Like everyone else, Notre Dame giddy over recruiting class

Al Lesar
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND – Seems like a pretty good Notre Dame football team just got better Wednesday.

Twenty-four high school phenoms made Irish fans giddy by pledging their loyalty to coach Brian Kelly and his staff.

Anyone who puts stock in the athletes’ bios has to be wowed by the Parade All-Americans (3), USA Today All-Americans (2), and participants in postseason all-star games (16).

Of course, scour those bios and there’s no record of quarterback Brandon Wimbush ever having thrown an interception in his career; running backs Josh Adams and Dexter Williams ever having lost a fumble; corners Shaun Crawford, Ashton White and Nick Coleman ever having been beaten deep; or kicker Justin Yoon ever having shanked a 27-yarder.

In other words, everyone was wearing a happy face Wednesday.

Real life commences in June.

Good vibrations are what college football’s national signing day is all about. Still waiting for the first coach to walk to the podium and start moaning on how terrible his class is.

The closest came several years ago when Joe Tiller, in his last year of recruiting at Purdue, called Rich Rodriguez, who was at Michigan, a “snake oil salesman” for snatching receiver Roy Roundtree from the Boilermakers at the 11th hour.

Now, that was fun.

Kelly gushed over his class for about an hour Wednesday afternoon, just minutes after receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, from Anaheim, Calif., had his moment in the sun by choosing the ND hat over Utah, USC and Stanford while the nation watched. The drama was made-for-TV since St. Brown’s bio was already included on Notre Dame’s pre-printed sheet.

Such are the little quirks of signing day.

It has taken Kelly five recruiting cycles to finally be able to say that this is the first time the Irish have been able to recruit for depth, rather than a glaring need that will somehow have to be filled by a true freshman.

He talked about this being talent that, in his opinion, can put a team that has sandwiched 33 wins and 19 losses around the title run in 2012 into the national championship discussion.

Most coaches in America probably said the same thing.

“When we recruit, we don’t recruit through anybody else’s lenses,” Kelly said. “I hear what (“experts”) say, that we’ve got the 15th-rated or 18th-rated class (actually, No. 12 by Rivals.com, and No. 13 by 247Sports).

“These are guys, we believe, will help us win a championship. That’s how we recruit. They’re guys that fit here at Notre Dame.”

Other than maybe being a safety shy, which Kelly refused to acknowledge as a concern, the Irish bumper crop apparently answered all the needs – and then some.

Receiver is a position that – with the addition of C.J. Sanders, St. Brown, Miles Boykin and Jalen Guyton – seems top-heavy with talent. Veterans Will Fuller, Corey Robinson, Chris Brown, Torii Hunter, Jr., Corey Holmes and C.J. Prosise all should return. Add in redshirt freshman Justin Brent and Amir Carlisle, who could get a fifth-year opportunity, and competition for playing time will be intense.

“We’re starting to build depth within the program,” Kelly said. “It seems like the first time… It was the first question I’ve been asked that ‘You’re a little ‘long’ at a particular position (receiver)...’ We want to try to get ‘long’ (in several) positions.”

That’s the only way a good team can get better.

Notr Dame football coach Brian Kelly talks to the media about his 2015 recruiting class in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)