The recruiting road is never a smooth one, but Notre Dame got the 2013 process accelerated early and used an amazing regular season to pick up steam in the final stages.
In the end, Notre Dame is going to end up with one of the finest recruiting hauls of the year, although just how fine remains to be seen.
The Irish will enter National Signing Day tomorrow with 24 verbal commitments, including a preferred walk-on punter, and are still waiting to hear on one more major prospect who could push them near the very top of some recruiting rankings.
California defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes is still uncommitted set to go public with his decision tomorrow night. A signature from Vanderdoes would surely improve an already impressive class for Notre Dame.
As it stands now, the Irish have five members of the class already enrolled in quarterback Malik Zaire, receivers James Onwualu and Corey Robinson, tight end Mike Heuerman and offensive lineman Steve Elmer.
Notre Dame is expecting at least 18 National Letters of Intent to be faxed to the Gugliemino Athletics Complex throughout the day on Wednesday.
If there is any drama to be had among the current commitments, it’d be at running back, where both Tarean Folston and Greg Bryant flirted with Auburn in the final days, but both are expected to sign with the Irish Wednesday. The Florida duo will represent one of the best running back tandems in the entire 2013 recruiting class.
Torii Hunter Jr. and Will Fuller will join Onwualu and Robinson to form a deep receiving corps. Fuller could end up flipping over to defense, but is expected to start off at wideout. Hunter Jr. is in the process of rehabilitating from a broken femur he suffered during a practice last month for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, but he's still planning on playing as a freshman.
Aside from California punter Andrew Antognoli, the most recent addition to the class is Texas tight end Durham Smythe, who offered his commitment to the Irish during an official visit to campus a couple weeks ago. Smythe, who had been a long-time Texas commit, joins Heuerman to give Notre Dame a pair of capable pass-catching tight ends in the class who can also block.
Notre Dame is set to sign four more offensive linemen to go with Elmer. Hunter Bivin, Mike McGlinchey and Colin McGovern all committed to Notre Dame within 24 hours of each other at last March’s Junior Day while John Montelus was welcomed on board a month later at the Irish’s spring game.
As Notre Dame waits to hear on both Vanderdoes and Fitts, it’ll be ready to accept letters of intent from defensive linemen Isaac Rochell and Jacob Matuska.
At one point, Notre Dame had five linebacker commits, but following the decommitments of Alex Anzalone and Danny Mattingly, the Irish will bring in three. Jaylon Smith headlines the group – and the entire class – and will be joined by Michael Deeb and Doug Randolph.
For the second straight cycle, secondary was a major need for the Irish and they’re set to sign a trio of cornerbacks – Cole Luke, Rashad Kinlaw and Devin Butler – along with an elite safety in Max Redfield.
Antognoli came on board last week after turning down a similar opportunity at Harvard.
We’ll have extensive coverage of all of the news all day Wednesday.