Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly introduced 22 new members to the Irish family during his press conference on National Signing Day. Kelly spoke about each of the recruits who had faxed in their National Letters of Intent on Wednesday morning. Kelly couldn't comment on running back commit Tarean Folston because he hadn't signed yet, but Folston's fax is now in.
The Irish remain in the running for California defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes who will announce his future plans at a press conference at 8 p.m. (EST).
But here's Kelly's thoughts on the players who signed this morning.
OL HUNTER BIVIN
What we have here is a young man with great versatility on the offensive line. He played tackle, he moved to center in the all‑star game, played flawlessly at that position. Here's a young man that comes in with the size and strength and the versatility on the offensive line, an area that as you know with five offensive line commits was very central to this recruiting class.
RB GREG BRYANT
Again, when we talk about a specific need within the program, the loss of Cierre Wood, Theo Riddick, Greg Bryant puts himself in a position to compete. What we really love about Greg is, again, a guy that has shown a proficiency of catching the football as well as running physically tackle to tackle. He's a guy that will ‑‑ and you guys saw this later in the year, the way Theo ran for us between the tackles. We think we get that kind of physical play with Greg Bryant. He's a well‑conditioned athlete. He's got great instincts in running the football, but he also ‑‑ we love the fact that he can catch the football, as well. Outstanding football player. His dad is a coach, coaches at the high school. We just love that kid that comes from a coach's family. He really understands the game.
CB DEVIN BUTLER
First of all, what we really love about recruiting at Gonzaga is that these young men understand what it's like to be here at Notre Dame. They're in that kind of faith‑based environment. They understand that they're going to be challenged in the classroom, so these are easy fits for us in the recruiting process. Devin obviously at the cornerback position is a need that we have within our program. With injuries last year and graduation the year before, we were thin obviously this year, and we were able to find a way to get it done back there. Now we can add some depth to the cornerback position. He's an exciting player that's going to come in and compete immediately.
LB MICHAEL DEEB
Again, I think sometimes when we talk about superlatives as it relates to stars and things of that nature, those are important, but we had eyes on Michael Deeb. Michael came here to our camp. We were able to observe Michael. Coach Diaco was able to spend time, and we know what we want from that position. We have a pretty clear understanding of the skill set necessary and the intelligence.
And here's what else he brings: He brings an energy to everything he does. When he walks in that locker room, it's time to play football, and if you're not locked in, he's going to make sure he says something to you. We love his energy, we love the way he plays the game, and obviously from our standpoint feel like he's a guy that can come in and obviously compete for us.
OL STEVE ELMER
One of our mid‑year graduates from Midland. Again, I think when you look at all the things, he's got the size, he's 6'5", he's got great feet, he's 300 pounds right now, but looks like he could put on as many pounds as we need to in strength and conditioning with Steve. Bright, articulate, he fits all the profiles that we're looking for with great feet, athleticism, can play on the edge, play the tackle position for us, and again, just a great student and a great young man.
WR WILLIAM FULLER
Out of Roman Catholic in Philadelphia: It's nice to get back into the city of Philadelphia and Roman Catholic in particular. Again, when we talk about profile schools that really hit and understand Notre Dame, Roman Catholic is one of those institutions. He's also a young man that we believe that if there's a guy that flew under the radar a little bit, it was William Fuller. The thing that really clearly stands out is his ball skills. He can run and catch the football. Any time that we got a chance to observe him, he was running and catching, just terrific ball skills. We think as he develops physically, he also has that speed, that top‑end speed that can obviously impact football games. Excited about William.
TE MIKE HEUERMAN
Also one of our mid‑year enrollees. That tight end position as you know, we like to use it in multiple fashions, whether he's split out as a wide receiver or if he's in‑line blocking or moving him around, Mike fits that profile. He was an early commit to us. He was part of the interesting Irish Mob, if you will, this year, which was taking its own life form online and through Twitter and Facebook, and he was one of those guys recruiting other players in this class. And I think that's a great thing. That says a lot about what he feels about Notre Dame and the kind of kids he wants in the class, and Mike was active in that. But he's going to be a fine football player for us. He continues to develop at that position. We've got an outstanding one.
WR TORII HUNTER JR.
I think what stands out with Torii, first of all, is he comes from a great family, and you probably know his dad plays with the Tigers now, a long‑time Golden Glove winner for the Angels and the Twins. He comes from a great family and a committed family, and when I say committed, not only to his education but to being the very best. I'll give you an example: We were in Torii's home just about a week ago, and as many of you know, he suffered a leg injury, and he's already up moving around after two and a half weeks. The care and the commitment that he has, here's a guy that's only going to get better and physically develop. We think he's got that burst, if you will, that ability to take it and go from anywhere on the field. We think he's an inside guy that can really make a difference for us within our offensive structure and just a great family and a great young man.
