Irisheyes.com recruiting analyst Anna Hickey and publisher Tim O'Malley break down the best of the best (and worst of the worst) in Notre Dame's 2014 recruiting class.
Class of 2014 Superlatives
Anna's picks are first, Tim's are second:
Recruiter of the year:
Harry Hiestand, Mike Elston
Most likely to become a captain during Irish tenure:
Drue Tranquill, Sam Mustipher
Nyles Morgan, Drue Tranquill
Passes the eye test:
Justin Brent, Justin Brent
Best position group:
Outside linebacker/Defensive end, Offensive Line
Worst recruiting saga:
Isaiah McKenzie, Isaiah McKenzie
Elijah Hood, Juju Smith
Surprisingly, he didn't go Irish:
Payton Hendrix, Isaiah McKenzie
Didn't see this coming in September:
Nyles Morgan, Kolin Hill
Jhonathon Williams, Jhonathon Williams/Jonathan Bonner
Check back in two years:
DeShone Kizer, Alex Bars
Would have been nice…
Thomas Holley, Juju Smith
One that got away that will be missed:
Matt Dickerson, Matt Dickerson
One that got away that will not be missed:
Matt Elam, Elijah Hood
Anna's Top 5:
1. Quenton Nelson (OT or OG)
2. Nyles Morgan (ILB)
3. Grant Blankenship (DE)
4. Andrew Trumbetti (DE)
5. Jhonathon Williams (DE)
Tim's Top 5:
1. Quenton Nelson (G)
2. Andrew Trumbetti (DE)
3. Justin Brent (WR)
4. Nyles Morgan (ILB)
5. Jhonathan Williams (DE) and Jonathan Bonner (OLB)
-- It goes without saying Bob Diaco and Brian VanGorder differ on the types of players they recruit. Defensive line, you can pinpoint glaring differences. VanGorder was high on Michael Sawyers, Pete Mokwuah, Courtney Griffin and Daniel Cage, whereas Diaco chose to pass on all four without an afterthought. Cornerback, as well. Terrence Alexander, who doesn't clear 5-foot-11, makes up for his lack of height in other areas, such as ball skills and instinct, according to VanGorder.
-- As it appears now, VanGorder will take over Diaco's place recruiting the Northeast. My bet is that he'll be a better recruiter than Diaco. I think you got a taste of what he's all about on the trail by how much ground the Irish made up for Courtney Garnett, who was seemingly a lock to Oklahoma before his official visit to Notre Dame
, which included a lengthy conversation with VanGorder about his NFL background.
-- The staff did a great job in this class of identifying prospects they liked in person or on film and following through with an offer. Kolin Hill, Jhonathon Williams, Nile Sykes, Jonathan Bonner... Those four under-the-radar guys could really turn out to be the bread and butter of this year's class.
-- Speed, speed, speed. Front seven, quarterback, wide out, and cornerback. That, coupled with the outstanding footwork of the four offensive linemen, (which Kelly mentioned multiple times in today's presser) and Notre Dame bolsters the team's average 40-yard dash with the addition of this class.
-- The offensive line class was in place by June. Usually, quarterback is the first position to be locked up, but not when you have Harry Hiestand on your side. 2015 looks to continue that trend, with Jerry Tillery
and Tristen Hoge
already on board. Hiestand is a knockout recruiter when it comes to relating with the big uglies on offense.
-- Four decommitments (Hood, Dickerson, Yeargin, McKenzie) in one class are usually a sign of attrition on the coaching staff or of a mediocre season, but neither seemed to play a pivotal role in the cases of these four prospects. Even though Notre Dame was able to sign Pete Mokwuah and Daniel Cage late in the process, the loss of Matt Dickerson was most hurtful from a depth standpoint. Dickerson possesses the versatility to play either end or tackle. On the flip side, understated of the storylines in this class was the staff's ability to reel in Nyles Morgan despite losing Martin and Diaco, and so was keeping Kolin Hill on board, who received a late offer from childhood favorite Texas.
-- With Michiah Quick
signing with the Sooners, and Juju Smith a seemingly sure bet to either USC or Oregon, Notre Dame appears to be done with the 2014 class. Check back later this evening for a position-by-position breakdown of Notre Dame's 2014 class. Also included will be a look in the rearview at the numbers' haul from the 2013 class, as well as a glance ahead to needs that should be addressed in 2015.
Look for additional quick-hitters as well from Tim in a follow-up post.