If there was a must-get prospect for Notre Dame on Signing Day, it was four-star offensive tackle Matt James. After a late official visit to South Bend and a last-minute run by Ohio State, the Irish got their man. The Rivals100 prospect and U.S. Army All-American signed with Notre Dame on Wednesday, giving Brian Kelly a massive pick-up on the offensive line.
"This was obviously one of those that we felt like we really needed and the offensive line was a position that clearly needed some strengthening," Kelly said Wednesday after receiving the signed letter of intent. "we think we've got some good players in the program that can help us. Matt James is a guy that can come in and physically compete right away. At 6-6, 290, moves his feet really well, is well-coached at (St. Xavier)."
James took his official visit to Notre Dame during the Jan. 30 weekend and returned home to Cincinnati presumed to be leaned toward the Irish. However, speculation swirled in the past 24 hours that James would ultimately land at Ohio State on Signing Day, robbing the Irish of a potential cornerstone at offensive tackle.
In landing James, Notre Dame has its second Rivals100 signee in this class with Seantrel Henderson, J.R. Ferguson and Christian Jones remaining on the board. James ranks No. 86 nationally, one spot behind nose tackle Louis Nix.
James is the third offensive lineman to sign with the Irish on Wednesday, following Christian Lombard and Tate Nichols.
"The offensive line obviously with Matt James now takes on a different complexion," Kelly said.