Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly is calling his 2013 recruiting class the best he's ever had. The Irish signed all 23 athletes that had previously verbally committed, then added an addition 5-star later in the evening to bring the class total to 24.
Defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes rounds out an electric class that also includes 5-star athletes like linebacker Jaylon Smith, running back Greg Bryant and safety Max Redfield, it makes sense why Kelly is so excited.
Kelly feels the key in recruiting was to be able to bridge the gap between Notre Dame and Alabama. The Irish of course lost to the Crimson Tide in the National Championship game.
"This class is that first step towards finishing off 2012 the right way," Kelly said Wednesday."
Notre Dame once recruited players with the incentive they could compete for jobs right away. Now the plan is to build depth, but Kelly isn't changing his plan in terms of who will play on the field. The best will, even if it means pushing aside guys who have started in the past.
"We don't just say there's 11 guys," Kelly explained. "As you saw this year, we played a lot of guys. But I will tell you this: We're also going to put the best 11 on the field. And if Danny Spond is the best 11, he's playing. If Jaylon Smith is the best 11, he's playing. We recognize the fact that everybody has a value to what we're doing, but we're also going to play the best players."
"They're not elite players if they're afraid of competition. Those that back off and say, well, you've got two of these guys and you've got three of those -- now, sometimes that makes a difference, granted; I understand that. But by and large, we've made the case in recruiting where we see you, and we're honest with them. Here's where we see you're at and this is where you're going to be, and if you do this, you're going to get your playing time."
"The elite players have that confidence, that no matter who's in front of me, I'm going to beat them out.
You can see information on each recruit below with quotes from Coach Kelly.
Signed National Letter of Intent:
Steve Elmer of Midland, MI
The 6'6", 305 lbs. offensive lineman is a four-star recruit
Kelly says, "Fits all the profiles we are looking for. Great athlete, student and young man."
Mike Heurerman of Naples, FL
The 6'4", 220 lbs. tight end is a four-star recruit
Kelly says, "He was in the Irish Mob, recruiting other players into this class. A fine football player of us."
James Onwualu of St. Paul, MN
The 6'1", 205 lbs. athlete is a four-star recruit
Kelly says, "This is a very talented player. Very talented. great attitude. High Energy. Another great fit for us."
Corey Robinson of San Antonio, TX
The 6'4", 195 lbs. wide receiver is a four-star recruit
Kelly says, "we think we have a guy that hasn't even come close to tapping his potential."
Malik Zaire of Kettering, OH
The 6'0" and 196 lbs. quarter back is a four-star recruit
Kelly says, "He made it clear to me that this is the place he wanted to be. He loved the environment, loved the coaching."
Michael Deeb of Plantation, FL
The 6’2” and 237 lbs. inside linebacker is a three-star recruit
Kelly says, "He brings an energy into the locker room. We love his energy and the way he plays the game."
Isaac Rochell of McDonough, GA
The 6'5", 260 lbs. strongside defensive end is a four-star recruit
Kelly says, "he has a huge upside. "I'm really excited about bringing a player of this caliber to Notre Dame."
Rashad Kinlaw of Galloway, NJ
The 6’2” and 184 lbs. athlete is a three-star recruit
Kelly says, "He has the speed, ability to play the ball.We love the fact that he's embraced coming to Notre Dame."
Jacob Matuska of Columbus, OH
The 6’5” and 240 lbs. tight end is a three-star recruit
Kelly sees Jacob Matuska playing on the defensive side of the ball. Another winner--played on a 13-1 HS football team.
Doug Randolph of Richmond, VA
The 6'3", 237 lbs. outside linebacker is a four-star recruit.
Why ND? "It's a really tight knit community there--similar to Woodbury Forest here. A lot of similiarities there. It's a great fit for me and my family.
Kelly says, "Very versatile. Gives us flexibility. Great student, great family. He's a terrific young man."
John Montelus of Everett, MA
The 6'5", 295 lbs. offensive guard is a four-star recruit
Kelly says, "He's not short on physical play. He will knock you out. His personality, his family--just a great story."
Mike McGlinchey of Philadelphia, PA
The 6’9” and 280 lbs. offensive tackle is a four-star recruit
Kelly says, "We're worried Mike Brey is going to take him from us."
Devin Butler of Washington D.C.
The 6’1” and 179 lbs. cornerback is a three-star recruit
Kelly says, "He's an exciting player that can come in and compete immediately. Adds depth."
William Fuller of Philadephia, PA
The 6’1” and 168 lbs. wide receiver is a four-star recruit
Kelly says, "He can run & catch the football. Terrific ball skills. He has that top end speed that can impact games."
Torii Hunter of Prosper, TX
The 6’0” and 172 lbs. wide receiver is a four-star recruit
Kelly says, "We think he has that burst to take it and go anywhere on the field. An inside guy who can make a difference."
Jaylon Smith of Fort Wayne, IN
The 6'3", 212 lbs. outside linebacker is a five-star recruit
Kelly says, "He just has 'it.' When he walks into the room, he lights it up. The thing that is most impressive is the character of this young man & his energy."
Colin McGovern of New Lenox, IL
The 6'5", 284 lbs. offensive tackle is a three-star recruit
Kelly says, "He's a physical, strong guy that can play inside for us."
Greg Bryant of Delray Beach, FL
The 5’11” and 197 lbs. running back is a five-star recruit
Kelly says, "He can compete right away. well conditioned athlete. Outstanding football player."
Cole Luke of Chandler, AZ
The 6’0” and 165 lbs. cornerback is a four-star recruit
Kelly says, "A state title--played on a championship football team. Just a great fit."
Hunter Bivin of Owensboro, KY
The 6’7” and 288 lbs. offensive tackle is a four-star recruit
Kelly says, "A young man who comes in with the size, strength and versatility on the offensive line."
Durham Smythe of Belton, TX
The 6'6", 230 lbs. tight end is a three-star recruit
Kelly says, "Will be a big player for Notre Dame, but also has the soft hands and the ability to run routes."
Max Redfield of Mission Viejo, CA
The 6'2", 195 lbs. safety is a five-star recruit
Kelly says, "We think Max is an elite player. He's a young man that has a specific skill set. Very smart young man."
Tarean Folston of Cocoa, FL
The 5’10” and 195 lbs. running back is a four-star recruit
Eddie Vanderdoes of Auburn, CA
The 6'3", 310 lbs. defensive tackle is a five-star recruit
Click here for video announcement of signing with Notre Dame.