Matt Cashore / IrishIllustrated.com

National Signing Day Primer

Here’s what you need to know as Notre Dame readies for National Signing Day.

1. Will the Irish finish with the Top 10 class?

Notre Dame is currently positioned eighth nationally in team recruiting rankings with 22 verbal commitments. Combined, those prospects average 3.50 stars, which represents the second-lowest figure of the Brian Kelly era.

At present, Notre Dame’s class consists of 11 four-stars and 11 three-stars. The Irish are the highest-ranked team without a five-star in the class.

Notre Dame has three Top 100 committed prospects in offensive tackle Tommy Kraemer (37), wide receiver Javon McKinley (55) and offensive tackle Liam Eichenberg (79).

LSU, Ohio State, and Ole Miss currently top the fluid list of rankings.

2. Will five-star athlete Demetris Robertson sign?

Robertson has delivered enough public deception throughout the process to render his signing an enigma.

Much of the erratic sequence of events that has been difficult to track has stemmed from the multiple scheduling of visits on Robertson’s end only to be cancelled at the last minute.

Notre Dame received an official visit from Robertson for its season-opener against Texas. Georgia Tech received an official visit last weekend, but the primary motive behind the last-minute trip to the ACC in-state program was thought to center around a glorified family visit, with Robertson’s mom calling Atlanta home. 

For now, Robertson does not plan to put pen to paper on signing day. His intentions are to push back his decision date to mid-February.

Georgia is on the schedule to receive an official visit from Robertson next weekend.

Could Notre Dame ink Robertson on signing day? That’s what the Irish staff has been pushing for, but they’re not holding their breath.

If Robertson does indeed go quiet on Wednesday, Notre Dame will find itself heading back to battle, with the Bulldogs the primary competition.     

Note that no in-home visits by any school will be allowed with Robertson after signing day, but unlimited phone calls, text messages and mail are permitted.  

3.  Any surefire guarantees?

Nothing is ever foolproof on National Signing Day, except maybe the phrase “diamond in the rough” being thrown around upwards of 50 times and fax machines being utilized more than they have all year. Credit to Notre Dame for going digital this year, ditching the fax all together.

But three-star linebacker Jonathan Jones signing with the Irish is almost an infallible projection at this point. Jones, a product of Orlando (Fla.) Oak Ridge considers Notre Dame and Michigan his top two; his offer list also includes Florida, Florida State, LSU, Miami, Oklahoma, Ole Miss and Stanford.

4. Notre Dame or Oklahoma for five-star linebacker Caleb Kelly?

In December, Kelly was considered a heavy Oklahoma favorite by national pundits. Notre Dame stole the show in late January, but in-home visits and the inevitable twists and turns down the stretch appear to have turned the outlook back in favor of the Sooners.

While we aren’t discounting Notre Dame, our information suggests it is not the favorite tomorrow. 

5. Will Notre Dame land any major surprises?

Notre Dame will be a hat on the table, so to speak, for five-star linebacker Ben Davis of Gordo, Ala. and four-star linebacker Jeffrey McCulloch of Houston, Texas.

Both are expected to stay home and play for their respective in-state powerhouse programs, the Tide and Longhorns.

Of the two, Notre Dame has the best shot of pulling the upset with Davis, who would be the ultimate signing day cannonball for the Irish should he choose Notre Dame over Alabama, where he’s a legacy.  

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly went in-home with Davis last week, and the Irish followed up days later with a visit from the Notre Dame football equipment truck, a recruiting endeavor that garnered national attention.

Notre Dame peaked in December for McCulloch, but a decision to delay an announcement beyond the Under Armour All-America game proved too difficult to overcome, and the Irish faded down the stretch.

6. Notre Dame’s uncommitted targets will announce their signing day decisions beginning as early as 10 a.m. ET with the last expected at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Click here for a rundown of announcement times.  

Kelly will hold his signing day press conference at 1 p.m. ET in the Isban Auditorium of the Guglielmino Athletics Complex.


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