CB RASHAD KINLAW
When we talk about Rashad, we just any ‑‑ obviously he played quarterback primarily, he got injured this year, but we love his size, his length, his athleticism. We think it's an untapped resource for us in that we're only going to get him better and better physically, and he has the speed, he has the ability to play the ball. We think he's going to fit well at the cornerback position for us. He was somebody that we identified early in this process and felt like he would be a great addition to this class. We love the fact that he's really embraced coming to Notre Dame. You know, the high school has not had a lot of students come in this area of the country, and to get him to come to Notre Dame says a lot about him, so we're really excited about Rashad, too.
CB COLE LUKE
When we talk about the depth across the board here, we've talked about Butler and Kinlaw, and now Cole Luke, another cornerback. You know, again, a state title. This guy plays on a championship football team. When you go around the high school and you go around the program, you can sense it and feel it. We've got a great relationship with Coach Belles, a former Notre Dame player here, and just a great fit. When Cole came up in the summer, recruited by virtually everybody in the country, I remember when we were talking about this, that he called and kind of had a soft commit. In other words, he called and said, I think I'm going to commit, but what I want to do is I want to be able to say that a couple of times and I want to see how it feels. So I think this was maybe on a Tuesday, and he said I'll call you back on Saturday. So we're waiting all week, how does it sound, Cole, sound good? Do you like saying that you're committed to Notre Dame? And finally he called us back a week later and said, "Coach, I'm all in." My point being, here's a kid who really thought about it.
DE JACOB MATUSKA
Again, when you talk about he led his team to a 13‑1 record, another winner, another guy that can play in the profile that we have at the defensive line position for us but is also versatile enough that he can play on the other side of the ball. Our target is to play him on the defensive side of the ball. He's going to physically get bigger and stronger. We just like his work ethic. We're really excited about him as a person. He's going to fit in well here at Notre Dame, and another young man that really adds to the depth that we're looking for in our program.
OL MIKE McGLINCHEY
Mike is another young man that as he continues to grow, we worry that Mike Brey is going to take him from us. He could be 6'11" here soon, but he's another young man that has the athleticism to play the tackle position, but he's athletic enough that he's played tight end. We were really impressed with the way he played basketball. He was a ferocious competitor, ran well, and is somebody that is going to continue to get stronger physically. But he comes from a great high school, William Penn Charter School, just a perfect fit for us at Notre Dame, and again, on the offensive line gives us that long‑reach guy that can play the tackle position for us.
OL COLIN McGOVERN
Out of Lincolnway West here, and to have linemen from the Midwest is something that we always look for. It would be nice to get somebody every year from this area. Colin is more than just a player from the Midwest; he's a physical, strong guy that can play inside for us, and really felt early on in this process when we watched him compete, and again, here's another guy that came up to camp, and we got a chance to see him in person, and that makes such a big difference to us. He'll be a nice player for us working inside out.
OL JOHN MONTELUS
Another offensive lineman from Everett, Massachusetts, comes from another great program. Everett High School is probably the preeminent high school team in the state of Massachusetts. 6'5", 305 pounds, and he looks ‑‑ we had a picture of the five offensive linemen together, and I remember just kind of kiddingly looking at John, and John is probably not 6'5", but he's well over 6'3", and he looks short compared to everybody else in that offensive line class. But he's not short on physical play. He will knock you out. He gets off the ball, he's physical at the point of attack. He played a lot of tackle. We see him moving inside for us. But again, just his personality, his makeup, his family. I see it from ‑‑ my guys are out there finding the talent, and then I get a chance to spend a lot of time with the families, and single mom who's raised John, it's just a great story in terms of the success, coming from Haiti and now getting an opportunity to be successful here at Notre Dame.
WR JAMES ONWUALU
Another one of our mid‑year enrollees, part of the original Irish Mob. He, too, was instrumental in helping put together our class. He was always somebody that we could count on to make a call or be up for a recruiting visit. This is a very talented player, very talented. If you watch him work out ‑ I know Coach Longo has got our guys in there already ‑ really love his athletic ability. Versatile player, he's going to be on the offensive side of the ball, but if we ever got into a bind he certainly could play defense, as well. But great attitude, just high energy, first student to ever graduate early at Cretin‑Derham High School. That's pretty big for that school. Again, just another great fit for us.
LB DOUG RANDOLPH
Another great program at Woodberry Forest. Dual athlete, excellent lacrosse player, played basketball, can do a number of different things. He's somebody that's long at 6'3", very versatile, can stand up or put his hand down, he gives us that kind of flexibility at that position. Great student, great family.
