Introducing the 2010 Offensive Line Class

With only two offensive linemen heading into signing day, Notre Dame needed to land the big fish that was announcing that day. When Matt James announced for the Irish, he solidified the offensive line numbers for the 2010 recruiting class.

Ideally Notre Dame could have used four offensive linemen in the 2010 recruiting class, but three will do enough to fill the coffers. Brian Kelly introduced his offensive linemen to the media on Wednesday.

Matt James (6-foot-7, 291-pounds) St. Xavier High School, Cincinnati:

Brian Kelly's Comments: "I think he received a lot of the attention over the past six hours or so. It came down to Ohio State and Notre Dame. He was a young man that was torn between the two. There's no question that it was a tough decision for him, but at the end of the day he felt the opportunity at Notre Dame, the academic opportunities that it gave him, the opportunity to play for a national championship, and knowing that there was a clear opportunity for him to play here easrlier. I'm not saying that that was the reason he chose Notre Dame, but all of those things factored into his decision. His position coaches had a lot to do with that and the fact that we had been recruiting him for a quite so time. His ability to move his feet is actually making him one of the top players in the country. His first step quickness for a guy over 300 pounds. Great feet, strong, physical, he loves to play the game, He can play guard, he moves his feet that well and he can go out and reach a nose from the guard position. Physically, mentally, he's a young man that can come in and compete and one that we're excited about.

Matt James Profile: James played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio. He was a Ohio ­ USA Today first-team prep All-America offensive lineman. He was named to EA Sports second-team All-America squad. James is listed 60th nationally on MaxPreps Top 100 and a second-team MaxPreps All-American. James is listed 99th nationally on The Kickoff Top 120 and was a first-team Ohio Division I all-state pick in 2009. He was a three-year offensive line starter at right tackle for St. Xavier. He was named to Cincinnati Enquirer first-team Division I Football All-Stars for 2009. He earned all-league honors in 2009 and 2008 while helping St. Xavier to ¹09 Cincinnati Greater Catholic League South title. He was ranked as the 12th best player on 2009 Detroit Free-Press Best of the Midwest team . James is a SuperPrep All-American who was listed 78th nationally on Offense-Defense Top 250, 91st on Scout.com Top 300 list and 87th on SI.com/TAKKLE Top 200. He helped St. Xavier to final number-four ranking in Associated Press poll to end 2009 regular season and a 9-3 record following regional semifinal playoff loss to Elder in 2009 Ohio Division I playoffs . He helped St. Xavier to Ohio Division I state title and 15-0 record as sophomore starter in 2007. James led the way for St. Xavier running backs to earn first-team all-league honors in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Christian Lombard ( 6-foot-5, 293-pounds) Fremd High School, Inverness, Ill.:

Brian Kelly's Comments: "Struck up a very good relationship with Matt James (at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl), another premier offensive lineman. If you're looking at national recruits, both Lombard and James fills the bill for that, and on the offensive line we have short-term successes and both of these guys are going to help us in the short-term as we develop our football program. The athletic ability, his ability to recover, he stays with the play, and he's a very competitive young man. I think he really has an incredible upside for us.

Christian Lombard Profile: Lombard played in 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio He is a USA Today first-team prep All-America offensive lineman and a EA Sports first-team All-American. He was named to Parade magazine All-America team for 2009 as one of 18 offensive and defensive linemen. He was listed as MaxPreps #30 national prospect and second-team All-American. He was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for state of Illinois in 2009 and was selected to Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Class 8A all-state football squad for 2009 (one of 18) . Lombard was named to the Chicago Tribune all-state team as senior in 2009 after helping Fremd to perfect regular season and final 11-1 finish after falling in Illinois Class 8A quarterfinals. Lombard was a first-team pick on Champaign News-Gazette all-state squad for 2009. He was rated the #13 offensive lineman nationally by SuperPrep and rated 103rd nationally on The Kickoff Top 120. As a senior he played offensive tackle and helped the team average 331 yards per game; On defense he made 32 tackles. He was named to the Daily Herald Northwest Suburban all-area team for 2009 and 2008. He attended the Notre Dame football camp in summer of 2009.

Tate Nichols (6-foot-7, 291-pounds) Ryle High School, Walton, Ky.:

Brian Kelly's Comments: "(At Cincinnati) we were the first ones to offer him a scholarship. He was an early commit to Stanford, changed his commit to come to Notre Dame. When I recruited him (at Cincinnati) he was 6-foot-6, 242-pounds. We had him on the scale on his official visit and he was 6-foot-7, 292-pounds. He is one big guy. He's a great student, and you can see why someone of this size, in terms of how he plays the game, he was tight end in high school and a split wide receiver. He's going to play tackle for us. These are the type of guys that we like. He has good feet. He finishes. One thing we really like for a guy this size, is that he keeps his feet moving and finishes every block. His wide receiver skills… he's tall. That's about it. These memories of him (playing wide receiver) will be etched in his mind, because there will be no more of them. He'll probably be asking for a tackle eligible play. Again, a big kid that goes up and gets the football, I think that just says something about his athletic ability and certainly somebody that we think can be an outstanding offensive tackle for us."

Tate Nichols Profile: Caught 28 passes for 455 yards and three touchdowns as senior tight end. Also played defensive end. He was one of 22 players on Class of the Commonwealth squad for 2009 by Lexington Herald-Leader. He was named second-team 2009 all-state pick in Kentucky in athlete category by Louisville Courier-Journal. Nichols was a first-team selection as tight end on Cincinnati Enquirer Northern Kentucky Football All-Stars. He was nominated for Brian Williams ³That¹s My Boy² Award given by local chapter of National Football Foundation to top scholar-athlete in Northern Kentucky. He helped Ryle to 9-4 record in 2009, including second-round Kentucky playoff loss to eventual state champion St. Xavier. Nichols played wide receiver as sophomore, and then moved to tight end for junior and senior seasons. Nichols is a distant relative of current Irish tight end Kyle Rudolph.


IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories