National Signing Day 2014 is in the books for the Irish, the Golden Army, and it its twenty-three commitments. For those of you who read my stuff (hi dad!), you know that my take on recruiting and signing day is a touch jaundiced. I’m not going to get really excited, one way or the other, until these kids show up on campus and put on the pads. And if you watched Coach Kelly’s press conference this afternoon, you know that he recruited this class with August, graduation and the NFL in mind.
In his remarks today, Coach Kelly identified his three “wants” from this class: guys who will get their degree, guys who will help Notre Dame win a National Championship, and guys who will go to the NFL. And his wants aren’t of the Chinese-menu variety, where the recruit can pick one from Column A, one from Column C and nothing from Column B, thank you. Kelly wants all or nothing.
This tripartite approach created a “two-way street” in his recruiting process, where he and his staff “vetted” the recruits to ensure that their signings could meet all three criteria. It was a philosophy and strategy that resulted in the eleventh-ranked class per ESPN and Rivals as of this afternoon.
There’s a lot to be excited about in this class, now that it’s complete: a five-star, 6’5″, 300+ O-lineman from Jersey named Quenton Nelson, a 6’5″ dual-threat quaterback named Deshone Kizer, three guys from Texas (Blankenship, Hill, Watkins), and the continuation of our “great Nigerian connection” (Mokwuah). For those looking to see if ND is competing nationally, you will note that we pulled recruits from fifteen states, to include Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, and Florida. There’s some disappointment, too, in losing out, at the end of the day, on John “JuJu” Smith, for example.
There’s a heap of excellent coverage at und.com and watchnd.tv, for those of you with IE9 or Google Chrome.