I know I sound ‑‑ I keep saying the same things, but they're true. I mean, these are really ‑‑ this is why you're at Notre Dame. You get a chance to coach these kinds of kids, and he's a terrific young man. He's going to be a nice football player for us, as well.
S MAX REDFIELD
Bob Johnson is his coach, and Bob has done an incredible job over the years of turning out elite players, and we think Max is an elite player. He's a young man that has a specific skill set that could see him play offense, he could play defense, he's going to play in that safety position for us, and we think he's a young man that can come in and compete. He's got all the athletic ability, and he's a very smart young man.
I remember when he decided to come to Notre Dame and made that decision, it was a fairly lengthy process where he wanted to really take time to make the right decision. But those are the kind of kids ‑‑ we're not getting these quick knee‑jerk reaction kind of decisions, these are kids that really took their time to make the right decision. Max is a great young man, great family, and a really good player.
WR COREY ROBINSON
Out of San Antonio Christian: I think what really impressed us about Corey is that he's just beginning to blossom. He's just started to take hold in this game of football. As you know, the Robinson name, pretty familiar. His dad obviously is a great parent and mentor, but he also probably had a little basketball for his sons growing up, and I think that transition out of basketball and focusing on football has given him now this opportunity to continue to grow as a football player. So we think we've got a guy early on that has not even come close to tapping his potential. 6'5" plus receiver, and again, I love the fact that he's a guy that will come up and get the football. Strong hands, and he runs ‑‑ surprisingly at 6'5", 6'6", he runs very well. So we're really excited about Corey. He, too, is a mid‑year enrollee for us and doing quite well.
I love the fact that he's long and would be a hard match‑up at the wide receiver position. I don't think we go into his career here thinking that he's going to move to tight end. I think we go in thinking that he's going to be that big wide receiver that makes it real difficult to cover, particularly in a short field.
DL ISAAC ROCHELL
Another state champion, Eagles Landing Christian High School. I got a chance to spend some time in the high school, and you could just sense the discipline and the faith, and the way the football program is run, it's a great fit, Isaac coming here to Notre Dame. I think Isaac is a guy that didn't play in lot of the postseason games and didn't get a ton of exposure. He's a fine football player. I mean, we're really excited as a staff to have Isaac Rochell. He's going to play on the defensive line, and he's going to impact this program. I think he's got a huge upside, and we're really excited about getting a player of this caliber here to Notre Dame.
LB JAYLON SMITH
Again, the 2012 Butkus Award winner. We could list all of these things, but the thing that's most impressive is the character of this young man and his energy. He just has it. When he walks into a room, the room kind of lightens up, and that's the kind of personality that he is, and he is one tough football player, as well. He's got all the things that you're looking for, that quickness, that ability to strike. He can play any position really. Great running back, as well. He'll play on the defensive side of the ball, and he's somebody that has great versatility. But he's also going to be a great leader here, and I see great things for Jaylon Smith.
I think leadership takes different forms, and he can be a leader just by his own actions, the way he handles himself. He'll look you in the eye. I think those are all leadership qualities, as well. Do I think he's going to come in and be the vocal leader like Manti was on the field? No, I don't think so. But his actions and the way that he prepares himself and the way he plays the game, I think a lot of people will want to model after him.
TE DURHAM SMYTHE
Another tight end that we really believe fits the style of the offense that we run. He hasn't even tapped his potential at 6'5", 230, and he's 230 right now. He's going to be obviously a big, physical player for us but has the soft hands and the ability to get out and run routes. We're excited about Durham coming in later in the process, but getting a chance to meet his family and spending time, it's a great fit. Durham, he grew up as a Notre Dame fan. Obviously being close to Austin, Texas, they have a pretty large following in that area, but he had always been somebody that looked at Notre Dame carefully, and now given that opportunity, we were able to get him signed and here on campus. Durham Smythe will be another one of those tight ends that will really, really do well here.
QB MALIK ZAIRE
Malik is an early enrollee, as well. I think what I loved about Malik is when he came up here last spring, he sat in our quarterback meeting room, and in that meeting room you've got some really good quarterbacks. When he left that meeting, he made it clear to me that this was the place he wanted to be. He loved the environment, he loved the coaching, he loved the opportunity to come in and run the offense, and that's looking at great competition and saying, I don't care about that, I'm going to come to Notre Dame because it's the right place for me academically, and it's the right place for me because I'm going to be the starter here at Notre Dame, and we love those kind of guys that have that attitude. Malik has obviously showed himself at that high level in camps that he went out and really excelled in. He can throw it, he can run it, he's got great versatility at the quarterback position, and he's a really, really smart kid.