2008 Signees: Defense

Today marks the first day recruits from the 2008 recruiting class can make it official. Here are the list of offensive players who are expected to sign with Notre Dame today.

The Irish are expected to sign one of their best recruiting classes in a decade on Wednesday. Nobody is sure where this class will eventually rank in the national rankings, but the consensus is the Irish will definitely sign a top five class and could contend for the top class when all is said and done. Here is a list of the defensive players expected to sign today.

More importantly the Irish are expected to sign a very balanced class with plenty of "star power." The Notre Dame coaching staff addressed their needs very well, signing 23 players, and look to be adding the type of talent that will contend for BCS games in the near future.

Hafis Williams (3-star)

Height/Weight: 6-3, 280
Hometown: Elizabeth, N.J. (Elizabeth High)
Position: Nose Tackle

Other Schools Considered: Rutgers, Maryland and Penn State

Head Coach's Comments: "His whole personality," Chet Parlavecchio said of what he'll miss. "Just a fine young man. Makes things enjoyable. He's good to his teammates and his coaches. Just a good person, fun to talk to about things with.

"Obviously he's a dominant football player. He is a big physical dominant player that won a state championship here. His size and strength gave you a lot of options. You're not going to replace him, but you try to rebuild around it. Maybe you get more people to do the job he did by committee. We're going to continue to get better by the example that he set."

Senior Year Stats:

78 tackles, 12 for loss, 7 sacks

Brandon Newman (4-star)
(U.S. Army All-American)

Height/Weight: 6-1, 305
Hometown: Louisville, Ky. (Pleasure Ridge Park High)
Position: Nose Tackle

Other Schools Considered: Kentucky, Louisville, Cincinnati, Indiana, Mississippi and Stanford

Head Coach's Comments: "Brandon had text me, I guess it was Monday they started practice (at the U.S. Army All-American game)," Chris Wolfe began. "I talked to him later. He said coach I think I belong here. He said I think I did pretty good. I checked out the video and boy he looked really good doing his role as a nose tackle. He was real excited and real excited about the other Notre Dame guys. The night they handed out the awards, (Jonas Gray) and Dayne Crist won those community awards, and he was just talking about the character they all have.

"Brandon really believes in the Notre Dame mentality that you're not just a football player, you're more than a football player. Character is such an important part of being a Notre Dame player, at least that's what coach (Charlie) Weis and coach (Corwin) Brown are talking about. When he got to meet the other guys at the game, I think that further solidified the type of environment he wants to be in the next four or five years.

"He's just a god-given talent. Just a freak of nature strength wise, to be as strong as he is at a young age and to be so powerful. And he runs good for his size. The good thing about him, is he has a head on his shoulders. It separates him from the other big lugs on the defensive line. He's a well rounded individual. But as far as a pure athletic standpoint, he wouldn't be signing with Notre Dame if he wasn't such a great athlete. His strength is unbelievable. Anyone that can squat 600 pounds at age 15 is off the charts. But it's more for him than being a great athlete. He is a role model in the community. He's the total package."

Senior Year Stats:

29 solos, 12 assists, 9 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 1 pass deflection, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery.

Sean Cywnar (4-star)
(U.S. Army All-American)

Height/Weight: 6-4, 283
Hometown: Woodstock, Ill. (Marian Central Catholic High)
Position: Defensive End/Defensive Tackle

Other Schools Considered: Iowa, Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Purdue, Northwestern, Wisconsin

Head Coach's Comments: "I think for one, Sean didn't play football until he got to Marian," Ed Brucker said. "He's worked really hard. He's got the work ethic and he's very intelligent, and he has the size and speed to go with it. He is a great person and great athlete.

"Defensively he played defensive end for us in a 4-3. Mostly a five technique. He had the strength to hold down the position and the quickness to contain and rush the passer. He also played offensive line for us, tackle for us, and he was really a devastating blocker. He also kicked for us. We ran into some trouble with our kicker so he was our place kicker and kicked off for us. He was a man of many tools."

Senior Year Stats :

70 solos, 12 assists, 16 TFL, 11 sacks
9-of-12 on PATs, 1 FG

Ethan Johnson (5-star)
(Note: Selected as a U.S. Army All-American but did not participate.)

Height/Weight: 6-4, 265
Hometown: Portland, Ore. (Lincoln High)
Position: Defensive End

Other Schools Considered: USC, UCLA, Oregon, Oregon State, Michigan and Colorado

Senior Year Stats:

Johnson only played in one game because of injury. 80 tackles, 10 sacks as a junior.

David Posluszny (3-star)

Height/Weight: 6-2, 220
Hometown: Aliquippa, Pa. (Hopewell Senior High)
Position: Inside Linebacker

Other Schools Considered: Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Northwestern

Head Coach's Comments: "It's a shame because he was sort of banged up again like he was as a junior," Dave Vestal said of the season. When he is healthy I think he is a heck of a player. He has great instincts. He is looking forward to getting to Notre Dame. It's a shame his senior year was broken up the way that it was. He is a heck of a kid.

"He's a kid that in high school moved around as a free safety as a young kid, to outside linebacker to inside linebacker. He is a kid with a ton of upside and potential. Once he gets into the system and gets a feel for it, he has a lot of potential. I think he will evolve at the next level."

