • Most Games Played: Shembo (13)
  • Most Career Starts: Jones (7)
  • Total Touchdowns Scored: 3 (Jones)

  • Offensive MVP to date: QB Tommy Rees
  • Defensive MVP to date: OLB Prince Shembo
  • Special Teams MVP to date: Bennett Jackson (the team's Special Teams Player of the Year in 2010)
  • Best individual games to date: Rees vs. Miami (15-29, 2 TD, 0 INT, 201 yards). Defense: Shembo vs. Boston College (Two 3rd down sacks, the first of which forced a fumble). Special Teams: Jackson vs. Purdue (Three solos and an assisted tackle in kick-off coverage – Jackson's first three tackles marked the first trio of the season for the Irish coverage units).

  • Aggregate Starts: 11 (Jones 7; Rees 4)
  • Likely 2011 Starters: T.J. Jones, Prince Shembo
  • Possible 2011 Starting Assignments: Tommy Rees, Louis Nix, Danny Spond
  • Likely Two-deep Contributors: Kona Schwenke, Bennett Jackson, Christian Lombard, Tate Nichols, Andrew Hendrix, Austin Collinsworth, Daniel Smith, Kendall Moore, Lo Wood, Alex Welch
  • Depth Chart competitors: Bruce Heggie, Justin Utupo, Luke Massa, Cameron Roberson (injured, expected to return for Spring 2012).
  • 2010 Monogram winners: Collinsworth, Jackson, Jones, Rees, Schwenke, Shembo, Smith, Spond, Wood
  • 2010 Withheld from action: Heggie, Hendrix, Lombard, Massa, Moore, Nichols, Nix, Roberson, Utupo, Welch (and Badger due to his religious mission).
  • Transferred Players: Derek Roback and Spencer Boyd

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