1 – Reality Week: Today is the first Monday of February which means everything you read in this column will initially be replete with hyperbole and glowing platitudes but later at least half of it will be proven to be wildly off base drivel.
2 – Star(s) Matter: Cumulatively, that is. Programs that compile the most five and four-star prospects over three, four, or especially five successive recruiting cycles have a massive advantage toward a playoff bid or multiple seasons of championship contention thereafter. But the signing of a particular, singular five-star prospect rarely makes or breaks a quality program.
That said, if given my druthers, it’s clear that the potential signing of uber-athlete Demetris Robertson would bring with it a necessary, missing ingredient to Notre Dame’s recipe for success in 2017 and 2018…if not sooner.
3 – (Way) Off the Radar: 2015 was defined in part by the unexpected: Josh Adams, sophomore DeShone Kizer, junior Daniel Cage, and senior C.J. Prosise – none among the quartet was on our pre-Signing Day radar for the season-altering contributions they provided last fall.
In an effort to get ahead of the game in that regard I present for your consideration: freshman Deon McIntosh, sophomore Josh Barajas, junior Nic Weishar, and senior Colin McGovern.
4 – Too High? I enjoyed Tim Prister’s soon-to-be-published survey of the Irish Illustrated staff that asked us to rank Notre Dame’s 25 potential pledges (including Robertson, Caleb Kelly, and Jonathan Jones). Without full knowledge of others’ rankings my guess is I’m higher on the following than are my colleagues: Donte Vaughn, Julian Okwara, Chase Claypool, and Deon McIntosh.
Playing word (or phrase) association for each:
- Vaughn – Rangy, versatile
- Okwara – Burst, finisher
- Claypool – Footwork, frame
- McIntosh – Armando Allen (the ND version)
5 – Too Low? Because with a perceived positive must come a negative, it’s likely that each of the following foursome was lower on my list than the others’ list of 25: Javon McKinley, Tony Jones, Jr., Parker Boudreaux, D.J. Morgan…
6 – Position Switches/Tweaks: Aside from Jalen Elliott, who is clearly making the change from wide receiver to the defensive backfield: Spencer Perry (OLB), Khalid Kareem (DT), Adetokunbo Ogundeji (Multiple), Tommy Kraemer (OG – not exactly revolutionary).
And oh yeah, Jacob Matuska should definitely move to tight end, but this is supposed to be about the freshmen…
7 – Don’t Forget About Them: You celebrated them on Signing Day 2015 (and 2014), but the combined passage of time and lack of impact doesn’t mean they’re about to be overtaken by the next big things to be feted and fluffed (metaphorically, of course) on Wednesday: Nick Coleman, Jonathan Bonner, Jonathan Hayes, and … yep, I’m going there: Justin Brent, the wide receiver.
8 – The Best of: Brian Kelly’s Top College Performer organized by Scout.com star ranking:
- 5-Star: Jaylon Smith, runner-up Sheldon Day
- 4-Star: Will Fuller, runner-up Ronnie Stanley
- 3-Star: Nick Martin, runner-up Prince Shembo
- 2-Star/No Star: Joe Schmidt, runner-up Scott Daly
9 – And the Flip Side: Yep, we’re going there too (the oft-injured and those that transferred without playing not included):
- 5-Star: Ishaq Williams, runner-up (unlikely to be filled, but doubtless pending the 2016 season)
- 4-Star: Will Mahone, runner-up Greg Bryant
- 3-Star: Numerous. Voluminous. Staggering. Actually, this deserves its own column next week.
-- Five-star transfers from the program include Aaron Lynch (1 year), Gunner Kiel (0), Tee Shepard (0) and Eddie Vanderdoes (0) with Vanderoes leaving the biggest void among them. Davonte Neal (1 year) was a four-star per Scout.com
Until next week, Irish fans…