Tracking the careers of former Notre Dame commits

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Brandon Wimbush wasn’t Plan A in Notre Dame’s 2015 recruiting class.

During the 2013 football season, the Irish identified Blake Barnett as the priority at quarterback. By November of that year, Barnett verbally committed to Notre Dame.

But Barnett didn’t stick with the Irish for his entire recruitment. He dropped his commitment in June 2014 and eventually signed with Alabama’s class. Notre Dame only started its pursuit of Wimbush during the 2014 season looking to fill an obvious hole at quarterback.

Wimbush flipped his commitment from Penn State, and three years later he became Notre Dame’s starting quarterback. While the Wimbush experience hasn’t been without its ups and down this season, the redshirt sophomore has had a less turbulent start to his career than Barnett.

Barnett signed with Alabama, rated as a five-star recruit by 247Sports coming out of Corona (Calif.) Santiago. Rivals ranked him as four-star recruit and the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the class.

At Alabama, Barnett won the starting job as a redshirt freshman in 2016, but he was pulled in the season opener for true freshman Jalen Hurts. Barnett continued to play in three games as Hurts emerged as the clear-cut starter. Then Barnett left the team in the middle of the season.

Barnett eventually transferred to Arizona State, where he was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA. Still, Barnett didn’t win the starting job. Barnett has played in only four games this season. He completed three of his five pass attempts for 40 yards with one interception.

Barnett is one of 11 former Notre Dame commits who decided to sign elsewhere in the last four recruiting classes. Here’s how each former Irish recruit has fared this season.

2014 class

• RB Elijah Hood, Charlotte (N.C.) Catholic: Hood thrived in three seasons at North Carolina before a somewhat surprising decision to enter the NFL Draft early. After rushing for 2,580 yards and 29 touchdowns, Hood was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the seventh round of the draft. He has spent the majority of his rookie season on the practice squad.

Rivals: Five stars, No. 4 RB. | 247Sports: Four stars, No. 8 RB.

• DT Matt Dickerson, San Mateo (Calif.) Serra: Dickerson started the first seven games of the season for UCLA before breaking his collarbone against Oregon. Dickerson had tallied 21 tackles and one tackle for a loss in those seven games.

Dickerson played in 44 games in his four seasons with the Bruins. He totaled 97 tackles, seven tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks.

Rivals: Four stars, No. 16 SDE. | 247Sports: Three stars, No. 66 DT.

• DE Richard Yeargin III, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) University School:A scary car accident in June left Yeargin with a neck injury that would prevent him from playing his redshirt junior season at Clemson. At the time, head coach Dabo Swinney said Yeargin would be fine long term.

After a redshirt season as a freshman, Yeargin played the next two years as a backup defensive end. In 22 games he recorded 29 tackles, five tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks.

247Sports: Four stars, No. 20 OLB. | Rivals: Three stars, No. 24 OLB.

2015 class

• S Prentice McKinney, Dallas South Oak Cliff: In three seasons at Oklahoma, McKinney has yet to find consistent playing time. He’s appeared in only two games this season — blowout victories over Tulane and Kansas — and made three tackles.

McKinney has taken the field for eight games in his career with five tackles and one pass breakup to his name.

Rivals: Four stars, No. 19 S. | 247Sports: Three stars, No. 32 S.

2017 class

• CB Elijah Hicks, La Mirada (Calif.) High: Hicks enrolling early at California has translated into early playing time in his freshman season. Hicks has started six games this season and has seen action in all 11 games. He’s turned the opportunities into 32 tackles, two pass breakups, one tackle for a loss and one forced fumble.

Rivals: Four stars, No. 22 ATH. | 247Sports: Three stars, No. 54 CB.

• LB Pete Werner, Indianapolis Cathedral: Werner shook up social media when he made a big hit for Ohio State in kickoff coverage last weekend. He laid a licking on Illinois returner Kendrick Foster. Werner has been limited mostly to special teams play in his freshman season. He’s found some success by making nine tackles in eight games.

247Sports: Four stars, No. 12 ILB. | Rivals: Four stars, No. 17 OLB.

• DE Donovan Jeter, Beaver Falls (Pa.) High: Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh didn’t disclose Jeter’s exact injury, but the freshman defensive lineman was sidelined for the year after undergoing surgery in September. Jeter enrolled early at Michigan and had drawn praise in his first crack at spring football, but a look at his promising future will have to wait until next year.

247Sports: Four stars, No. 11 SDE. | Rivals: Four stars, No. 13 DT.

• DE Robert Beal Jr., Suwanee (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge: Beal made his return to South Bend as part of Georgia’s travel roster for the victory in September. The trip to Notre Dame has been Beal’s only appearance on the travel roster for the Bulldogs this season. He has yet to play in a game.

Rivals: Four stars, No. 9 WDE. | 247Sports: Four stars, No. 11 WDE.

• CB Paulson Adebo, Mansfield (Texas) High: Adebo isn’t expected to take the field against his former future team on Saturday. He appears destined for a redshirt season at Stanford.

Rivals: Four stars, No. 20 ATH. | 247Sports: Four stars, No. 18 CB.

• WR Jordan Pouncey, Winter Park (Fla.) High: Pouncey has been relegated to scout team duty as a freshman with a redshirt in his future. On Tuesday, head coach Tom Herman named Pouncey as one of the top scout team players for his program this season.

247Sports: Three stars, No. 113 WR. | Rivals: Three-star WR.

tjames@ndinsider.com

574-235-6214

Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Former Notre Dame quarterback commit Blake Barnett has yet to find a starting role at Arizona State after transferring from Alabama. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)