Big night ends with three commitments for Notre Dame

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Three commits in one night.

Notre Dame’s smoldering recruiting streak that started at Saturday’s junior day event turned torrid Monday night. Five recruits who were on campus this weekend have since given their pledge to the Irish.

It started Saturday with three-star quarterback Avery Davis and continued Sunday with four-star linebacker David Adams. Then the inferno was ignited.

First came defensive tackle Kurt Hinish. Then linebacker Drew White joined the class. Finally, Pete Werner finished the night as the third commitment. In less than a three-hour span, all three shared the news on Twitter.

Notre Dame hadn’t landed three verbal commitments in one day in nearly six years with linebacker Jarrett Grace, offensive lineman Conor Hanratty and defensive lineman Tony Springmann on April 24, 2010.

The best of Notre Dame’s latest trio, at least according to Rivals and 247Sports, appears to be Werner, who is rated as a four-star recruit. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound linebacker from Indianapolis Cathedral chose Notre Dame over offers from Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Ole Miss and Duke, among others.

Rivals ranks Werner as the No. 19 outside linebacker in the 2017 class. 247Sports slates him No. 22 at the position.

CBS Sports Network recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said Werner, who has played as a defensive back and linebacker at Cathedral, may need time to develop to reach that standard.

“He’s tall and rangy,” Lemming said. “I think they’re looking at him as more of a future guy. He’s not as good as the other two linebackers (Adams, White) right now when you watch him on film. But he’s a guy that could fill out and become a really good outside linebacker. He just hasn’t been as productive as the other two.”

Lemming also differed with Rivals and 247Sports on White, the 6-foot-1, 220-pound junior at Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas. Especially the two-star rating from Rivals.

“He makes a lot of plays and he’s physical,” Lemming said of White. “They play great competition down there too. If you’re playing well at Aquinas, where you play some of the best teams in the country, you know you’re a ball player.”

247Sports slates White as a three-star recruit and the No. 10 inside linebacker in the class. His older brother, Sean, started five games at quarterback for Auburn this past season.

Drew White said he recorded 101 tackles (52 solo), 12.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks and five blocked punts as a junior for the traditional powerhouse program in Florida.

The last St. Thomas Aquinas football player to sign with Notre Dame is redshirt freshman wide receiver Corey Holmes, who was on the receiving end of some hype from head coach Brian Kelly heading into spring practice earlier this month.

Former Irish offensive linemen Sam Young and Dan Wenger, punter Ben Turk, long snapper Jordan Cowart and wide receiver Bobby Brown are among the St. Thomas Aquinas players who have made the transition to Notre Dame.

White chose the Irish over offers from Michigan, Ohio State, LSU, Arkansas and Wisconsin. White said Sunday that his visit “really opened my eyes to Notre Dame.”

“It was pretty much the total package with academics, football and the tradition,” White said.

Hinish started Monday night’s recruiting binge with a segment on Pittsburgh’s KDKA-TV. He joined his Pittsburgh Central Catholic teammate Adams in Notre Dame’s class.

The Irish sent five coaches — Brian Kelly, Mike Elston, Scott Booker, Keith Gilmore and Todd Lyght — to one of their games last fall before the Irish played the University of Pittsburgh.

The 6-foot-3, 283-pound Hinish rates as a three-star defensive tackle. He’ll add depth to Notre Dame’s defensive interior after the Irish skipped the position in the 2016 class.

“Kurt runs pretty good,” Lemming said. “He ran a sub-5.0 40-yard dash which is good for a kid at 280. He’s a run stuffer, but not much of a pass rusher. He has good initial quickness and natural strength.”

247Sports slates Hinish as the No. 30 defensive tackle in the 2017 class. Rivals ranks him as the No. 32 at the position.

Hinish’s offer list included Penn State, Pittsburgh, Baylor, Ole Miss and South Carolina.

“It was fairly tough,” Hinish said of his decision on KDKA-TV. “I knew what I was going to do when I picked it. It felt (like) home for me when I picked where I was going to go to school. It was an opportunity that I really couldn’t pass when I was offered it.”

The three-commit night pushed Notre Dame’s 2017 recruiting class to nine members and up to No. 5 in the country according to 247Sports. The Irish were ranked No. 10 on Sunday night. Ohio State, Miami, Oklahoma, Clemson are the classes ahead of Notre Dame.

With the fire the Irish stoked in the last three days, the climb might not be finished.


Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Three-star defensive tackle recruit Kurt Hinish (left) visited Notre Dame for its junior day March 19, 2016. (Photo courtesy of Trib Total Media/Christopher Horner)