Kelly, Irish sign 23 players in recruiting class; Complete National Signing Day Coverage

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly and his staff locked in all 22 players they expected to and added one more on what will be considered a Top 10 recruiting on National Signing Day.

The 23-man class could still grow, Kelly says as they aren’t locked into just the 23 they are at now but unlike other years, there were no shocking last minute changes or surprises.

"Today culminates a year of so much work for so many people. When you come to Notre Dame, it's all hands on deck,” Kelly said.

Kelly says depth is the key to Notre Dame’s class this year, citing 18 of the 23 signed players were in the top 15 in their position group.

"When you break it down, it's about the front seven and the offensive line,” Kelly said. “You are winning up front."

Kelly mixed no words on what type of player his staff looked to recruit.

"I want guys to come to Notre Dame, get a degree, help us win a national championship and be the #1 pick in the NFL Draft,” Kelly explained. "If they want to come here to hang there hat and go to the NFL, we passed on some pretty good players."

He added that he would have a serious problem recruiting anyone that told him they planned to only be at Notre Dame for three years.

Kelly emphasized that physically most of these recruits are ready to play but it will come down to if they are mentally ready.

In addition to the 23 recruits, Kelly announced the five seniors that will return for a 5th season next year: Offensive lineman Christian Lombard, wide receiver Luke Massa, safety Austin Collinsworth, linebacker Kendall Moore, and defensive lineman. Justin Utupo.

Below is a breakdown of each recruit along with comments from Coach Kelly on each player.

Signed National Letter of Intent:

Justin Brent of Indianapolis, IN

The 6'1" wide receiver is a 4-star recruit

Kelly: "He does not look like a freshman. He had his shirt off this morning, and he looks like a senior."

Andrew Trumbetti of Demarest, NJ

The 6'5" defensive end is a 3-star recruit

Kelly on Trumbetti's athleticism: "He was returning kickoffs in H.S.. Not many times you see a defensive end returning kicks"

Alex Bars of Nashville, TN

The 6'6" and 309 lbs offensive lineman is a 4-star recruit

Kelly: "Has a great pedigree. Dad played here at Notre Dame. Has all the gift necessary to be great student athlete"

Grant Blankenship of The Colony, TX

The 6'6", 252 lbs. defensive end is a 3-star recruit

Kelly: "He just stood right out right away for us. His potential level--it's only going to get better and better."

Jonathan Bonner of Chesterfield, MO

The 6'3", 253 lbs. defensive end is a 3-star recruit

Kelly: "Really impressed with Jonathan, his personality, his character."

Jimmy Byrne of Cleveland, OH

The 6'4" and 295 lbs. offensive lineman is a 4-star recruit.

Kelly: "“Really love the way Jimmy has progressed, especially his senior year. A great fit for Notre Dame."

Jay Hayes of Brooklyn, NY

The 6'4" and 265 lbs defensive tackle is a 4-star recruit

Kelly: "He's been one of our best recruiters. He's a heck of a football player. Long, LONG."

Kolin Hill of Schertz, TX

The 6'2", 222 lbs. linebacker is a 3-star recruit

Kelly: "We saw a young man we felt we could develop into an oustanding football player. He's engaging."

Corey Holmes of Fort Lauderdale, FL

The 6'2", 174 lbs. wide receiver is a 4-star recruit

Kelly: "A precise route runner. He's a mature player. I can't tell you anything I don't like about this young man"

DeShone Kizer of Toledo, OH

The 6'4" and 205 lbs. quarterback is a 4-star recruit.

Kelly: "This kid loves to have the ball in his hands when the game is on the line. I love that competitiveness."

Tyler Luatua of La Mirada, CA

The 6'4" and 230 lbs tight end is a 3-star recruit

Kelly: "We really love his personality--and who he is. He's a pass catching tight end. He's a really good tight end."

Greer Martini of Woodberry Forest, VA

The 6'3", 230 lbs. linebacker is a 3-star recruit

"You have to have leaders. He's a really good player and a really good leader. He will makes others better."

Pete Mokwuah of Staten Island, NY

The 6'5", 305 lbs. defensive tackle is a 3-star recruit

Kelly: "We've had a great Nigerian connection here." mentions Romeo Okwara, Prince Shembo.

Nyles Morgan of Crete, IL

The 6'1" and 222 lbs. linebacker is a 4-star recruit.

Kelly: "He couldn't wait for today. Plays fast. Great instincts. He arrives with a bad attitude getting to the football"

Sam Mustipher of Olney, MD

The 6'4" and 292 lbs offensive lineman is a 4-star recruit

Kelly: "He's a powerful guy inside. What stands out, is his ability to move."

Quenton Nelson of Red Bank, NJ

The 6'5", 301 lbs. offensive lineman is a 5-star recruit

"He's just relentless. He will come after you, play after play. His desire to want to be great, stood out"

Tyler Newsome of Carrollton, GA

The 6'3", 190 lbs. kicker is a 3-star recruit

Kelly: "Just impressed with his versatility. He's a guy that doesn't come along very often."

Nile Sykes of Lombard, IL

The 6'1" and 219 lbs. linebacker is a 3-star recruit.

Kelly: "He's can play inside. He can play outside. He's a physical player. Another versatile player on our front 7."

Drue Tranquill of Fort Wayne, IN

The 6'2" and 205 lbs defensive back is a 3-star recruit

Kelly: "We just love the way he plays the game. We don't know where he will play at Notre Dame but "he's going to play somewhere. We'll find a place for him."

Nick Watkins of Dallas, TX

The 6'1", 189 lbs. defensive back is a 4-star recruit

Kelly: "This is draft day and you're getting a #1 draft pick. He's an outstanding player."

Nic Weishar of Midlothian, IL

The 6'5", 230 lbs. tight end is a 4-star recruit

Kelly: "He's the finest pass catching tight end that we saw. We love his ball skills. He will have a great career here."

Jhonathon Williams of Berrien Springs, MI

The 6'6" and 230 lbs. defensive end is a 3-star recruit.

Kelly: "He's a young man that just started playing the game, there's no ceiling on his future. He's an engaging young man. We have one of one of those sleepers."

Daniel Cage of Cincinnati, Ohio

The 6'5", 275 lbs. defensive tackle is a 3-star recruit

Kelly: "This guy is a ferocious player. We love his strength, lower body. Plays the game hard every snap."

Check here and on Twitter for all of the updates as recruits make it official on National Signing Day.

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
WNDU - Channel 16 54516 State Road 933 South Bend, IN 46637 Front Desk: 574-284-3000 Newsroom: 574-284-3016 Email:
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 243612021 -