Senior Year Stats

38 tackles, 1 sack
300 yards rushing, 5.3 avg, 3 TDs
5 rec, 72 yards, 2 TDs

Anthony McDonald (4-star)
(U.S. Army All-American)

Height/Weight: 6-3, 230
Hometown: Sherman Oaks, Calif. (Notre Dame High)
Position: Inside Linebacker

Other Schools Considered: Oregon, North Carolina State, Nebraska, Mississippi and Boston College

Head Coach's Comments: "On the field he is very quick and aggressive, instinctive, reacts very quickly," Kevin Rooney said. "He gets to the ball and makes tackles all over the field. Off the field, he loves the weight room. Worked hard in preparation for the season, and he's a great kid with a good sense of humor, and will be a good addition to Notre Dame's program.

"He's very competitive. He's determined. He's very strong and has all the physical tools necessary to be a good player on the next level."

Senior Year Stats

98 tackles, 58 solos, six tackles for loss, three sacks, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and one interception.

Steve Filer (4-star)
(U.S. Army All-American)

Height/Weight: 6-4, 230
Hometown: Chicago, Ill. (Mount Carmel)
Position: Outside Linebacker

Other Schools Considered: Illinois, Michigan, Ohio State, Minnesota and Northwestern.

Head Coach's Comments: "I tell people the exact same thing," Frank Lenti said. "Steve is a fine football player, but more importantly, he's an even better person.

"He's a good football player. He runs well, understands the game and is always physically mentally and emotionally ready to play.

"We'll miss more the good person than the good football player. Steven is a three-year varsity starter here, and we don't have a lot of them here. Steven doesn't wear an S on his chest like everyone makes him out, but he is a fine football player and an even better person."

Senior Stats:

107 tackles, 10 sacks and 2 INTs

Darius Fleming (4-star)
(U.S. Army All-American)

Height/Weight: 6-2, 230
Hometown: Chicago, Ill. (St. Rita High)
Position: Outside Linebacker

Other Schools Considered: Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Northwestern, USC, Vanderbilt

Head Coach's Comments: "We're going to miss number one his leadership," Todd Kuska said. "The practice player that he was, he was a guy that went all out every practice. Tried to get himself and everyone better everyday.

"He's a great kid. He's a better person than he is a football player. As talented as he was, he's an even better kid.

"That's irreplaceable," Kuska said of what Fleming did on the field. "The things he did, he made everyone else better around him. Sure, we counted on him to make huge plays, but he made everyone else played at a higher lever. That was what he did for us, and that won't be able to be replaced for a long time. We're going to miss him as a team leader and just as the great overall kid that he was.

"He wants to be successful in life. He wants to be a success coming out of school. He wants to have everything in line when he graduates from college, whether that be in the NFL or the professional world. The same drive he has in football is the same drive he has in the classroom."

Senior Year Stats:

86 tackles, 12 ½ sacks, seven batted passes, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries.

Robert Blanton (4-star)
(U.S. Army All-American)

Height/Weight: 6-1, 175
Hometown: Matthews, N.C. (David W. Butler High)
Position: Defensive Back

Other Schools: Considered: California, Michigan, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Oregon and South Carolina

Coach's Comments: "He's got outstanding ability," defensive backs coach Steve Shaughnessy said. "He's extremely competitive. He's extremely coachable. He's like a sponge. Everything you tell him, he absorbs it. He always wants to learn. He always accepted the challenge of covering the other team's best receiver from his sophomore year on.

"His sophomore year, we put him on Hakeem Nicks, who started as a freshman at North Carolina, and played man-to-man the whole game, and from then on we always put him on the best receiver. He did a great job. We lost a very close game to Independence that night, and from then on he was our guy in the secondary, and we have two other kids, Spencer Adams who going to Clemson and Eddie (E.J.) Whitely who is going to Virginia Tech. They all played all three years together.

"We're going to miss his leadership and competitiveness. He's just an unbelievable kid. You're fortunate in your career to coach a guy like him. He's an awesome individual. He's never satisfied with how he's done and he's just everything you want to have."

Senior Stats:

128 tackles, 7 INTs and 25 pass breakups.

Jamoris Slaughter (4-star)
(Under Armour/ESPN All-American)

Height/Weight: 6-1, 180
Hometown: Tucker, Ga. (Tucker High)
Position: Defensive Back

Other Schools Considered: Georgia, LSU, Alabama and Michigan

Senior Stats: 56 tackles, 3 INTs, 11 pass breakups

Dan McCarthy (4-star)

Height/Weight: 6-2, 190
Hometown: Youngstown, Ohio (Cardinal Mooney High)
Position: Defensive Back

Other Schools Considered: Ohio State, Stanford, Michigan, Oklahoma and LSU.

Senior Stats:

97 tackles, 9 sacks, 5 INTs, 15 pass breakups
1,340 yards passing and 15 Tds
625 yards rushing and 7 Tds

NOTE: Kapron Lewis-Moore may sign with the Irish today so we've included some information on him as well.

Kapron Lewis-Moore (3-star)

Height/Weight: 6-4, 225
Hometown: Weatherford, Texas
Position: Outside Linebacker

Other Schools Considered: Texas A&M, Colorado, Texas Tech, Michigan, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

Senior Year Stats:

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