Meet The 2017 Class: Offense

How did Notre Dame land this class? Here’s the recruiting backstory.

Quarterback

http://www.scout.com/player/195805-avery-davis?s=109

Notre Dame didn’t land its No. 1 pick at quarterback when Hunter Johnson left the state for Clemson after a brief commitment to Tennessee. But landing Davis represents a coup at the position and a strike in Texas, a state where the Irish struck out last cycle. Davis starred at Cedar Hill, a program with a profile high enough that it hosted Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) to open last season. The No. 2 job behind Brandon Wimbush figures to be the goal.

Running Back

http://www.scout.com/player/192278-c-j-holmes?s=109

This early enrollee was actually a silent commit to Notre Dame for weeks before announcing at The Opening Finals in July. Holmes’ skill set is all over the board as a running back, wide receiver or defensive back. The Irish see a running back to start, although it won’t be a surprise if he gets other looks. Holmes was the best player at Irish Invasion last summer and that weekend helped close the deal despite offers from Michigan, Penn State, Alabama and Tennessee.

Wide Receiver

http://www.scout.com/player/197316-jafar-armstrong?s=109

Notre Dame flipped this Missouri commit in recruiting’s final week with the player-program match nearly perfect. At Bishop Miege in Kansas, Armstrong plays for a staff that includes former Irish great Tim Grunhard. It’s a high academic school that regularly sends students to Notre Dame. And Armstrong wants to major in business, a Notre Dame specialty. The moment the offer came down in mid-January, the Irish looked like the ultimate winner.

http://www.scout.com/player/206425-michael-young?s=109

The Irish landed Young last summer, beating out Texas A&M and Oregon. While there was some thought Young might take other visits, he never did, even after his position coach left the program. While it’s hard to see Young grabbing a prominent role as a freshman, he comes from a powerhouse prep program, which might smooth the transition to South Bend. The Irish can develop Young over the long haul considering most of the key players from last year’s passing game return.

Tight End

http://www.scout.com/player/198684-cole-kmet?s=109

Notre Dame beat Ohio State head-to-head for this U.S. Army All-American who never wavered despite his area recruiter and position coach both departing the staff this off-season. Paired with Brock Wright, the Irish have the nation’s top tight end class by a wide margin. Kmet offers options as a detached tight end in space and he’s a multi-sport athlete too. Basically, he’s just about everything the Irish could want in a prospect. The only negative is that he couldn’t enroll early alongside Wright.

http://www.scout.com/player/196531-brock-wright?s=109

A classic tight end in every facet, Wright chose Notre Dame over Michigan and Stanford in June of 2015. He’s already enrolled and should push for playing time next season at a position that usually doesn’t offer it. Wright may give the Irish a little more power at tight end in the run game, which is where he made his biggest impact at Cy-Fair. As Wright showed at the Under Armour All-America Game, he’s not afraid to get physical in the trenches. Wright’s build and personality feels like John Carlson 2.0. He’s the top-rated player in the Irish class.

Offensive Line

http://www.scout.com/player/186114-aaron-banks?s=109

Maybe the biggest surprise of Notre Dame’s offensive class, Banks was one of Brian Kelly’s first in-home visits after the USC loss and he committed barely a week later. The early enrollee represents a massive guard who could use a red-shirt to grow into his frame. Notre Dame beat Michigan head-to-head for Banks, who also had offers from Florida, Oregon, USC and Washington. The Irish needed a fourth offensive lineman in this class and Banks was an outstanding way to lock that down.

http://www.scout.com/player/189310-dillan-gibbons?s=109
 
The first commit in Notre Dame’s class also represents one of the most under-the-radar. Part of that comes from playing guard, a classically anonymous spot. But Gibbons also rates as the fourth of Notre Dame’s four offensive line commitments in this class, despite being a four-star on Scout.com. Regardless, Gibbons has the stature to hold his own over the long haul in South Bend.  Before committing to the Irish in April of 2015, Gibbons held offers from Ohio State, Michigan State and South Carolina. His brother attends Notre Dame law school.

http://www.scout.com/player/187937-robert-hainsey?s=109

The IMG product is the best of Notre Dame’s offensive line haul on paper and in an ideal world could be a Nick Martin type with his toughness and interior versatility. Hainsey is blue collar in his Pennsylvania background and his style of play. Like Banks and Wright, he’s also an early enrollee. The Irish came from behind to beat out Penn State and Michigan State, landing Hainsey at The Opening Finals last summer. There’s everything to like here.

http://www.scout.com/player/191691-josh-lugg?s=109

Lugg is a true tackle prospect and one the Irish absolutely had to land in this class with numbers light on the edge. He committed to Notre Dame in August of 2015 over offers from Penn State, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Michigan State. Lugg’s offer list wasn’t elite, but he moved up the boards during his senior year and through the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, where he had a good week. He generally rates as the second-best offensive lineman in this class behind Hainsey, although Lugg’s rankings are similar to Banks.


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