IrishEyes.com continues its signing day coverage with a profile of the class's top-ranked running back prospect
Will Mahone (Running Back – 6'0" 205 pounds):
The Scout.com four-star prospect assuaged angst among the team's fan base with his October 2011 commitment. While the offensive backfield is in good hands for 2012, its possible true senior Theo Riddick
and fourth-year junior Cierre Wood
could both exit the program after graduating next fall and an athlete of Mahone's caliber was an essential addition to this recruiting haul. Irish fans expect Mahone to fill the role vacated by senior star Jonas Gray
though patience will again be a virtue regarding the talented Mahone's development: it took Gray four seasons to make a dent from scrimmage. The Irish offense likely needs Mahone to develop more quickly than did Gray though it'd be an ideal situation for Wood to return for a 5th-season in 2013, thus allowing a massive battle to ensue for a backup/complimentary role alongside him next spring. If the compact Mahone can show a knack for goal line or short-yardage ability next August, he could find a role during the fall.
Kelly Recruiting Profile: Skill
*Veterans returning at running back: Senior Theo Riddick; redshirt-junior Cierre Wood; redshirt-sophomore Cameron Roberson; sophomores Cam McDaniel, George Atkinson, and Amir Carlisle. Carlisle is a 2011 class member that transferred from to the University in January. He earned a monogram from USC last fall. (*denotes eligibility entering 2012)
Fellow incoming running back prospect: Keivarae Russell
Berk on Mahone: Strong physical runner who has a lot of tread left on his legs. Compact back who can run inside or outside with great cutback ability and acceleration. Because of the quality of other Irish commits on offense, Mahone does not get the props he deserves.
Dohn on Mahone: A bigger back, which is something Notre Dame needed in the class, gives the Kelly a short-yardage type of player who can also break a big run. Mahone is athletic and has a good burst through the line of scrimmage.
Mahone's high school coach on his Pledge to the Irish (column)
Mahone's Pledge to the Irish (Video)
IE Breakdown: Will Mahone
Part I and Part II of Dave Berk's interview with Celia Mahone
All on Will Mahone (A collection of video is available at the bottom of the page.)