Irish keeping pace?

Notre Dame entered August with 13 commitments after a strong summer run. How does that compare to recent hauls? A strong July means the Irish are on track with quantity.

Now Notre Dame’s coaching staff will turn its full attention to the current roster.

Recruiting changes during August as coaches and prospects both begin training camps. Official visits begin with the season opener, which signals another opportunity to score commitments. Until then, many classes remain the same. In fact, in the past five recruiting classes the Irish have received just three August commitments: Sheldon Day, Jarron Jones and Will Fuller.

Notre Dame entered this August with 13 commitments, with defensive end Adetokunbo Ogundeji being the most recent. That means the class is more than half full before the official visit season opens next month.

Five of those commitments are rated four stars and ranked in the Scout300: offensive tackle Tommy Kraemer (29), offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg (63), running back Tony Jones Jr. (154), defensive end Julian Okwara (198) and wide receiver Chase Claypool (281).

“Right now, I think it is a good class,” said Scout.com Midwest recruiting manager Allen Trieu. “It is easy to look at the offensive line group as the bright spot in the class, but those guys are legitimate so I don’t mind taking that low hanging fruit. I think Eichenberg and Kraemer are both going to be multi-year starters and potential All-Americans. What I like most is they’re from great programs too. They’re going to come in ready to work and knowing how to work and how to compete against good competition.

“I haven't seen Parker Boudreaux as much, but he obviously had an outstanding offer list. But I wouldn't glaze over the skill talent in the class either. Having seen Tony Jones and Chase Claypool at a few camps, I think those guys are very talented and will be the beneficiary of those big hogs up front.”

How does this stack up with previous classes under Brian Kelly? Irish Illustrated took a closer look at the past few years with commitments on board before August listed in parentheses. Players who committed to Notre Dame but didn’t sign with the Irish aren’t included in these totals.

Class of 2015 (16)

Kelly and staff reeled in 16 of its 23 signees before last year’s fall camp.

Jerry Tillery had been committed for more than year. Tristen Hoge committed in the winter. They made up a group of eight four-star prospects in the fold before official visits started. June was predictably kind, netting seven commitments, including cornerback Shaun Crawford.

Four-star wide receiver Miles Boykin capped off the pre-camp run by giving a verbal pledge in early July.

Notre Dame wouldn’t land another commitment until Brandon Wimbush in October. Five of the seven prospects to finish out the class either during or after the season were ranked in the Scout 300.

Class of 2014 (14)

Fourteen commitments before camp isn’t a huge number, but this haul was unique in its own way.

Greer Martini, Justin Brent, Jay Hayes and Jimmy Byrne — all four-star prospects — committed before the spring of their junior year in high school. Ten more came on board in the ensuing months and all but two, kicker Tyler Newsome and defensive end Jonathan Bonner, had a four-star designation.

Corey Holmes finished off the pre-camp group with a mid-July commitment. The next commitment wouldn’t come until Nov. 1 when Nick Watkins popped.

Class of 2013 (15)

Steve Elmer committed during the fall of his junior year then waited awhile for others to join the party.

Notre Dame scored eight commitments in March with junior days, headlined by Malik Zaire and Corey Robinson. June also packed a punch as it delivered five-star linebacker Jaylon Smith and four-star defensive end Isaac Rochell out of SEC country. Not included in this 15-man pre-camp total is linebacker Alex Anzalone, who committed in July and dropped the Irish in December for Florida.

Four-star receiver Will Fuller offered up a rare camp time commitment, pulling the trigger Aug. 5. Not counting Fuller, 12 of the 15 pre-camp commitments were ranked.

But the real star power, outside Smith, came after the season as Notre Dame filled out the class. Greg Bryant, Tarean Folston, Max Redfield and Durham Smythe all came on board in December or later.

Class of 2012 (8)

It should come as no surprise this class represents the greatest spring and summer shortfall.

Notre Dame only signed 17 players total. It went without a commitment at all until March when Tee Shepard committed, kicking off an ill-fated relationship. Nicky Baratti and Scott Daly came on board during the spring game.

May brought three more commitments, headlined by C.J. Prosise. Romeo Okwara jumped on his offer in July. Only Prosise was ranked. Oddly, this was the best preseason recruiting run of the Kelly era with Sheldon Day and Jarron Jones both committing in August.

Class of 2011 (13)

Perhaps the most volatile class Kelly recruited and arguably the most talented.

Stephon Tuitt, Aaron Lynch and Ishaq Williams would all be part of the fold before it was all said and done, although with many twists and turns.

It started out with Brad Carrico in March followed by seven in April, which included Jarrett Grace, Ben Koyack and Matt Hegarty. Eilar Hardy and Ben Councell came on board in June. Lynch, Jalen Brown and Anthony Rabasa all committed within 24 hours on July 30, as did running back Justice Hayes, who never signed with the Irish.

Over this time, Notre Dame has averaged 13.2 commitments before August. That puts this year’s haul right on the mark with somewhere between seven to nine spots remaining between now and National Signing Day.


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