NOTRE DAME - National Signing Day is approaching, as well as the drama and excitement surrounding it.
If all goes well for Notre Dame, it’ll have 23 new signees — including three 5-star and 14 4-star prospects — as of Wednesday afternoon.
If all goes really well for Notre Dame, it’ll have 24 or 25.
Here’s how things pan out for the Irish heading into Wednesday.
Notre Dame welcomed four early enrollees to campus in January: Steve Elmer, Mike Heuerman, James Onwualu, Corey Robinson, Malik Zaire.
Zaire, a 4-star quarterback from Ohio, has been on board with the Irish since March. He’ll provide the offense with Everett Golson-like athleticism with a big-play arm and may work his way into the two-deep this year.
Elmer, a 4-star offensive tackle from Michigan, is another freshman who can move up the depth chart early.
Receivers Onwualu and Robinson and tight end Heuerman are also on campus early. Heuerman;http://rivals.yahoo.com/notredame/football/recruiting/player-Mike-Heuerman-117796 has the hands and size to become yet another successful Notre Dame tight end product.
Notre Dame’s biggest catches of the 2013 recruiting cycle have been running back Greg Bryant, linebacker Jaylon Smith and safety Max Redfield, all 5-star prospects.
Bryant, who hails from Delray Beach, Fla., has the potential to be the greatest Notre Dame running back in the Brian Kelly era. Paired with fellow tailback commit Tarean Folston, and the two are certain to be a lethal running back duo in coming years.
Expect for Bryant to compete for playing time right away, as will Smith, a product of Fort Wayne’s Bishop Luers. Smith is the No. 1 linebacker in the 2013 class and rebuffed a late surge from Michigan to solidify his commitment to the Irish.
Redfield was the last to commit among the trio of 5-stars, announcing his intent to play at Notre Dame on Jan. 4. A year after losing Tee Shepard and Ronald Darby, Notre Dame snags its first 5-star defensive back since Rivals.com began its recruitment ratings.
STILL IN THE HUNT
Unless last year’s signing day drama repeats itself, don’t expect much drama from the 23 players who have verbally committed to Notre Dame.
The only player to keep an eye on is Folston, who committed to Notre Dame on Jan. 2 but visited Auburn two weeks later. Foltson assures he’s Irish through and through, but don’t be comfortable until his name appears on that letter of intent.
Notre Dame is also looking to fill in its already stacked defensive line with Eddie Vanderdoes and Kylie Fitts. Both players have Notre Dame in their top three, but both seem to be trending towards UCLA.
Vanderdoes remains the blockbuster name left in Notre Dame’s recruiting pool. If he chooses the Irish, expect an apprentice behind starting nose guard Louis Nix.
Kelly will announce the full list of 2013 signees during a press conference at noon Eastern Time on Wednesday.