Feb 6, 2013, 10:14 PM EDT
More than 12 hours after it began, National Signing Day 2013 is officially in the books.
And what a great day it was for Notre Dame, both at the fax machine and in the Fighting Irish Digital Media studio.
As I wrote about previously, FIDM debuted a new virtual set for its broadcast on UND.com. Thanks to the hard work of my friends and colleagues on the FIDM team, the show went very well. Overall, it was a great learning experience and a tremendous step forward as our department continues to grow.
For the Notre Dame football program, National Signing Day marked the introduction of 24 student-athletes to the 2013 roster.
Beginning with Michael Deeb (7:07 am ET) and ending with Eddie Vanderdoes (8:26 pm ET), head coach Brian Kelly and his staff welcomed 19 signees today, in addition to the five who are already enrolled as freshmen at the university.
Those players – wide receivers Corey Robinson and James Onwualu, tight end Mike Heuerman, offensive lineman Steve Elmer and quarterback Malik Zaire will participate in spring practice, which begins on Mar. 20 and culminates with the Blue-Gold game one month later.
The rest of the recruiting class of 2013 will arrive in South Bend in June for the start of summer school. Ranked third nationally by Rivals.com and fourth by ESPN, it’s quite an accomplished group. Let’s take a closer look at how the class shaped up:
- The signees hail from 15 states, plus the District of Columbia. Florida is the most represented state, with four student-athletes, followed by Texas with three. California, Ohio and Pennsylvania have two each, while there is one from Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
- The Irish will add four defensive backs, four wide receivers, three defensive linemen, five offensive linemen, two running backs, three linebackers, one quarterback and two tight ends.
- Four members of the class are ranked as 5-star prospects by Rivals.com, marking the first time Notre Dame has hauled in a class with that many top-level recruits since the Rivals website began.
- Each of the three defensive position groups has one 5-star commit, representing what could be a cornerstone of the Irish defense for the next few seasons – Eddie Vanderdoes (defensive tackle), Jaylon Smith (linebacker) and Max Redfield (defensive back).
- Notre Dame had received 23 verbal commitments before National Signing Day, and every recruit the Irish expected to receive a letter of intent from, sent that letter to South Bend. They also got a bit of surprise with the addition of Vanderdoes, who did not announce his college intentions until after 8 pm ET.
At the end of the day, the rankings, statistics and highlight reels don’t mean a whole lot. College football, like any college sport, is all about development. It’s about coaching staffs and strength programs, and players working hard to turn that hype and high school accolades into success.
Given Kelly and his staff’s pedigree of building a program, we certainly have reason to be excited about what, on paper, looks to be a very strong freshman class.
Read much more on the newest members of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the press release on UND.com, and if you missed any of our coverage earlier today, you can check it all out below – from highlight videos and live assistant coach interviews to Kelly’s press conference and segments with guest analysts, there’s plenty to keep you busy as you anticipate the start of spring ball.
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