Signing Day superlatives for Notre Dame's 2017 class

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

A 4-8 football season left Notre Dame in a tough position to finish the 2017 recruiting class, but the Irish have put together a group with recognizable talent at the top.

Some of the most notable members of Notre Dame’s class can be described with these signing day superlatives.

Biggest get | TE Brock Wright: The Irish didn’t have to sweat Wright’s recruitment. He practically recruited himself to Notre Dame. That hasn’t changed the importance of his commitment, which came all the way back in June 2015. Wright is arguably the best tight end recruit in the 2017 class and as well-rounded of a prospect at the position you’ll find.

Earliest impact | DT Darnell Ewell: No one in Notre Dame’s class is more physically imposing than Ewell. Playing on the interior of a defensive line is a tall task, but Ewell seems as prepared as anyone. The Irish found the caliber of defensive lineman that so often eludes them. Ewell projects as Notre Dame’s best defensive tackle recruit since Louis Nix in 2010, but Ewell likely won’t require a redshirt season.

Highest upside | TE Cole Kmet: If Wright is Notre Dame’s thunder at tight end, Kmet could be the lightning. Kmet may be a better athlete and has proven to be a more reliable pass catcher, but his blocking ability isn’t as developed. Wright seems like a sure thing, but Kmet could surpass his ceiling if he progresses his game in all aspects.

Sleeper | LB Drew White: The lack of respect for White’s ability has been pretty clear in his Rivals ranking. When he first committed to Notre Dame, White was rated as a two-star recruit. He’s climbed to three-star status since then but still hasn’t cracked the linebacker position rankings. After developing at the powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas program in Florida, White has the potential to be a productive college linebacker.

Strongest unit | Offensive line: Harry Hiestand, Notre Dame’s offensive line coach, did it again. He’s been the most consistent recruiter for the Irish in the past few recruiting cycles and 2017 isn’t an exception. He landed four offensive linemen: four-star recruits Robert Hainsey, Josh Lugg and Aaron Banks and three-star recruit Dillan Gibbons.

Biggest reach | DE Jonathon MacCollister: The three-star recruit committed to the Irish with as much experience playing tight end as defensive end. He recorded only five sacks in 13 games as senior and has slimmed down to 6-3, 228. A lack of explosiveness on the edge made him a candidate to move inside, but he’s a long way from having the size to do that. The Irish have another defensive end project on their hands.

Toughest loss | DE Robert Beal: Notre Dame lost six commitments at various points in the 2017 recruiting cycle, but the first one has to hurt the worst. The four-star recruit was an early commitment filling the void at defensive end, but he dropped out of the class almost a year ago. Beal has been committed to Georgia since July.


Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Notre Dame tight end commit Brock Wright led his team in receiving and caught a two-point conversion in the Under Armour All-America Game. (Photo courtesy of Intersport)