On National Signing Day, we posted an overview of the 2019 Notre Dame recruiting class with recruit grades and some thoughts on the class. This is the first post of a four-part series that will dive into a little more detail on the class, giving each of Eric, Jaden, Tyler’s, and my grades and comments for each recruit. Today’s post looks at the quarterback, running back, and wide receiver positions – you know, the guys who think they matter most. Enjoy!
As a reminder, here’s our standard grading scale for this exercise:
95-100: Truly elite prospect with All-American potential
90-94: Multi-year starter with All-conference level potential
85-89: Eventual starter with chance to play as underclassman
80-84: Raw prospect with decent potential but a couple years away from impact
75-79: Likely a backup
70-74: Reach by the coaching staff
|.8918||89||Kyren Williams||St. Louis, MO||5-10/200||RB||*||*||*||*||*|
|.8796||82||Brendon Clark||Midlothian, VA||6-2/217||QB||*||*||*||*||*|
|.8789||86||Kendall Abur-Rahman||Edwardsville, IL||6-1/180||WR||*||*||*||*||*|
|.8710||82||Cam Hart||Olney, MD||6-3/190||WR||*||*||*||*||*|
RB Kyren Williams
18S Average: 89.3
I LOVE this kid. Doesn’t have the top gear of a guy like Dexter Williams, but aside from that it’s hard to find a hole in his game. He has excellent agility, vision, and hands, and he’s tough as hell. As a runner he wants to bury you, and as a receiver he has the mentality that he owns the ball in the air. He did everything last season, with 189 carries, 68 receptions, 92 tackles, and 8 picks, and found the end zone 41 times (not a typo). At 5-10/200, he’s not nearly the smurf that many Irish fans have somehow convinced themselves he is. And he enrolled early. I’m not predicting it, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he gets on the field this fall.
Built like a blossoming fullback. May need to tone up his body and stay relatively lean as he continues his college career. Super great feet and juking ability with really good power for a shorter back. Maybe not a burner but should be able to run past some people in college. Physically, appears ready to play as a freshman and could be a first-choice tailback for the Irish in a couple years.
A complete running back through and through. Kyren shows incredible vision and lateral ability, oftentimes weaving through traffic on his way to the endzone. He seems to have a great knowledge of the position and will be a receiving threat out of the backfield. The only thing holding him back would likely be a lack of top-notch speed and athleticism. I see him as a better version of Tarean Folston and expect to see him on the field next fall.
This is one of those guys where the more you watch him, the more you like what he has to offer. Many people have been less than happy about Autry Denson’s recruiting results at Notre Dame, but I think in a few years we’ll all look back and admit his early evaluation and recruitment of Kyren was a pretty damn good job. Could easily see Kyren ending up as the feature back in a couple of years, and he might break through even before that.
QB Brendon Clark
18S Average: 82.0
The “guy between the guys,” like Tommy Rees and Ian Book before him, who looks like he’ll be up to the task if needed. He’s a little sloppy mechanically but he’s got a strong arm, good pocket presence, and does a good job keeping his eyes downfield when he scrambles. He’s also a big kid, or bigger than Book anyway, who is a physical runner and, ahem, deceptively quick in traffic.
Throws a pretty ball. Snaps it out of his hands quickly and looks strong in the pocket when he releases the pigskin. Quick feet and a good athlete. Shows a little wiggle in the open field, too. He should continue the tradition of unheralded 3-stars making a lot of noise in South Bend.
Clark is a well-built kid coming out of high school and is athletic as a QB. The coaching staff did a terrific job getting a QB of his caliber into this class following Jurkovec and after a decommittment from Cade McNamara. Like Ian Book, Clark was committed elsewhere (Wake Forest) before signing with the Irish, and I’d expect him to legitimately compete for a job after the Book Era. You can tell he’s a confident kid who will not shy away from any competition throughout his career.
Clark’s got a bit of a gunslinger mentality to him. Good mobility, but continues looking downfield even after escaping the pocket. Throws a nice ball. And any guy that’s willing to come in and compete knowing he’s sandwiched between two very highly-regarded prospects has the right mindset to play quarterback at a school like Notre Dame (not like that Michigan commit).
WR/RB Kendall Abdur-Rahman
18S Average: 86.3
KAR is a spread-option QB who the Irish recruited at receiver and, according to recent reports, might work at running back as well. I’m a little concerned about him being skinny for RB, given that und.com lists him at 6-0/185, but there’s no denying his speed, agility, and vision. I like that the staff is looking for a way to get him on the field sooner. I could see him being a weapon in the return game too.
Tempting to go with a higher grade for KAR on speed alone. Has all the athletic tools to be the surprise 3-star from this class who goes on to a very fine career. The only drawback is that he’s scheduled to play receiver/running back at Notre Dame and was a running quarterback in high school. I think he’ll play a large role in 2020 but probably limited to a few moments where he can flash his speed as a freshman.
KAR is a huge talent who probably is underrated because of his lack of interest in the recruiting process. He has terrific lateral agility and feet. He will have some position flexibility and could ideally be a Theo Riddick type threat for the offense.
One of the best raw athletes in this class. Absolutely electric with the ball in his hands. Was originally recruited to play receiver, but word now is that he might start out at running back. Considering how elusive he is, I take no issue with this. He is a bit lean to be playing running back at this point, though. And he’s gotta learn to secure the football a bit better.
WR Cam Hart
18S Average: 81.5
Hart’s junior tape makes me think of a less-polished Kevin Austin. There’s not a lot of recent tape though, he didn’t do any camps, and he has a respectable but not elite offer list; all that makes projecting his future pretty hard. He has size and more athleticism than some recent big receivers, no question there. He went to Sam Mustipher’s prep school, which is probably a good sign for fit. He looked pretty good at safety as a junior, so maybe there’s some DCE potential there too.
A sight for sore eyes as a tall, skinny receiver. He gets off the line nicely for a lanky wideout. He should be able to provide some “You got Moss’d” moments with his leaping ability. My only question is if he’s athletically superior enough to become a leading receiver at Notre Dame or if his size limits him more to a possession receiver. Hart doesn’t seem quite explosive enough to be the former.
Hart is a long, skinny looking dude on tape. He moves smoothly, but I don’t think he has great speed. ND signed a a strong WR class in 2018 and is in on some elite WR’s in the 2020 class. I wouldn’t be all that surprised if Hart got squeezed by the two classes and struggled to find playing time. At the very least, he’s somewhat of an unknown as there hasn’t been a lot of exposure for him throughout his recruiting process.
I would love to see more film of a guy with his length high-pointing the football. He has the ability, but he runs slants and posts more than anything in his film. Pretty fluid as an athlete, but probably not as dynamic as you’d want a primary target to be at the highest level of college football.