Notre Dame added 23 student-athletes to the football roster for the 2014 season on national signing day.
"Were excited to announce this class", Notre Dame head coach said Wednesday. "This group represents depth across the board. 18 recruits were (ranked) in the top 15 of their position group".
The class is ranked the 10th best recruiting class in the nation by CBS Sports and 11th by ESPN. The group of 23 includes two defensive backs, six defensive linemen, five linebackers, four offensive linemen, two tight ends, two wide receivers, one punter/kicker and a quarterback.
"They have to have a passion for getting their degree and Notre Dame and winning a national championship", Brian Kelly said, characterizing the class.
Two members of the class, DL Andrew Trumbetti and WR Justin Brent, have already enrolled at Notre Dame and will participate in spring practice.
Montgomery Bell Academy
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
St. Thomas Aquinas
Fort Wayne, Ind.
The Colony, Texas
Woodberry Forest, Va.
Woodberry Forest School
Berrien Springs, Mich.
Staten Island, N.Y.
St. Joseph by-the-Sea
Red Bank, N.J.
La Mirada, Calif.
Kelly on Alex Bars, “Has a great pedigree, a couple of brothers that play college ball, dad played here at Notre Dame. Everyone thinks, well, if the parent played here you have an easy connection. Sometimes it's the most difficult. Sometimes you've got to work harder to get that young man to come to Notre Dame because he wants to go off on his own sometimes.”
Kelly on Grant Blankenship, “We had a hard time with anybody blocking him. He was a guy that just stood out right away for us when we saw him in our summer camp working out. Had a great senior year, and again, a guy that continued to just grow. I think he's just starting to hit his potential level, and it's only going to get better and better.”
Kelly on Jonathan Bonner, “He was the St. Louis Post Dispatch Defensive Player of the Year. We really project him to be an outside player for us, an edge player, rush player, a guy that gets after the quarterback, and really was impressed with Jonathan, his personality, his character.”
Kelly on Justin Brent, “The first thing that stood out to me is that he does not look like a freshman. He looks like a senior. He is a physically gifted young man. We were looking for a physical player at this position, somebody that could impose their physicality, could run after the catch.”
Kelly on Jimmy Byrne, “Really love the way Jimmy has progressed, especially his senior year. We liked Jimmy last year. He was an early offer for us and committed, and then really had a great senior year from our standpoint.”
Kelly on Daniel Cage, “This guy is a ferocious player. He's aninside player, and we love the way he got off the ball. His strength, lower body strength, he's a guy that's going to play the shade, he can play the nose. He's a guy that's very disruptive inside.”
Kelly on Jay Hayes, “I remember one of his quotes when I was with him was, Coach, some of these guys don't get it. They don't really understand why you would come to Notre Dame. And he's such a thoughtful kid at his age that he understands why he would come to Notre Dame for all the right reasons, getting a degree and opening up doors for him for the rest of his life.”
Kelly on Kolin Hill, “Kolin was a young man that we offered when he didn't have a lot of action, but we saw a young man that we thought we could develop into just an outstanding football player.”
Kelly on Corey Holmes, “I don't like to make the comparisons, but he has a lot of the same feelings in terms of where TJ Jones developed, but he's 6'2". This kid is longer. He's a bigger kid than TJ.”
Kelly on DeShone Kizer, “He's going to be able to do the multidimensional things that we love. Now we've got three quarterbacks on campus that all do the same things. You don't have to adjust your offense. This kid loves to have the ball in his hands when the game is on the line.”
Kelly on Tyler Luatua, “When you get to know Tyler Luatua, he's just like Justin Utupo; you can't shut him up. He can catch the football. He can block for us. He's going to be able to do all the jobs that we have at the tight end position for us.”
Kelly on Greer Martini, “He's a really good player, and he's a really good leader, and he'll be a very good linebacker for us here at Notre Dame and will also be a guy that makes others around him better.”
Kelly on Peter Mokwuah, “Pete was a great fit for us, and looking for to augment our defensive line position, we wanted to find the right profile young man. We've had a great Nigerian connection here, Romeo Okwara, Prince Shembo, just to name a few.”
Kelly on Nyles Morgan, “One thing that stands out about Nyles is his thirst for knowledge of the game. Every time I'm with him, he just wants to talk about football. Plays downhill, plays fast, great instincts, and when he arrives, he arrives with a bad attitude when he gets to the football.”
Kelly on Sam Mustipher, “Here's a powerful guy inside, and again, I think what stood out for us with Sam was his ability to move his feet. [Offensive linemen have] got to be good people. They've got to be tough, competitive kids. They can't be waist benders, they've got to be knee benders.”
Kelly on Quenton Nelson, “I think the one thing that stands out about Q is that here's a guy that just is relentless. He's going to come after you play after play after play. He wasn’t looking at his star rating, he was looking at the things that he needed to work on.”
Kelly on Tyler Newsome, “We had the kicking camp here, and we got a chance to see him work out. Just was really impressed with his versatility. Long lever punter, which in terms of his abilities really transcend the normal punting. He's a guy that doesn't come along very often.”
Kelly on Nile Sykes, “He can play inside, he can play outside. He is a physical player. He's got very good ball skills, instincts, and again, another versatile player in our front seven that's going to add to the depth of our football team.”
Kelly on Drue Tranquill, “People have asked does he play safety, does he play running back? I don't know where he plays, but he's going to play somewhere here at Notre Dame because he's a darned good football player, he's athletic, he's competitive, and we'll find a place for him somewhere.”
Kelly on Andrew Trumbetti, “The thing that really put him over the top for us is when we were watching his film, he was returning kickoffs in high school, and not many times do you see a defensive lineman returning kickoffs.”
Kelly on Nick Watkins, “Nick Watkins, you talk about a talented football player, his dad played in the NFL, great pedigree, 6'1". This is a long corner. This is draft day, you're getting a No. 1 draft pick. This kid is an exceptional football player. We think we got one of the best corners around.”
Kelly on Nic Weishar, “He's the finest pass catching tight end that we saw. You could argue about who it is, but we think he is. We love his ball skills, we love his ability to use his body to control defenders, has a knack of catching the football in the air and taking it away from people.”
Kelly on Jhonny Williams, “Here's a young man that just started play the game, 6'6", 230 pounds, and who knows what his future is going to be. There's no ceiling on Jhonny Williams's future. He's an engaging young man. He just recognizes that he's got a great opportunity at Notre Dame, and we're excited to provide him that opportunity.”