WHAT NOTRE DAME HAS
Notre Dame added its first linebacker commitment on Sunday evening when David Adams chose Notre Dame over offers from Florida, LSU, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Stanford, Virginia Tech, and Wisconsin, among others.
Adams projects as a middle linebacker in Notre Dame’s scheme. He plays exactly how you would expect an elite middle linebacker from a Midwest Catholic school to play – tough-nosed, physical, and instinctive and with a non-stop motor.
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound linebacker is more than a downhill plug that stops the run; he’s capable of playing gap-to-gap and dropping in pass coverage. His vast skillset and lack of any true physical shortcomings attributed to his development as a national prospect.
Notre Dame offered Adams months before Florida, LSU and Michigan did, which all offered after Adams’ junior season. The early attention Notre Dame gave Adams played a factor, in addition to Notre Dame’s high-level combination of academics and athletics and Adams’ relationship with the coaching staff.
Adams ranks as the East region’s third-ranked inside linebacker and Scout’s 101st overall prospect in 2017.
WHY IT MATTERS
Adams added a Notre Dame offer last fall, barely two months after his first visit to campus. That visit occurred in early August alongside teammate and former Notre Dame target in the Class of 2016, four-star cornerback Damar Hamlin.
Notre Dame went to the end with Hamlin, who ultimately stayed home and signed with Pittsburgh. Despite Hamlin’s decision, Notre Dame’s lengthy involvement in the high-profile recruitment gave Adams gained increased exposure to how the Irish operated.
Adams is Notre Dame’s second commitment from the list of visitors that attended Junior Day last weekend. Fellow Pittsburgh native defensive tackle Kurt Hinish, who is expected to choose the Irish this evening, could be the third.
Brian Kelly’s staff has plucked a few notable prospects from Pennsylvania, but it was Philadelphia that spurred much of that success. Adams is Kelly’s first prospect from Pittsburgh to choose Notre Dame.
Adams is Notre Dame’s sixth commitment in 2017 and gives the Irish the seventh-ranked class, trailing only Ohio State, Oklahoma, Clemson, Alabama, Miami and Florida State.
Notre Dame wants sign three to four linebackers this class. With a big time Mike linebacker on board, Will and Sam prospects will be the emphasis moving forward. Weak-side prospects with the versatility to play the Mike position will be coveted.
Middle linebacker targets include Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Academy three-star Drew White and San Diego (Calif.) Madison three-star Sampson Niu.
White was one of four prospects to add an offer during Saturday’s Junior Day. Niu added an Irish offer earlier this month.
Notre Dame must replace two-year starting middle linebacker after captain Joe Schmidt departed.
Former five-star recruit Nyles Morgan is expected to get the start at middle linebacker after playing little his first two seasons. Morgan amassed 16 tackles (eight solo) last fall while backing up Schmidt. Morgan has two years of eligibility remaining.
Greer Martini, who is out for spring ball following off-season shoulder surgery, is expected to back up Morgan, although don’t be surprised if he challenges for that job.
The Irish signed just one inside linebacker last cycle, Jonathan Jones, who owns the skillset to develop as Will or Mike prospect.