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Notre Dame's 2019 Recruiting: 1 To 10 ... And More

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Offensive lineman Quinn Carroll is Notre Dame's top-ranked recruit by Rivals in the 2019 harvest. (BGI/Angela Driskell)

Head coach Brian Kelly’s 10th recruiting class at Notre Dame from 2010-19 was to wrap up today with what is expected to be the addition of California defensive end Isaiah Foskey at 3 p.m. ET.

After signing 21 during the early signing period in December, Foskey would run the final total to 22, which has been the average during Kelly’s tenure each year.

What has gone against the norm is for the second straight year, Notre Dame signed a complete class on defense. This year the total would be five linemen (three ends and two tackles), four linebackers, two safeties and two cornerbacks. Last year it was three linemen, four linebackers, three safeties and three corners.

Here is a 1 to 10 overview of the 2019 class:

1 Recruit whose father has competed against Notre Dame. Defensive end Howard Cross III’s father, also Howard, who played tight end for the New York Giants 13 seasons from 1989-2001, was a member of the 1986 Alabama team that defeated Notre Dame, 28-10, and also on the 1987 Crimson Tide unit that lost 37-6 at Notre Dame Stadium the following year.

2-1 The Fighting Irish had two players opt for them after initially committing elsewhere, while losing one who had given an original pledge to Notre Dame. A trade-off came at quarterback, where Cade McNamara “decommitted” from the Fighting Irish to Michigan, but then Notre Dame picked up Brendon Clark, who originally pledged to Wake Forest. Linebacker JD Bertrand originally chose the home-state Georgia Bulldogs before he ended up with Notre Dame.

3 Players signed from the state of Georgia, tying the most ever in a single season recruiting haul by the Fighting Irish with last year when running back C’Bo Flemister, tight end Tommy Tremble and safety Derrik Allen all signed from the Peach State. This season, linebacker Bertrand is from Roswell, while cornerback K.J. Wallace and safety Kyle Hamilton are from Atlanta.

This marked the second straight year Georgia either had the most or tied for the most representation from a state in Notre Dame’s recruiting haul.

4 Scholarships over the limit Notre Dame is with this class after the expected signing this afternoon of Foskey. The Irish overall stand at 89, but don’t need to get down to the NCAA mandated 85 until the start of the academic fall semester in August

5 State champions among the 22-man class: Linebackers Bertrand and Jack Kiser won back-to-back titles at Blessed Trinity (Georgia AAAA) and Pioneer (Indiana Class A), respectively. The other three were quarterback Clark (Virginia 4A), defensive end Cross III (St. Joseph Regional) and defensive tackle Jacob Lacey (Kentucky 6A).

6 Consecutive years from 2014-19 Notre Dame’s recruiting class has had a cumulative ranking between 11-13 by No. 11 in 2014, 2015 and 2018, No. 13 in 2016 and 2017 and No. 12 (so far) in 2019.

On the field from 2014-18, Notre Dame finished No. 11 in both 2015 and 2017, No. 5 this past campaign, and unranked in 2014 and 2016.

7 Members of the final 2019 Rivals250 who have signed with Notre Dame, with offensive lineman Quinn Carroll the highest at No. 68. The others were safeties Hamilton (75) and Litchfield Ajavon (106), cornerback Isaiah Rutherford (110), offensive linemen Zeke Correll (114) and John Olmstead (118), and linebacker Osita Ekwonu (232).

8 Linebackers signed in the last two recruiting campaigns after having only one left from 2016 (Jonathan Jones) and two from 2017 (Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Drew White), although former safety Jordan Genmark Heath was also moved there from that class last spring.

Last year the quartet was comprised of Bo Bauer, Jack Lamb, Ovie Oghoufo and Shayne Simon, while this year’s foursome has Bertrand, Ekwonu, Kiser and Marist Liufau.

9 Times in Kelly’s 10 recruiting cycles at Notre Dame the Irish signed a minimum of 21 prospects, including this season. The most during that time was 27 in 2018. The last time the Fighting Irish were under 21 in one cycle was 2012, when only 16 inked their letters of intent (with cornerback Tee Shepard later dismissed) in Kelly’s third recruiting year.

10 Members from this incoming freshman class who enrolled for the second semester that began Jan. 15. Beginning with 2006, when Notre Dame first admitted early enrollees, the 10 this year is a record, surpassing the seven from last year.

This year’s group features all four offensive linemen Carroll, Correll, Andrew Kristofic and Olmstead), three of the four defensive linemen NaNa Osafo-Mensah, Lacey and Hunter Spears), plus running back Kyren Wiliams, linebacker Kiser and punter Jay Bramblett.

In other nuggets:

2 With Foskey, it would mark the first time Notre Dame signed two players named Isaiah in the same class — and from the state of California as well, with cornerback Rutherford hailing from Sacramento.

3 Recruits are from high schools attended by former or current Irish players under Kelly: Baltimore Good Counsel receiver Cam Hart (center and 2018 captain Sam Mustipher), Pennsylvania Pine-Richland offensive lineman Kristofic (current freshman quarterback Phil Jurkovec) and Hawaii Punahou linebacker Liufau (2012 captain/unanimous All-American linebacker Manti Te’o and wide receiver Robby Toma).

4 This was the first time in the Rivals era the Irish signed four four-star defensive linemen in one class, provided Foskey signs as expected. He would join Cross III, Lacey and Spears. Meanwhile, drop end Osafo-Mensah was the only one among them who played in the Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio this past January.

13 Seasons have passed since Notre Dame signed a running back from Missouri, as it did with Williams from St. Louis. The previous one also was a St. Louis native, Munir Prince in 2006, who played running back as a freshman, moved to cornerback as a sophomore and then transferred to Missouri. The only other Missouri running back since World War II we can recall the Irish signing was fullback Ken Barry in 1994.

16 Different states were represented among the 22 players signed by Notre Dame. Georgia led the way with three, while California, Virginia, New Jersey and Texas had two apiece.

29 Years since Notre Dame last signed a quarterback from Virginia, until Clark this year. That was in 1990 with B.J. Hawkins, who enrolled the same year as Kevin McDougal before transferring a year later to the University of Virginia.

The last time a Virginia quarterback started for Notre Dame was in the 1966 finale that clinched the national title, when sophomore Coley O’Brien (McLean) completed 21 of 31 passes for 255 yards and three touchdowns in a 51-0 victory versus Pac-8 champ USC. It was O’Brien’ lone start of his career at quarterback, in place of the injured Terry Hanratty, although he was also start at running back as a senior in 1968.


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